An Analysis of Chaplains' Narrative Chart Notes Describing Spiritual Care Visits with Gender Affirmation Surgical Patients

Jo Hirschmann, Aki Kozato, Vansh Sharma, Cristina Villagra, John Wetmore, Lina Jandorf, John Henry Pang, MacKenzie Reynolds, Leanne Dodge, Silvia Mejía, Joshua D. Safer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The benefit of spiritual care for patients is well described, but little is known about the role of spiritual care in transgender and nonbinary patients recovering from gender affirming surgeries (GASs). Methods: A single-center retrospective chart review was performed on patients who underwent GAS in 2017. Demographic information, surgery type, and chaplains' narrative notes were examined. Results: A total of 145 chaplain visits were identified in 103 inpatient stays among 98 patients at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York. Analysis was performed on narrative notes authored by a single chaplain, which included 132 visits among 78 transfeminine and 11 transmasculine patients. Fifty-four patients (61%) expressed gratitude for the chaplain visit and/or hospital experience overall. Seven patients (8%) described movement between religious denominations over the course of their lives, and 7 (8%) described supportive belief systems. Fifty-seven patients (64%) had a family member or friend present during the perioperative process, 13 (15%) described support systems, and 9 (10%) described supportive practices, activities, and/or coping methods. Twenty-one patients (24%) expressed concerns about current symptoms or the recovery process, and 32 (36%) received a prayer or blessing from the chaplain. Fifty-two patients (58%) consented to a follow-up call. Conclusion: Almost 50% of patients expressed gratitude for the chaplain's visit and more than half consented to a follow-up call from the chaplain, suggesting a chaplain can provide a welcome layer of support to postoperative GAS patients. The authors recommend integrating spiritual care into perioperative care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-100
Number of pages9
JournalTransgender Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • chaplaincy
  • gratitude
  • recovery
  • spiritual care
  • surgery
  • transgender


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