Oates Institute

Chaplain Charting


Chaplain Charting: A discussion of Gordon J. Hilsman’s book, Spiritual Care in Common Terms. Facilitated by Chaplain Trish Matthews.

Have you ever felt that it is hard to describe what you as a chaplain actually do to other healthcare professionals? Have you struggled with what is meaningful to put in a chart note?

Gordon Hilsman says that “. . . a chart entry is to be a brief story or description of the complex and difficult human situations in which patients find themselves that will convey the deep humanity and uniqueness of each individual. These are carefully crafted to artfully disclose information important to the care of the person within the limits of confidentiality.”

Hilsman gives a format for charting that begins by establishing rapport and then assesses emotional support, major loss, religious/spiritual practice needs, and referral needs. He gives many illustrations of chart notes and how to “paint a picture of a person’s uniqueness with brevity” that will be read.

Learning Objectives:

1. To re-discover the joy of being a chaplain and what you contribute to the overall health care team.
2. To look at your current charting practices, sharing your own experiences.
3. To consider a new way of charting and practice the method Hilsman describes.
4. To discuss issues of confidentiality and what is appropriate/inappropriate for a chart note.
5. To broaden our view of what spirituality encompasses.

Use our Amazon link to get the book ahead of time and read and be prepared to have an informative, collaborative learning experience with other chaplains that will enrich your practice.


You may participate in this seminar from wherever you are. All you need is your tablet or computer and access to the Internet. You may also participate according to your schedule. By spreading the discussion out over several weeks using a discussion forum, you may read others posts and submit your own to the conversation at times that are convenient to you.

This seminar will use the Oates Institute’s Connected Learning approach, which invites participants to reflect on their experience in light of the assigned readings and share the insights of that reflection with the group. This allows us to more fully engage with what the author and seminar facilitator share and we discover new insights about ourselves in light of our experience. Often we discover that we know more than we thought we did. Sharing our insights helps us go deeper and to also learn from one another’s experience. One of the exciting aspects of online seminars is that the participants are from so many other places providing us with the opportunities for learn from other regions and cultures.

Continuing Education Requirements:

As a participant in this online seminar you may earn 12 contact hours of continuing education credit by reading the resource and other presentations and participating in the discussion. Those seeking continuing education credits must contribute at least two posts per week to the discussion — one reflecting on the presentations or case studies in light of personal experience and context and a second responding to someone else’s reflection or inquiry. The evaluation form submitted at the end of the seminar serves as the CEU application. Following your submission of this form you will receive your CEU certificate.


As with all Oates Seminars, registration for this seminar is simple. Members may register for free by simply applying for the course in the upper right corner of this page. Non-members may participate by also applying for the course where you will be taken to a payment page. Select the $95 non-member seminar registration choice, pay, and you’ll be registered. If you have any difficulties at all, please email us at registration@oates.org.

For non-members, you can save money over the long-term by becoming a member, too! A one-year clinical membership is just a few dollars more than paying for two seminars as a non-member. So BECOME A MEMBER and save!



Course Reviews


  • 5 stars0
  • 4 stars0
  • 3 stars0
  • 2 stars0
  • 1 stars0

No Reviews found for this course.

© Oates Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Oates Institute│1733 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205│502-459-2370│connect@oates.org