Paul C. Edwards
Thanks so much for your warm words.
Another comment I have on the Board Certification thing is that I have noted that, while the local clergy I have encountered are very compassionate, many have no exposure to the dynamics of health care and are unfamiliar/uncomfortable with all that we trained chaplains do. I recall being a part of a planning committee here at the hospital, about two years ago, to convene a gathering community clergy. There were a few community clergy members on that committee and there was significant push-back when we tried to add a spot for our Director of Palliative Medicine to do some education and outreach. I believe it came from lack of knowledge and preconceived ideas about death and dying and the health care environment. In fact, I was really stunned when one clergy member phrased his objection to having a presentation on Palliative Care in the following manner: – “I am trying to help my people live; not to help them die”. It was not the time, nor the place to get into a heated discussion, but therein lies the problem. So, in agreement with your comments, those of us who have clinical experience (and training) offer so much more to a Palliative/Hospice care ministry opportunity, than those who do not. Sometimes the clergy persons, though well-meaning and supportive, have been at cross-purposes to what we need to communicate to patients and families and how we would like them to reflect on their journey and the processing of next steps.