Katherine Walker '07

"I'm working as a multi-faith chaplain at two large teaching hospitals, both adult and pediatric, in Colorado. My team and I support patients and families as they process life changing illness and injuries, as they engage in decision making, and as they experience traumas and end of life situations.

During this pandemic, panic, uncertainty, fear, isolation, and existential questions are widespread, so we offer emotional support, spiritual support, and identification of core values and purpose as a means of deepening resilience. We are engaging creative ways to support people in isolation, to provide connection and ritual to people who are dying, and to provide support to families who are grieving.

Additionally, we are providing resilience support to other clinical providers on the front lines. Staff are experiencing high levels of moral distress and moral injury, especially around resource allocation. Each one of us is at risk of infection by choosing to offer the support we have been trained to do.

How do we assess risks when we do not know enough about the virus itself? What values drive us to make the choices we are making? And how do we make decisions for ourselves and our patients when there may be few optimal outcomes? Grappling with these issues is routine in our work as providers, but what's new is the vastly different level of risk and multiplicity of ethical dilemmas.

The ongoing question is how to remain in alliance with our values as they are tested moment by moment. As I reflect upon being #JuniataStrong, I remember my training and relationships there - in particular, the ways I have learned to think critically and engage compassionately. #JuniataStrong - friends, we're well trained, and we've got this - moment by moment."

Katherine Walker '07

You’re invited to join us in sharing how you, or another Juniatian, are remaining #JuniataStrong in these difficult times.
Submit your story at https://fal.cn/37j3u or use the hashtag on social media.