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.