As a chaplain who responds as part of the trauma team at my large regional trauma center, I occupy a strange role. While the rest of the trauma team rushes to put on lead vests and gowns and masks and hats, I stand quietly.
When a patient arrives by air or ground I listen to report from the paramedics, listening for our patient's name, age, location & whether or not their family knows where they are. I work with police and other EMS workers and charge nurses to find and notify family members. But a lot of the time I just stand quietly.
Early in my career, I struggled with not having a "task" in the midst of trauma response. But an emergency room tech at the hospital where I worked in Colorado stated it best, "chaplains represent comfort. You remind us that God is with us in this mess. You help us keep going."
In a trauma response I care for patients, but I also care for staff.
Recently I responded to an extraordinarily difficult trauma. The traumas that involve grave injuries with little chance of survival wear on medical staff. It causes our staff pain when a patient is unidentified and their family doesn't know where they are. This situation involved all of these factors.
I just stand in the pain with our staff and remind them that they are cared for. I believe that my calming and quiet presence is a steadying influence. That my "care through proximity" for the team contributes to resilience. I'm available if they need me, and they know my face for future situations. I accompany physicians when they notify family members that their loved one has died. I exude a quiet strength, and like caring for my patients, my message is, "I am here with you."