Washington Post: Nurses make fun of their dying patients. That’s okay.
Then there is this:
"That’s not to excuse all humor by health-care professionals. For example, mocking disabilities and using racial, ethnic or other cruel epithets go too far."
Right, but mocking helpless, and often heavily medicated, people in their final, painful days is totally okay. This may be why fewer and fewer hospitals employ chaplains. We might interfere with the staff's sense of "sport".
I suddenly look at the people who care for my parishioners, and my dying mother, in a much different light.
I appreciate that it is difficult to deal with the dying as part of one's job. Because of that, I understand that there is a psychological temptation to reduce the dying from human beings to the butt of mediocre, unfunny references. However, it is just that: a temptation. Temptations are harmful to the soul and the heart, which is why they are to be avoided.
Also, because I work not just with the dying and the dead, but with their families, I know that they can tell how nurses and other health care professionals truly feel about their loved ones. It cannot be hidden and it merely increases their pain at a time when anyone who gets paid to care about healing should, rather, be dedicated to its reduction.
[Note: This was updated because it was the most read and most linked posting of the last month. It is also an issue that is close to me both professionally and personally these days.]