(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)
I’m a United Methodist minister working on a multi-faith team of board-certified chaplains. Our team includes a rabbi, an Episcopal priest, a United Church of Christ minister and two Roman Catholic chaplains. We closely collaborate with nurses and doctors, child life specialists, social workers and music therapists, and other caregivers.
None of us is ever alone in the work. Each morning, the staff chaplains come together to meditate, discuss the spiritual care needs of our units and share information. We attend multidisciplinary rounds on our assigned ICUs and floors and provide spiritual support to patients, families and staff.
Sometimes the care we offer is of a religious nature, but often it’s more about sources of strength and hope and courage. We ask nurses if a family has exhibited any signs of spiritual distress. We try to figure out what gives people strength, joy, peace and comfort in their lives outside of the hospital, and we incorporate those things into the hospital setting.
I see patients, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It’s a great honor to meet people every day from Boston and other parts of the state, as well as from across the country and around the world. Each situation is different but always based on helping people identify what’s important to them. We’re not here to “sell” anything. We’re here to partner with people as spiritual companions on a journey.