The faith and spiritual practices of patients and families are often a source of strength and hope during a hospital stay. Our chaplains are trained to respond to the spiritual needs of patients in the hospital setting. Chaplains provide spiritual support and guidance to patients and families as they seek healing, meaning and hope through the experience of illness or recovery from injury.
To identify and serve the spiritual needs of persons with respect and compassion, honoring the diversity of their faith traditions and beliefs as resources for healing and growth.
"Our days usually consist of staying connected with people through phone calls, emails, visits and making rounds in our patient care areas to assess spiritual needs of new patients and families," says Brenda Green, Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education Coordinator for Children's. "We check in with staff to get referrals they might have for us."
Chaplains share their responsibilities by rotating roles throughout the week to make sure someone is available for spiritual support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can be seen making rounds with caregivers, sitting quietly at a patient’s bedside or responding to traumas in the emergency department. They also perform interfaith worship services in the hospital chapels.
Chaplains are often called upon to be with families in their moments of greatest joy and deepest sadness. They celebrate baptisms, blessings, recoveries and birthdays with families. They provide bereavement support, conduct funerals and memorial services and may help families talk through the delicate subject of organ/tissue/eye donation.
"We believe in wholistic care," explains Chaplain Green. "This means we see people as physical, emotional, mental and spiritual beings. All these needs should be addressed for people to experience full healing."
The Big Picture
"Spirituality is a commonality we share given the understanding that spirituality is that which gives meaning and purpose to our lives. For most of us, this includes hope, openness, resiliency, connection and love," says Chaplain Green.
When to Call a Chaplain?
- When you need assistance contacting your clergy or representative of your faith tradition.
- When you are struggling to make sense out of what is happening.
- When you need a Bible or religious literature.
- When you need a prayer or other religious rituals such as anointing, baptism or communion.
- When your child is having surgery.
- When there is a new diagnosis or a significant change in the plan of care.
- When you feel isolated or lonely.
- When you are facing ethical decisions.
- When grieving a loss or death.
Chaplains respond to patient and/or family requests for various religious rituals. We perform such rituals or make contact with an appropriate clergy person or religious leader to perform them as needed. Rituals requested by patients or families may include anointing, baptism, infant dedication, communion or other rituals unique to their faith tradition.
Clinical Pastoral Education
If you have inquiries regarding our Clinical Pastoral Education program, please contact Reverend Martha Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-785-0352. If you're mailing an application, please mail it, along with $60, to Reverend Laurie Robins at 1001 Johnson Ferry Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30342. You can download a copy of the CPE application here.