Reverend Dave Klingensmith is the coordinator for spiritual care at Saint Agnes Medical Center. Every day he visits up to 30 patients, giving them spiritual guidance during what can sometimes be a painful, trying time. "Just knew you landed in the hospital yesterday and wanted to see how things are going for you today," he said.
"We support spiritually emotionally patients at the hospital in order to care for patient in whole sense physical medical emotional and spiritual," program advisor Ki Do Ahn said.
Chaplains visit patients and their families in hospitals, provide a comforting voice for victims of a crime and even visit inmates at local jails and prisons. Fresno Pacific University's Biblical Seminary has now partnered up with Clinical Pastoral Education to better connect students with the classes they need to become a chaplain.
Also, more hospitals and prisons need a certified chaplain to meet their accreditation requirements. "They used to use a lot of volunteers, but now there's a change in the regulation," James Westgate with the board of Clinical Pastoral Education said. "So, they need certified chaplains."
Do Ahn says the need for chaplains in the Central Valley is huge. "The ratio between chaplain to patient would be 1 to 100 but in this town it's less 1 to 200 or 1 to 300," he said.
Most chaplains here in the Central Valley aren't able to get through their entire list of patients for the day seeing the most critical patients first. Officials hope this new partnership encourages more students to think about a career as a chaplain.