Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finally Seeing Patients

After three and a half days of orientation (which consisted mostly of talking with and listening to managers and bureaucrats) we finally got to our units today. The longer the orientation got, the more I ached to do this, to just get started with what I am at the hospital for: pastoral visits with patients.

I have been anxious about this. I haven't been sure that chaplaincy is what I should be doing. This anxiety has been elevated by the fact that I have not been visiting patients yet, spending my time doing things that I have little patience for, like paperwork and learning how to negotiate a local bureaucracy. It was about to make me go completely batty.

But we finally got our assignments, and at least for a little while, I will be working on the Rehab/Neurological unit and the Trauma Nursing unit. So this is where I went, visiting both these units, introducing myself to clerks and nurses, and even seeing some patients.

While I was on the units and meeting patients, my anxiety was lifted, not just because I finally began doing what thought I signed up to do, but because got a deeper sense that this is what I should be doing. It wasn't overwhelming; there was no ray of light or angelic choir, just an abiding peacefulness. I am where I should be. I don't feel happy, or glad, so much as I feel calm and still. For the time being, things are as they should be.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Rachel said...

I'm glad that you are finally working with patients, and glad that you're feeling calm and still.

Tonight will be my first on-call night. Occasionally my brain discharges clouds of nervousness ("what if I can't do this? what if I see blood and I panic? what if I start to cry? what if I say the wrong thing? what if I get lost in the hospital and don't find my way to a patient in time?") but on the whole I feel surprisingly calm.

It's a little bit like how I feel on the day which will, come nightfall, be Yom Kippur. An awesome spiritual responsibility is ahead of me, which makes today a kind of heightened and preparatory day.

I hope that, once I get over the practical fears (getting lost in the hospital, forgetting how the pager works, flubbing hospital protocol) I will find myself feeling the calm sense of "rightness" that you describe.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:19:00 AM  
Blogger Preston said...

Tonight was my first on-call night - and I am just getting home, at 10pm.

So I'm tired.

Good night!

Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:24:00 PM  

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