Trauma, SICU and SIU, What a Blessing to Work with These Teams

Tuesday was the Seventh Day of Christmastide.  I am headed down the slope of marking the 12 Days of Christmas and remembering the blessings of each day.  After struggling a bit with finding the blessing in Monday, yesterday’s was so much easier.

I get to talk about the people I work with the clinical teams of Trauma, SICU and SIU.

I am the staff chaplain assigned to the surgical trauma units of our level 1 trauma center.  According to one particular NP I know, we have the biggest RAC in North Carolina. I’ll let you look up what that means. We might have the biggest but I will add to that statement, we have the BEST trauma team around.  We get it all and I assure you, we do.  I work with the medical teams of Critical Care, Surgical Trauma and every now and then, Emergency Medicine.  I say with all humility and honor, I can’t imagine a better group of people to work with.

The past week has been a great reminder for me how blessed I am to be the chaplain for the SICU (surgical ICU), SIU (surgical intermediate unit) and Trauma teams.  Last week I worked on Christmas Day and had an incredible time being with my trauma family.  It was not a sacrifice to be with these people on Christmas Day.  (Click on “Christmas Day” to read about that day.) They are my quirky, fabulous, and dedicated family.  It was an honor to be with them on this sacred day.

Yesterday proved to be just as much of a blessing as ever.  The blessing showed through a more somber time.  I was reminded yesterday of the unfortunate circumstances of being a trauma center, loss.   One of the flaws I have of being a chaplain is the fact that it hurts to know when someone dies alone. Some say it’s a flaw. Some say it’s a special trait. I hate to see it happen and if I can, it won’t happen when I am there.  Thankfully, I work with an incredible group of ICU nurses who believe the same.  The care that was missing from “loved” ones was exhibited through the compassion of two incredible nurses. Then I followed with my work in prayer, grief, and support of the deceased and staff.  No matter the circumstances, the God I work for is a caring and compassionate God who loves all people, even unto death.

You have to have something special to work in the trauma units.  Trauma is unique and it takes a certain personality, toughness and heart to make it in this area.  Working in trauma is not for the weak and sensitive but at the same time, you can’t hold it all in and hope it goes away. You’ve got to have the support, the outlet, the laughter and the tears. You’ve got to have IT. I can’t describe what “it” is, but you have to have IT to survive in this area.   I was reminded of that yesterday too as I had a wonderful opportunity to sit and talk with those who have sacrificed so much to be here.  They are incredible. I get to walk alongside these incredible, lifesaving people; doctors, nurses, nurse managers, care partners, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, social work case managers, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, counselors, nurse clinicians, etc; I get to work with them!! The “it” I am referring to can only be understood by those who are going through it with you.  I am lucky enough to stand right beside them and walk with them.  It’s not easy and we are quirky, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks be to God for every single day that I get to work with them.

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