Hurray for Chaplains

The people of Maine have spoken and that’s great news for the communities served by Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. The decision by the hospital last year to lay off its paid chaplains and replace them with volunteers struck a nerve with many who expressed their dismay that professional chaplains were not part of the interdisciplinary team overseeing patient care.

Some felt strongly enough about the layoffs that they picketed outside the medical center. The result? A year later the hospital has reversed its decision, hired a full-time chaplain and is now in the process of creating a clinical pastoral education (CPE) residency under the guidance of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education.

The hospital’s newly-hired chaplain was quoted as saying: “Chaplains are a vital part of the health care team. They sometimes are able to learn information from patients and their families they might not share with doctors and nurses that turns out to be important in treatment.”

The value of professional chaplaincy cannot be overstated, and we applaud these Maine residents for their determination. This is a good example of what can be accomplished when people band together to support a great cause. In the end, everyone wins!

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