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Health-care news

November 12, 2007

About 70 area nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other clergy gathered for Washington County Hospital's spiritual care conference, Embracing the Spiritual in Healthcare: Reclaiming the Soul, Monday, Oct. 22. The conference featured keynote speaker Verna Benner Carson.

"The spiritual care conference was an opportunity for clergy and lay people involved in health-care or caregiving to hear a dynamic presentation about personal spiritual health and its affect on caring for others," said the Rev. David C. Baker, director of spiritual care at Washington County Hospital.

Carson, author of "Parish Nursing: Stories of Service and Care and Spiritual Caregiving: Healthcare as a Ministry," discussed the importance of caring for our own spiritual needs. In her presentation, Spiritual Health of the Caregiver: You Can't Give What You Don't Have, she explained that spiritual burnout can raise questions about meaning and whether or not we are making a difference. "We have to take time to care for ourselves and replenish our own supply of spirit because we cannot continue to give if there is no reservoir to draw from," she said.

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Carson also presented "Spiritual Caregiving: Standing on Holy Ground," during which she provided practical scenarios and tools for helping others with their spiritual needs through communication."Words are incredibly powerful. They can be life-giving as well as life-damaging," she said.

The conference was held during spiritual care week, Oct. 21 through Oct. 27.

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