Day in the Life: Spiritual Care Counselor

Job Title: Spiritual Care Counselor

Industry: Hospice

Location: San Antonio, TX

Age: 26

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: $50,700/year plus mileage at $0.56/mile, on call at $2/hour and if I get called out to a visit on call, it is 1.25 pay.

Employer Type: Non-profit

Employer Size: Roughly 100 employees

How Long in Current Position: 1 year

Highest Level of Education: Master of Divinity

Path to This Job: I felt a connection with religious work at a very young age.  I earned a B.A. in Theology and went on to a Master of Divinity in order to be a church pastor.  During my second year internship, I found that my favorite part of the job was visiting our sick and dying members.  After graduation, I applied to pastor positions, but it can be very difficult to find a congregation willing to hire a woman.  I remembered how much I enjoyed visiting the sick and dying, so I decided to make a full-time career out of it.

A typical day at work:

6:00am: Wake up and play around until 7:30 am.

7:30am: Switch on my work phone.  I am not expected to be in the office at 8 am when I technically begin work, but I am expected to be available if someone needs me right at 8.  Therefore, the work phone must be on. 

8:00am: Begin paperwork and planning my day.  Eventually leave to visit my first patient.

9:00am: This is typically the very earliest I would see a patient.  I see patients in their own homes or in a nursing facility, so they are very much on their own schedule.  Most patients do not wake up until around 10 am.  Between 9 am and 4 pm, I will be driving around our service area of 100 miles seeing patients.  I typically drive around 50 miles a day.  Every so often we will have a staff meeting in the office, but when there is no meeting, there is generally no reason to go to the office.  I spend the entire day either in my car or with a patient. When I am with a patient or family member, I provide the typical religious services such as communion, anointing, and prayer.  I also can provide grief counseling and coping strategies.  A lesser known part of my job is connecting the patient with a clergy member of their own faith tradition.  My least favorite part of my job is when my boss needs someone to help with a new patient signing the admission paperwork and I get voluntold.

5:00pm: Turn my work phone off.  The only exception is if I am on call, which can be either Monday-Thursday, or Friday-Sunday, once a month.  On call is 24-hour availability with the commitment to visit a patient or family member if the nurse in charge deems fit. 

READERS, SUBMIT YOUR DAY: The Career Files Submission Form

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash