Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Chaplain and Driving

What in the world does driving have to do with chaplaincy? Well, if you're a hospice Chaplain, a lot. It's how you get to your patients. So, what's the big deal? You are aware that your driving style is part of your annual performance evaluation, aren't you? Therefore, it's something you need to pay attention to. Each hospice has its own policy about driving, but suffice it to say that if you get two speeding tickets or moving violations you will be terminated. What a shame it would be for a great Chaplain to lose his job because of bad driving habits. Follow these suggestions and stay on your job: 1. Remember, if you are going to be late for a visit, your iPhone can travel faster than your car. Simply call the next patient or the patient's caregiver and let them you'll be late. None of us likes to be late, but none of us likes to pay a speeding ticket and jeopardize our job, either. 2. As far as insurance is concerned, get the upper limits on your policy. You might need it some day. As for me and my driving adventures, my car has been shot, been hit by a patient's caregiver, and came within a gnat's eyelash of a head-on collision (I can still hear and feel the brakes squealing). Yep, my car was shot. Thankfully, the bullet did not penetrate the passenger door and then penetrate my ribs. It must have been a stray bullet because I was simply driving through a tough part of town. The incident when the caregiver hit my car was one of those challenging Chaplain situations. This gentleman was well-known for his horrific driving. I was visiting his spouse and was engaged in conversation when he stated he was going to the VA clinic and would be back later. He left the living room and headed to the garage. It occurred to me that I was parked in the driveway and he would hit my car if he backed out. Well, as I went out to the garage I observed him giving his big van more power as he was trying to move my car out of the way. He wasn't aware he had destroyed the left fender and all that attached to it. I am not the best at diplomacy, but I had to be in this case. He paid the bill to fix my car and was very apologetic. But, as you all know, I had to report this incident and go for a drug screen. Just another day at hospice. 3. Keep your car in as good a shape as you can. My car has over 250,000 miles. It still gets oil changes every 3,000 miles. It gets washed twice a month, gets new tires as needed, gets tuned up if needed, etc. I do not like car notes, so I will run this car until it needs hospice care itself! 4. Be extremely careful who you transport in your car. It is my personal policy never to transport a patient or caregiver. That is assuming too much risk. Besides, it is our hospice's policy restricting this. My colleagues will tell you that during extended orientation when nurses, aides, social workers, or Chaplains are taken on shadow visits, it is my personal policy not to transport our women IDT members. This has always been my manner. It's not to be sexist, but respectful. Respectful in 2015? Yes. I respect my wife too much and I respect our employee's spouses too much. There is plenty of time to talk at a facility or at the office. You may have another view and that is fine. This has held me in good stead for 3 decades of pastoral care. 5. Lastly, be safe. You are the most important person to your family. Be as safe as you can. Accidents happen to safest of drivers. Just know you are loved at home and at work. Bless you, Chaplain Colleagues. Yours is a sacred work.

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