Los Angeles,
06:00 AM

LA Times: Hospital Chaplains Embrace New Role During Pandemic

The Los Angeles Times recently featured Cedars-Sinai chaplains Reverend Peggy Kelley and Rabbi Jason Weiner, PhD, along with nurse Jillian Katz, RN, in a front-page story about how chaplains have helped hospital staff cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the feature, Katz, an Orthodox Jew, recalled praying with a Catholic patient and Kelley, who is Protestant, during a particularly difficult day. While the prayer for strength was for the patient, Katz said that she needed to hear it as well.

Since then, Katz and Kelley have developed a close relationship, bonding over their spirituality.

"It’s really beautiful that we can ignore all the societal standards and just be able to lean on each other," Katz told the Times. "Spirituality doesn’t have to be about the specifics of religion. It’s just about how we’re all connected — [and] there for each other."

The story highlighted the importance of Spiritual Care during a time that has been difficult for so many, but especially for those on the front lines.

Katz admitted that her thoughts are consumed by work even when she's at home. She worries about the patients and their families, but is also grateful for her own health.

"We help the patients, but we leave at the end of the day. We’re still breathing. How can we complain?" she told the Times.

While the chaplains also are dealing with the overwhelming loss and grief brought on by the pandemic, Weiner said that they are trained to handle the emotional burden of a crisis like this. They practice what they preach, using prayer and self-care techniques such as music and exercise to heal from each day and prepare for the next.

“That's what we signed up for,” Weiner told the Times. “We’re here for hard times.”

Click here to read the complete feature in the Los Angeles Times.