It's been a while since have last blogged. Since then, the school year has ended, a number of my closest friends have graduated, two have married, I have moved into a new apartment (for the summer) and I have started a summer CPE placement. The apartment is great. I am able to have a fully functioning kitchen, unlike when I was living in the dorms. I also have air conditioning which s phenomenal most days, but when I have had a bad day at work coming home to an air conditioned apartment just makes it all so much better. My roommate is the same person I will be living with, in a different apartment, during my senior year. It is working out great thus far.
My home presbytery requires everyone under care to complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The majority of people complete this in your average medical hospital. On average you end up having t pay about $750 for the CPE credit and then have to figure out how to live for the summer without an income. This was not a feasible endeavor for me. There are too many bills to be paid and a matter of eating during the summer. So I found one of the very few placements that pay you. I was one I had a little bit of experience with, and one that one of my roommates from last summer had done. So this summer, instead of serving as a chaplain intern at a medical hospital I am interning at a state psychiatric hospital.
Yesterday I finished up my second week at the hospital. My supervisors are amazing and my group of fellow interns are amazing. I drive a carpool of 4 interns and most afternoons our ride home is very quite because we are processing everything we have seen and heard and experienced that day.I particularly love learning about the clinical side of psychiatric care. I am able to read patient's charts and learn about their diagnoses and their past. I am becoming very familiar with the different forms of Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder. I work on the treatment mall where I am able to interact with a variety of different patients. Some a scary, and it is important not to show fear, some seem completely harmless, and some you would think are staff instead of a patient.
In the past two weeks I have lots of interesting conversations with patients about religious things, like purgatory and reincarnation, as well as about their life in the hospital, and a vast array of other topics I would not think we would talk about. I have helped a patient pray to Saint Michael and recited the Hail Mary. I have discussed Hindu practices with another patient. I have been hit on by patients and solicited for sex. And that was all just this week. Interesting things happen when you're a chaplain intern at a psychiatric hospital, but I am loving every minute of it.