Accepting one’s limits is critical in one’s role, especially here in the hospital. Several years ago, before working at St. V’s, I served as a PRN Chaplain for another local hospital system whose nurses would call in the assigned chaplain or any available local priest as needed.
During one shift, a nurse requested for me to come to the hospital since she could not locate a priest. She said, “We have a patient dying here, and the family would like the last rites.”
“The last rites can only be done by a Catholic priest, and besides, I am not even Catholic,” I explained.
“Well, the family still would like to see a chaplain.”
Upon my arrival, I met the family who requested again for the last rites. I explained that no priest was available, but I could try to do something similar, which they agreed to. So, in my attempt to create the last rites, I read Psalm 23 and did a brief prayer service. The family thanked me but then asked for a priest to come, if at all possible.
As caregivers, we are designed to help others. However, may we also remember that we can only operate within our roles.