By Erik Carlson
“Hospital’s on lockdown.”
The security guard didn’t even throw us a backward glance as he shouted the news over his shoulder before continuing on his brisk jog around the floor. I turned to the chaplain I was shadowing that Friday afternoon. A Dominican sister from the Dominican Republic, she called herself a “Double Dominican.”
“Why is the hospital on lockdown?” I asked, trepidation coloring my voice gray.
“That’s hospital procedure whenever they bring in a gunshot victim. Would you like to go? They’ll need a chaplain, so I’ll be going.”
During our first year, my medical school requires students to shadow a chaplain in the university hospital. These chaplains, who come from a variety of faith traditions and backgrounds, address the emotional and spiritual needs of patients, often liaising between the medical team and the patients’ families. Before entering the hospital that afternoon, I was determined to put aside any preformed notions about healthcare and spirituality and to approach the experience with as open a mind as possible.Read More »