In this insightful blog post featured on bioethics.net, author Jessica Hahne finds out about Reverend Jane Jeuland’s experiences working with patients approaching the end of their lives.
Reverend Jane, a palliative care chaplain at the Yale-New Haven Hopsital in New Haven, Conneticut, explains within the question and answer format, that it is not the chaplain’s job to impose their personal faith traditions onto people, but rather to help people discover their own faith.
She said: “Chaplains also help patients accomplish goals and events before the end of life, like marriages or baptisms,” she continues, “and help people connect with their faith communities and spiritual leaders.”
She is present as part of the palliative care team during deaths and says at that time she just focuses on supporting the family and patient:
“Patients and families at this stage often have many existential questions. People will ask: ‘Why is this happening’, I’ve heard people ask questions like: ‘I don’t understand why this is happening now—Where is God?’ ‘Why is God giving this to me?”
Jane also discusses the training process to become a chaplain, which involves a ten-week internship followed by a nine-month residency:
“Throughout the internship and residency, we have twenty-four hour on-calls, in-services, groups, verbatims, individual supervision, theological papers, and regular written and oral evaluations,” she says.
“One of the big goals of our training is to understand what it is that we are bringing into the room so that it doesn’t get in the way of helping the patient understand where they are – So we also deal with our own grief and our own personal history in groups,” she added.
Author Jessica Hahne asks the Reverend: “Do you think that this career has met the expectations you had for it, or has it been different from the way that you pictured it being when you started?”
Jane replies: “I would say that I feel called to do this work, that I was led to do this work. The doors were opened for me.”