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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, June 12, 2003

More Orientation

Today we talked some about the requirements of CPE-- verbatims, reflections, daily reports and the like. Notably, we learned about the technique of Story Theology-- a process of reflection on stories we share, as a way of doing theology. Trevor, you'd love this-- it's right up your alley.

We also got a couple more departmental tours, in Emergency Services and ICU/Critical Care. The ER director is a stitch, and a very tough lady-- about what I'd expect would be necessary in a department (actually, two-- they have separate ER's for pediatrics and adults) that serves an average of 130 patients daily. They see the gamut, here on the south side of the city; from folks with ear infections to gunshot victims, and a few bizarre things I wouldn't have thought of, in between. She's really comfortable with the role we fill as chaplains, and says that she calls for us all the time.

But the area that I found myself more drawn to was critical care. There are 5 floors in the ICU "D Tower," as they call it: burn unit, neuro, surgical, cardiac, and general medical. Peds/neonatal ICU are over in the childrens' hospital. The Director of this department (a former Benedictine monk!) is highly educated (board certified in two different areas, entitled to tack more letters behind his name than are in it), and very personable. He's not entirely sure how a chaplain might most effectively be used in his area, because they have not had one assigned regularly before. He's open to it though, and talks of an interdisciplinary focus, especially in the burn unit, necessary in beginning to heal the whole patient, not just the injury/illness. We talked a little about the patients'/families needs for spiritual and pastoral care, and also mentioned that we were available to speak with the medical staff, which I think had not occurred to him before.

Between the tours we had a midday luncheon, attended by various folks whose jobs/departments will interact with ours-- Social Services, Community Outreach, Family Advocacy, etc. We were very warmly welcomed; they seem delighted to be part of reopening CPE (ours is the first class after a significant and apparently necessary hiatus) at the hospital, and to be part of our learning process. Kind, helpful people.

Tomorrow we meet and tour with the directors of Child Life, Family Advocacy and Community Outreach. Then we will choose our unit assignments.


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