Hospital chaplaincy is an often misunderstood vocation. Many unfamiliar with the work of the hospital chaplain equate it with ministry, but that is not what it is at all. Ministers seek to bring a specific message to those with whom they work. Hospital chaplains lay aside their personal beliefs at the door to the patient’s room and seek instead to immerse themselves in the spiritual worldview of the patient or the patient’s family.
At Huntsville Hospital where I am working we have one permanent chaplain and about 20 volunteer chaplains to serve the needs of 881 patients, the families of those patients, and also the staff on the various units. This is a stressful environment in which to work. Sometimes we engage in happy events such as the baptism of a newborn. But often our work is with those who are critically ill or dying. This presents a challenge not only in meeting the needs of the patient and their family, but also in maintaining one’s own spiritual and emotional health. More.