Jennifer Gingerich

David, thank you for getting us started with your reflections.  A few responses and questions for you:

You wonder about how to use the APC standards in your setting where the administration is not aligned to these.  I wonder if this is something you could bring to your next annual eval or a goal-setting session and introduce them to your administrator?  Or maybe, as you said, pick a few that you would like to work toward?  It’s interesting that this document assumes that chaplains will take a leadership role in the organization.  Sometimes that is a natural fit, and other times the chaplain is seen as peripheral, right?  Which particular standards are you most interested in developing in your setting?

It’s a little surprising to me that you are not allowed access to the electronic medical record.  That makes it challenging when the social worker can chart info that would be beneficial to you, and you can’t see it!  Are you present in some care conferences?  With that number of residents, I’m sure you cannot make it to all of them.  I wonder if there is one interdisciplinary team (IDT) member who values your work and could be an ally in bringing you more into the IDT?  Sharing these standards and some of the palliative care literature with your administrator might help him/her understand how chaplains are becoming more widely considered an essential part of the care team, not an “extra” or outsider.

I have also had times when I felt like other staff members did not understand my role.  Folks can be territorial, and I’ve encountered questions about why I would be talking with residents about more than just “spiritual” matters.  They did not necessarily see the spiritual as encompassing more than simply the vertical connection to God.  I appreciate the way both the standards and the Drummond and Carey article imply that as chaplains are able to articulate clearly what we do and how it is effective, we gain acceptance in the IDT.  I’ve learned it also helps to very clearly collaborate with and refer to my colleagues in other disciplines.  For example, sharing with the social workers when I learn a resident has had a death in the family.

Thank you for sharing Pruyser’s categories of pastoral diagnosis.  That is a good reminder for me.