Consider this interesting report on the changing riole of hosptial chaplains:
The job of hospital chaplain has evolved to encompass far more than last rites, but many Americans’ expectations of the job haven’t caught up with nearly two decades of research showing a link between the mind and body. Father Mulcahy of “M.A.S.H.” is still probably the most famous chaplain in pop culture, and that portrayal is over 30 years old.
“People do have this idea that chaplains go in and hold hands and pray,” said David Johnson, assistant director for operations at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., and president of the Association of Professional Chaplains in Schaumburg, Ill. The APC issued its first standards of practice for professional chaplains in 2009. The job is nondenominational, both he and others stressed. “I’ve had atheists talk with my chaplains.”
Today’s chaplain is often an integrated part of the medical team and is expected to provide services to patients, their families and hospital staff. Two-thirds of U.S. hospitals provide chaplaincy services, including both Kalamazoo-area hospitals, Borgess Medical Center and Bronson, which has a chaplain on duty 24/7.