Working Within Our Limits

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.

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