“Hi, I’m Peggy Muncie, a hospital chaplain,” she says. “Would you like a visit?”
She’s not there to thump. Deftly, she asks people how they’re feeling, then lets them vent their pain and fear, their anxiety and frustration. She nods, a little pushy with her probing. She flags a nurse. “Can you direct a doctor toward that patient?” she whispers.
And always, at the end of a visit: “Would it be all right if I prayed with you?” The health care chaplain will touch a forehead, hold a hand and quietly pray worries to the Divine, speaking with inflections that, as needed, may be Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim. For the Baptist woman in Bed 7 whose anxieties are making her chest pain worse, the chaplain prays for calm to allow the medicine to work. Gradually, the patient’s breathing slows.
“My job is to be present to patients without judgment,” Chaplain Muncie says as she pumps a hand sanitizer, “and to help them find out what is meaningful to guide them through the stress of illness.”
Great piece from the NY Times.
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