The lastest issue of "Healing Spirit", a chaplaincy advocacy kind of publication from the Association of Professional Chaplains, includes an article on a program that the US Navy went through to upgrade its chaplaincy services. The article says that a Navy steering council decided
two things -- to establish the best practice for chaplain/patient interaction, charting, and working with providers; and to start thinking with a business mind about the development of standards of practice. [Emph. mine]Now, I'm a big believer in having really solid policies and procedures (if nothing else, it helps us appear professional in the eyes of the rest of the medical care team and we need that if we're going to be trusted by the team to be full partners in patient care). But, I seriously wonder if we're ultimately undermining ourselves by talking about functioning like a "business".
Isn't one of the things that we're supposed to be (as chaplains) is a living, walking, breathing alternative to viewing _everything_ about patient care as being about a business (and numbers and charts and graphs and everything that goes along with that)? Isn't part of our job to be someone who insists that patients are human beings and not just diagonses and revenue sources. Aren't we supposed to be a walking embodiment of the fact that there are values that we (that is, every human being) holds _higher_ than just numbers and business? Isn't that what we mean when we talk about ourselves as being advocates of "holisitic" care?
Anyway, the plan that the Navy decided to use is the Discipline for Pastoral Care Giving, which is something I've heard of before that was developed by Larry VanderCreek and others. It's some kind of comprehensive spiritual assessment and communication too. I think it's something that the time may have come for me to learn more about.