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My Hospital Chaplain Residency--a Quick Update

Updated: Jan 25

My hospital chaplain residency is in full swing, and it's kicking my butt! I have a few days off and realized it's been almost a month since my last post, so here's a quick update.

First, I'm loving the work, but the schedule and requirements are demanding. Not only are there hours actually seeing patients, but as an ACPE-accredited program, there's also education time--and homework! In addition to an 8:30am-5pm schedule, we have 1 overnight on-call shift every week, plus at least 1 24-hour weekend on-call shift per month. With these demands, I've had to drop my Queen City Pagans coffee meet-up (virtual) and step back to a few virtual admin tasks with the local American Red Cross.

So what does a typical day as a hospital chaplain look like? First, I have 4 units that I am responsible for, and I try and round on each one, checking in with the staff (we also provide spiritual care for nurses, etc.). My units include Adult Psychiatric; a step-down ICU unit which, right now, is predominantly COVID patients; a surgical ICU; and a general surgery unit. i mostly do "cold-calls" to patient rooms to see if they'd like a visit, and I also get referrals from the nurses. If there are any code blues (heart stops) on those units, I automatically respond to those, mostly for staff or family support. Then, whenever I'm on-call, I respond to pages to the Emergency Department (trauma, CPR, etc.) and elsewhere in the hospital.

With patients, staff or families, I talk about whatever they wish, offering emotional or spiritual support. Mostly I listen, sometimes I pray with them. I see a lot of tears and anxiety, and quite a lot of death, too. Most importantly, I see a lot of love--the love of families and friends, and the care staff offers their patients. There's a lot more I could say, but mostly, I am grateful to be able to do this. May you all be well and blessed.

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