Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Lesson 19 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ The Chaplains Toolbox ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Write a paragraph describing your "tool belt" and your "tool box." In my personal toolbox/tool belt I carry a few items that distinguish me as clergy. Like most clergy I have on myself at all times my business cards. This allows me to not only leave proof that I was there to visit with the person, but to introduce myself to the family if need be. There are many times you may go to visit with the sick and they may be away for hospital tests and instead of waiting around for them to return, I leave my card in a place convenient for them or a family member to see and make note on the card when I plan to be in that area again or of course they may contact me if they wish to see me at another time other than what is designated. If I am called to see a client in the emergency room I always take my, what I call, situation case with me. Here I have a Ministers Guide Book for particular ceremonies, Communion wafers and drink, Holy Water and Anointing Oil. This allows me to be prepared for which ever situation confronts me at the time of my visit. If a client is not of my particular faith I will ask the E.R. staff if their own particular clergy is on their way and if there is time to wait for them. If there is time to wait, I will stand by to comfort the client and family members and when their clergy arrives I introduce myself to him/her and then promptly excuse myself. I also have at my disposal my personal cell phone which allows me to schedule appointments, web browse, make phone calls, etc. I also carry with me a small pad of paper and of course a pen to jot down particulars. However, I never jot down particulars regarding what the client and I have discussed, please remember this is to remain private and no one should accidentally come across this information….it is usually on a need to know basis and the forgiveness of sins is personal. If the patient is in a critical situation, I usually ask one family member to stay with me, this may also allow the patient to be more at ease or a nursing staff member to remain and they are advised that whatever they hear is strictly confidential and must not nor cannot be repeated under any circumstances. If the patient is too critical it really wouldn't matter because they probably wouldn't be able to talk and I would just simply help prepare them for the next part of their journey. I find it reassuring to the patient's family if they can witness what I am doing, this sometimes puts their minds at ease that their family member was properly prepared. I always carry with me my visitation stole (purple/white). This tends to make things a tad bit more professional. I usually start out by asking the patient if they have accepted Jesus as their savior…if they reply yes then I go on with the anointing, usually on the hand. If they request baptism I do this quickly on the forehead. After all is taken care of I conclude with the Hail Mary [the patient and the family can say it with me aloud]. And finish up with….In the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit….Go In Peace. I find this to be sufficient to be in my toolbox. If the family requests me to stay around for grief counseling with other family members I certainly do. When I feel my time with this situation has come to an acceptable end I professionally excuse myself. Sometimes I will sit in my car before leaving the parking lot and go over the visitation to make sure in my mind I have done my best. Remember, some ER and/or ICU visitations can be very stressful and you may not have much time. Just do the best you can. And, by all means don't forget the first golden rule of chaplains…be prepared to LISTEN.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Lesson 18 – Personal Spiritual Care ~ Beware of Burn-Out!
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Look at your ministry. What are the stressor points? What is your week like? At this time I have very limited stressors. My main goal is to complete seminary classes and achieve a Chaplaincy appointment with my intended goal to work with the Armed Forces Veterans. Due to my background I feel this is how I could best serve my fellow man. I have allotted much of my work week toward the seminary classes due to the fact this is a second vocation/journey in my life. Getting away on a vacation at least twice a year and some time off, I try to do this at least once a month for a 3 day consecutive period, this has been a great reliever of stress. Be sure to set up a covering clergyman/woman in advance to help you with these times of "Personal Spiritual Care". Develop your spiritual care plan. Write a brief description of it. My spiritual care plan follows closely a book written by Perry H. Biddle, Jr. "A Hospital Visitation Manual". This manual covers all aspects of ministering to many diseases which the ministers may be confronted with both in and out of the hospital settings. When I go into an acute care setting I do try to limit the visitation directly to the patient to five to ten minutes. I do what I have to do including speaking with the patient [if possible]. Remembering you can always visit with the family in the acute care setting waiting room, this will help not disrupting the vital nursing care functions that need to be performed. The "Hospital Chapel" is always available for your own use or the family may be reminded of the chapel if there is a need for solitude or private worshiping. The chapel usually has pre-announced times of denominational services where Rabi's, Priests, Muslims and other Christian clergy may conduct their own services. Always check in at the nurse's station before proceeding to a patient's room, it is only proper to do this no matter what part of the hospital you are visiting. I do home visitations only if the patient is confined to his/her home and when directly asked by the patient or his/her family member to stop by. It is only common courtesy to confirm your visitation the day before in case situations have changed. Remember if you are to administer "Anointing" or "Absolution" this should be a private rite of passage between you, the patient and their God. Hospital staff and even other family members should be excused from the patient's room to ensure their privacy. The patient and his/her family places an enormous amount of faith/trust in the clergy. This must be honored and kept in strict privacy so there is no break in that trust can never be questioned. Spiritual care should be administered to all persons that request it, for the chaplain administers to all persons of all faiths. And going back to what we discussed in lesson #1….Listen to your people….Chaplains are and need to be great listeners.
GO IN PEACE