John Swinton, BD, PhD, RMN, RNMD

John Swinton, BD, PhD (Aberdeen), RMN (Registered Mental Nurse), RNMD (Registered Nurse for People with Learning Disabilities) is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland with a strong commitment to supporting the work of the church. He is a member of Aberdeen Presbytery and currently secretary of Christ’s College, which is responsible for the welfare and education of candidates for the ministry of the Church of Scotland.

John has a particular interest in multidisciplinary education and research. At present he teaches cross-college courses in the schools of nursing and medicine at the University of Aberdeen. For a number of years he has taught an interdisciplinary course on spirituality and health that involves nursing students, medical students and students from the Arts and Theology. To his knowledge, there is no other course like it in the UK. He also teaches on spirituality and healthcare to nurses and occupational therapists at Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen.

He is an honorary professor of nursing in the Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing at the University of Aberdeen ( where he teaches on the subjects of humanities and healthcare, nursing ethics and qualitative research. He supervises PhD students in nursing studies within a variety of areas and continues to research and publish in the areas of nursing and medicine.

His research profile is similarly multidisciplinary in its emphasis, and he has published extensively within the area of practical theology, pastoral care, mental health studies, disability theology and nursing. He also engages in cross-college interdisciplinary research. An example of this would be his ongoing collaborative research with Professor Steve Heys who heads up the Breast Cancer Unit at Forresterhill Hospital in Aberdeen. Together they are working on a number of projects exploring the relationship between spirituality and women’s experiences of breast cancer.

The foundation for much of his research and teaching has emerged from his background in nursing, ministry and healthcare chaplaincy. He has worked as a nurse for sixteen years, initially within the field of mental health and later within the area of learning disabilities. He has also worked for a number of years as a hospital chaplain and, subsequently, a community mental health chaplain. It was while working in these fields that he began to gain a passion for developing modes of care that are genuinely person centered and that take seriously the significance of theology, spirituality and religion within the processes of healing, healing and community building.