Objectives: To discuss three ambiguities that may accompany nurse-chaplain collaboration in providing spiritual care: confusion about the meaning of "spiritual" and related terms, spiritual assessment and the referral process, and the role of clergy.
Data sources: Review and research articles related to nursing and pastoral care, and documented standards.
Conclusion: Effective nurse-chaplain collaboration is necessary (especially considering current health care system changes) to provide adequate spiritual care. Additionally, the increased involvement of both nurses and chaplains in ethical issues is likely to make nurse-chaplain collaboration increasingly important.
Implications for nursing practice: Nurses must collaborate with chaplains and relate to clergy to provide spiritual care for cancer patients and families. Knowledge of assessment differences between nurses and chaplains, terminology, and role of clergy will enhance this collaboration.