Unit 3

This week I start my 3rd unit of CPE. Another 400 hours of training; I’ve already completed 800 hours.

It looks like I will be keeping my oncology ward and picking up the general medical ward across the hall, which means more patients with a variety of random medical issues (renal failure, dehydration, confusion, infections) and lots and lots of folks (probably a majority of my patients) with HIV/AIDS complications. I chose this unit combination because I wanted to keep working as part of the oncology team, but also wanted to work on a unit where the HIV/AIDS patients aren’t an afterthought. The HIV/AIDS patients on my oncology unit are only there because they sometimes run out of beds on the unit across the hall. They don’t even have the same social workers as the patients on the oncology unit. In order to figure out what’s going on with them I have to read their charts pretty thoroughly. I know a heck of a lot more about the medicine and science of treating these patients than I did when I started the last CPE unit, but I’d really like to work with staff who are actually focused on HIV/AIDS. Hence the choice to cover both units. 

A classmate and I are planning two prayer services for Haiti for this week. In addition to the earthquake being an all around awful situation we have many many staff, visitors, and patients with family there. We are also planning Ash Wednesday services and imposition of ashes, as well as a memorial service for patients who have died in the past year. In addition, we’re looking at ways to offer safe space and grief support to staff who might be struggling with their own losses while continuing to care for dying patients. 

I am on call overnight for half the month of February, but this means no on call for March-May. I’ll take it! 

One of my learning goals for this new unit is to try to do better handling the emotional fallout from providing pastoral care to the sick and dying and the families of the dead. I’ve been struggling lately (although I am better today) and I’m trying to figure out what is missing in my self-care. Clearly what I’m doing now isn’t working because I keep going through these cycles of coping okay, and then not coping, with all the situations I see in my work. 

In additional chaplaincy news, I’m considering doing a 4th unit so I have enough training to be certified as a chaplain at some point. As I keep telling people, my heart is really in parish work… but I like this chaplaincy thing quite a lot too. If only I could find a way to stop taking it all home with me…


~ by Sophia on January 18, 2010.

One Response to “Unit 3”

  1. I was going to ask you if you were considering chaplaincy….I’m glad you like it. I don’t know how not to take it all home.

    I was thinking today after a pastoral care session that when I was in grad school, I was really really sure that I didn’t want to be a counseling/clinical psychologist because I didn’t think I could NOT take it all home–but look at what I do now. Ha. The one difference now is that I can (at least try to) turn it over to God in prayer. I don’t have to shoulder ALL the responsibility.

    Your call schedule has been fierce! Hope you get some good down time, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: