Chaplains, or spiritual companions on a journey

Ann, a chaplain, sits in the chapel at Boston Children's
(Katherine C. Cohen)

I’m a United Methodist minister working on a multi-faith team of board-certified chaplains. Our team includes a rabbi, an imam, an Episcopal priest, a United Church of Christ minister, a Lutheran minister, a Christian chaplain, and three Roman Catholic chaplains. We closely collaborate with nurses and doctors, child life specialists, social workers, 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.

Learn more about chaplaincy at Boston Children’s.

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