Integris Chaplain Receives COVID Vaccine In Efforts To Continue Giving Hope To Patients

Wednesday, December 16th 2020, 5:31 pm
By: Anjelicia Bruton

Integris Bass Baptist Health Center chaplain Perry Walker is now one of thousands of Oklahomans to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

During this time, he said having faith is an essential part of being in a hospital filled with patients battling COVID-19.

Walker is the only full time chaplain at our Integris Baptist. At many hospitals, chaplains are considered a necessity during the pandemic to provide a helping hand to those struggling to get through the day.

“Before the pandemic, maybe 80% of my time was direct patient care and 20% was with caregivers. That mix has changed a little bit,” Walker said.

Walker said he spends more than half of his time now with health care workers.

“The stories that we hear and the stories that we see are just sad stories. We’ve been around those kind of stories, but there just seems to be a greater number of them,” Walker said.

He said his average day is busier than usual, but that's why he wanted to get the vaccine. With the vaccine, he can continue to provide support to staff feeling overwhelmed and also comfort patients in need of hope.

“We’re more than just a physical body. We have a soul and we have a spirit and when that affects us for most people that’s going to cause them to go into what I call a crisis or a crisis emotionally or a crisis of faith,” Walker said.

“It’s not your wife, your husband, it’s not your mother that’s dying, but you feel grief as a caregiver. That’s known as disenfranchised grief and all of us experience those kind of feelings.”

Walker said chaplains at his health center are available 24/7. In cases where COVID patients are alone in their rooms, he said it's important a chaplain be there to guide them through difficult times.