Questions for Lifeline
After going through orientation at St. Luke’s Episcopal & Texas Children’s Hospital this is a list of questions I have as I am getting rolling in my internship, please feel free to add wisdom and help me discern how to be a better pastoral presence to patients.
1. Baby Baptisms
I am tagging along with some Clinical Pastoral Education students (C.P.E.) and two are from Catholic Seminaries. I will not have the chance to be on call (be the only chaplain in the hospital during the night) but the C.P.E. students will be and one discussion we have had is can they perform baby baptisms, since they do not feel qualified as they are not yet priests. I will not say much more, as I do not know much about the issue at all, but here is the underlying problem. When a baby is not in a life/death situation can these seminary students do baptisms without compromising their beliefs?
2. Praying with someone who believes in multiple gods and not compromising your beliefs, while meeting their spiritual needs.
My number one concern as a chaplain is to fulfill the spiritual needs of my patients to the best of my ability. I have not encountered a person with a polytheistic religion yet, but I am sure it is a matter of time. There are prayers that we are taught to say for patients fitting this category, but can I legitimately say that prayer without compromising my belief? Note: I do not pray with every patient as well
3. Praying for physical healing when hope is apparently gone?
I believe that our God can move mountains. I believe there is healing just in hearing the name Jesus. But, when I hear news about a patient from a doctor, that is a negative prognosis how do I go into the room/waiting area with the same feeling and not be discouraged about praying for physical healing?
4. What is their number one need?
My question here specifically is how can I make the most out of my time with a patient? How can I fulfill their spiritual needs in my time without overburdening them? Patients see doctors, nurses, technicians, food service reps, social workers, and many more folks, including me, a chaplain. How can I make the most of my time without overburdening them?
5. How can I resist the urge to fix them?
As I said before my service is to offer a listening ear and a pastoral presence. Not to preach, evangelize, and especially not to fix them. I have as many problems as my patients; mine are just not as visible as theirs. But, when I hear certain triggers in my brain that say, “You know how to fix this situation!” I need to back off and listen even more intently, but how can I resist that urge and truly be a pastoral presence.
As I said earlier please add in on the discussion. Don’t feel as if you need to add in wisdom, you may also ask more questions as well. Thanks for reading.