SAN ANTONIO -- For a lot of people, a trip to the hospital can be scary, uneasy, and can bring about a number of outcomes. Certainly doctors, nurses, and modern medicine have their place, but sometimes a good sense of spiritual healing can go a long way.

  • Chaplains need degree, board certification 
  • Often step in to provide care beyond medical staff 

"Your heart is jumping all over. I said, 'What are you talking about, doc?'" said Wayne Rudolph. 

Eighty-nine-year-old Wayne Rudolph is a patient at Northeast Baptist Hospital. He's waiting on a procedure, but so far, so good. Part of the reason Rudolph is in good spirits is because of visits from chaplains like Tim Cranfill. 

Spectrum News stopped by for one of their meetings.

Cranfill is the director of pastoral care and has been a chaplain for 25 years. Every day is different, and patients say the role is extremely valuable.

In another part of the hospital, chaplain Jenny Perkins is making her rounds and seeing if the staff needs any spiritual TLC. It's a big job, but Cranfill and Perkins aren't the only ones up for the challenge.

"Across our six hospitals we have 14 full-time staff chaplains, all of which are board certified or moving toward becoming board certification. We also have a clinical pastoral education program that has six full-time residents for a year at a time. Then we have about six or eight associate chaplains who help us out on weekends," said Keith Bruce, vice president of Baptist Health System Mission and Ministry.

Becoming a chaplain can be a complex process. All have master's or doctorate degrees and even have to go before a board.

"For me just to be with people in their hardest times in life and meet them where they are and support them where they are and just provide whatever care that I can give them during these difficult times in the hospital," said Perkins.

Chaplains are trained to reach people of all types of faiths and every belief in-between.

"They don't operate on many 89-year-olds anymore. But I guess I'm doing pretty well," Rudolph said. 

Before leaving, Cranfill asks Rudolph and his wife if they'd like to say a prayer, and they did. For Rudolph, it's a treatment beyond a hospital stay, and one that will stick with him as he heads home in a few days.