Well, she did it, and I never had any doubts. Today, Deb completed her one-year Residency with the Houston Methodist Hospital system. The requirements for a professional National Board Certification of a Hospital Chaplain are more complicated than one might realize. For Deb, she needed a Master of Divinity, a massive degree in the neighborhood of 80 credit hours. Following that completion, there is the required thumbs up from an endorsement agency, which generally requires a chaplaincy ordination from a local congregation or denomination. Then there is the residency program, which includes regular and on-call hours in the hospital and credited hours of “Clinical Pastoral Education.” Finally, after all of this, Deb will undergo the National Board Certification examination in February, which I know will be a stroll in the park for her.
The role of a hospital chaplain is more than praying for and with patients. It is discovering where a person is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and helping them walk through their internal and external healing process. The position also cares for the hospital’s doctors, nurses, and other staff personnel. Much of it is purposefully being some very direct “salt and light” in a place of pain looking for healing. (more…)