Monday, September 06, 2004

Who Are Hospital Chaplains?

Generally speaking, hospital chaplains:

-Have training in theology, counseling, psychology, and dynamics of disease with spirituality
-Are easy to talk to
-Offer counsel, support, comfort, prayer, and/or spiritual guidance based on whatever you believe and value
-Help you work out problems or issues that are troubling you
-Can connect you with someone ordained within a specific religion or denomination upon your request

Chaplains do NOT:
-Preach at you
-Attempt to convert you to any specific religion

How to best utilize the Hospital Chaplain:
-Relax and be yourself
-Tell them your story and concerns

Specifically for Patients Who Are Dying & Their Families

-Facing the impending loss of someone you love can bring up lots of emotions. In addition to the expected sorrow, family members and friends may experience feelings of anger, hurt, and/or guilt. You may want to talk to the hospital chaplain about some of these feelings, including your obstacles to forgiving others and forgiving yourself.

-Please let your nurse know if you have any special religious or cultural needs related to end of life, so that we can be certain to contact the chaplain in order accommodate these wishes in a timely manner

Although all hospital chaplains go through extensive training, credentials are no guarantee of quality. Chaplains alternate with the change of shifts. If you find you do not click with one chaplain, you may feel more comfortable with the next chaplain who stops by for a visit.

Compiled from the following websites as an educational tool for patients:
Handbook for Mortals
Last Acts


Anonymous said...

This is so great. Thank you for posting about this... not only for families, etc, but it is helpful for us new professionals. Sometimes it's just not clear what the resources are and what they can be used for. Even if it seems obvious, it's not.

Miss FitsandStarts

Elle Dee said...
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Nurse Mia said...

I'm glad this info was helpful. Once I discovered the hospital chaplains, I've gone crazy using them. I work nights and so social workers are not readily available to me. So I use the chaplains for a counseling role. Any patients who are anxious for whatever reason, I send in the chaplain. 90% of the time, the chaplain is able to decrease their anxiety just by spending time in their room with them. And chaplains at teaching hopsitals are frequently on call 24-hours, so you can access them even in the middle of the night for those patients whose anxiety peaks in the darker hours. :-) Some patients prefer to talk to me, as they've built a rapport with me as their nurse. In these cases, they may not be comfortable with a stranger who walks in. But often, they are surprised with how much better they feel after these visits. Hospital chaplains definitely have a therapeutic role and have the flexibility to spend longer stretches of time with one patient. Sometimes they just listen, which is often all these patients need. So try the chaplains out and tell me what you think.