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.



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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