Hello, I’ll be your chaplain today

Today I received my clinical assignments for my upcoming 9-month chaplain residency program.  The poor souls on the surgical floor of the hospital will have me as their chaplain.  The section includes:

  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) and Intermediate Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ISICU)
  • liver and kidney transplants
  • various other surgeries, including vascular, colo-rectal, gynecological, trauma and general surgery.

In addition to the primary surgical floor, I will also cover the orthopedic section of the hospital, a general floor of medical and surgical patients, and the inpatient psychiatric unit.  I will keep these assignments for 9 months, developing relationships with the staff and patients of these floors and thereby (hopefully) providing consistent and meaningful pastoral care.

As with any CPE experience, when on-call I will be responsible for my floors and for responding to all trauma calls, resuscitation codes, various patient crises, and deaths.

Finally, I heard a wonderful story today on NPR about a new end-of-life care program at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.  When children face inevitable death, how do you balance the desire to extend life with complex medical procedures and regimens and the desire to provide a quality of life that may include going to the movies, playing with a dog or being at home rather than in a sterile hospital bed?  Listen to the wonderful story here.

About Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.
This entry was posted in Clinical Pastoral Education, Vocation. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hello, I’ll be your chaplain today

  1. PS says:

    Does this CPE also include the ledgendary group sessions that are sort of like group therapy for the CPE-ers?
    I hope you get comp time for some of the on-call time. I know how on-call time puts a burden on the other parent.
    During my recent family experience, I started thinking “I hate it here” when I was visiting in the hospital, even though it is a very good hospital. You may well find that you are chaplain to the families at least as much as to the patients. Well, you already know that.
    The family members have their lives suspended, they may have to stay away from home, leave children, forego their income, and they often don’t want to leave the bedside of the patient, even though their presence often is tiring to the patient.
    I had that experience as a parent many years ago. Just thinking about it stirs up strong emotions yet, even though all ended A-OK. For many people, there is no complete recovery in sight.
    I am sure a good chaplain can be a real blessing.
    I will pray for you and your ministry in the next months.

  2. LP says:

    That sounds like a cool rotation. I’ll be curious to hear your stories.

  3. Chaplain Joseph L. Marhefka says:

    Hello, When looking at some general information about various CPE programs I came upon yours and because I am new to being on staff as a Hospital Chaplain I am interested in your trama. I read you took CPE, was this ACPE or CPSP? I will never say one is better than another,I am just interested. I have friends who went CPSP and have their Masters Degree and have become Board Certified quite easily while ACPE requirements are harder. On the other hand, being Board Certified does not get you in the door any easier if there simply are no openings. Just a thought here.

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