• St Teresa's Parish

Volunteer Role: Chaplaincy Volunteer visitor

Volunteer Role Description 2021

Volunteer Role: Chaplaincy Volunteer visitor

Location: Hospital sites as required

Placement Supervisor:

Volunteer Co-ordinator:


Volunteers will assist the Lead Chaplain and other members of the Chaplaincy team to provide pastoral care for patients and their families. On a daily basis Chaplains are involved with patients, with wide-ranging physical, religious, spiritual and pastoral needs.

Support is given through informal sharing with the Chaplaincy team, Volunteer Co-ordinator, placement supervisor and access to training.


  • Liaise with Lead Chaplain/Chaplaincy Team to co-ordinate visiting

  • Assist as part of a multi-disciplinary health care team in a modern holistic approach to health care where physical, social and spiritual needs are recognised and met

  • Visit patients in designated areas/wards as appropriate, offering support and friendship. This may or may not be done on a denominational/faith basis

  • To notify Chaplains when patients (or others) may request their services

  • To advise Chaplains when a patient has requested their own faith community to be informed of hospitalisation

  • To participate in in-service training as provided by The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, the Chaplaincy Organisations and Associations to which members of the Department are affiliated and the respective denominations

  • To maintain regular communication with and accountability to the respective Church/faith/belief community

  • To observe professional and pastoral codes of confidentiality, including Chaplaincy Code of Conduct, with regards to patients, relatives or staff ensuring compliance at all times with the requirements of the Data Protection Legislation

  • Where the volunteer may assist with sacramental ministry, they must have appropriate training and authorization from their own Church/Faith/Belief community

Any additional tasks must not be undertaken without liaising with the Lead Chaplain/Volunteer Co-ordinator/Placement Supervisor first.


  • Attend Volunteer Core Induction and relevant training sessions.

  • Report concerns and health and safety issues to the Placement Supervisor.

  • Adhere to the policies and procedures of the Belfast Trust and other relevant Chaplaincy organisations


Skills and Qualities Required:

  • Need to enjoy spending time with people on a one-to-one basis

  • Be sensitive and trustworthy

  • Effective listening and communication skills

  • A helpful and caring attitude

  • Understand the boundaries and limitations of the volunteer role

  • Discretion and confidentiality

  • Ability to recognize your own limitations and know when other support is needed, both for patients being visited and for yourself.

  1. In good standing with your own Church/Faith/Belief community, with the necessary approval from that community

  2. At least 1 years experience of pastoral work in a caring environment

  3. Excellent communication skills

  4. Ability to relate within an ecumenical and multicultural setting

  5. Relevant basic qualification or be working toward same (e.g. NIHCA Healthcare pastoral visitors’ course; Clinical Pastoral Education)

  6. Willingness to undertake ongoing training in the role

Benefits –

  1. Satisfaction in helping others

  2. Part of a committed team caring for others

  3. Training and support will be given

  4. Reasonable travel expenses may be claimed

  5. Personal learning and development

  6. Complementing and supporting other staff

  7. Enhancing existing services

  8. Improving quality of care


  1. When someone expresses interest in becoming a chaplaincy volunteer visitor that should be passed promptly to the Lead Chaplain

  2. The Lead Chaplain, in consultation with colleagues, will arrange initial conversation with the person

  3. Prospective volunteers are required to visit with chaplains (generally two different chaplains) for 4-6 sessions to get a flavour of the role and for the chaplains to get to know more about the person. If required, additional sessions will be arranged

  4. After that there is an informal interview with two chaplains

  5. If all goes well, we proceed to the paperwork, i.e. application form, AccessNI, Occupational Health check and references.

  6. A letter of authorization is required from the relevant church/faith/belief authority

  7. It is strongly recommended that all chaplaincy volunteer visitors have already completed or agree to complete the Healthcare pastoral visitors’ course run each year by the NI Healthcare Chaplains’ Association (NIHCA), or have suitable qualifications/experience

For more information, or to apply for this role, please contact the Parish Office.