Methodist Hospital Chaplaincy


This is the third decade of the joint Rhodes and Methodist Hospital chaplaincy internship program. This program is designed to assist students in experiential learning about patient care and interpersonal pre-professional relationships.  Each year from 1 to 6 students work with a Chaplain at the Methodist North Hospital to learn the basic skills of listening to patients and family members.  Students are assigned to a specific clinical area at Methodist North, with the assignment of visiting patients for 3 hours per week.  In addition to close chaplain supervision, students gain from peer learning opportunities through small group seminars focused on patient care issues and needs.  Interns work alongside Methodist nurses, therapists, and technicians.  Where possible, the program is tailored to the individual learning interests of students.

Due to the “close supervision” component of the course, enrollment is limited to 6 students.  The second semester of the Junior Year is the recommended time for the Hospital Internship.  All interested students are welcomed to attend the informational meetings and to speak with faculty members to learn more about the Internship, but preference is given to Seniors, then Juniors, then Sophomores, for the limited space in each group of Interns.

Each year, during the Fall Semester, an informational session is offered to help students discern whether one of the Religious Studies Department’s Internships might be a good “fit” for the student’s interests and gifts.  The date, time, and place for this session will be announced early in the Fall Semester.  An interview is required before a student may register for the Hospital Internship.  The prospective student is encouraged to attend the informational session, and then to contact Chaplain Dennis McDuffie at Methodist North Hospital to schedule an interview.

Interested students may contact the Department of Religious Studies (x3664) or Rev. McDuffie at (901) 516-5005, or by email


Students Reflect on the Chaplaincy Internship

Stuart Lamkin (′01): Interning as a chaplain for a semester was one of the biggest learning experiences I had in all my years at Rhodes. I wanted to take an internship my last semester, and the Chaplaincy Internship offered through the Religious Studies department was the only one I considered. Since I planned to go into ministry after college, I knew it would be a good experience for me, and hoped it wouldn′t be too hard. Well, it turned out to be a great experience for me and it was extremely hard. It wasn′t hard because of the work load, but because it was so emotionally challenging. It′s not easy to spend a few hours each week at a hospital talking to hurting people. Sometimes you enjoy it, but sometimes you feel like you just can′t do it anymore. If you want an internship that will challenge you and force you to learn about yourself as you learn how to help others, then this is the one to take. It′ll be a bumpy ride, but you′ll come out stronger in the end.

Jeremy Murdock (′02): What can I say about my experience with the internship? It challenged me. I signed up for it because a friend of mine had taken the class a year before, and it looked interesting. Besides, I wanted to be a doctor, and this would be some good hospital experience. I thought that I would talk to patients and observe the hospital environment, but this is only partly true. I quickly learned that every patient I talked to, every room I entered was a different experience. I listened to some patients who would cry out their frustration with disease, and I listened to others just complain about the food. I listened to patients tell me their difficulties about their hospital stay and family life, and I also listened to patients tell me about their progress and accomplishment. I did not gain a clinical experience; I gained a personal, patient, human experience. This internship will not help me treat a disease, but it will help me treat a patient. I was challenged by the other side of the hospital, the living side. I was challenged to learn disease may be typical, but patients are unique, and each patient has a unique story, experience, and context to his life.

Christine Dietz (′02): Throughout the semester I found myself involved in an experience that was unlike anything else I have ever been involved with here at Rhodes. It was a chance to learn about others as well as myself in a way that the typically classroom experience does not provide for. The internship through the Chaplain′s office at Methodist North was an exploration into health care as well as personal development. Over the course of the semester, i visited with patients in the hospital, learning about their experiences of life, pain, happiness, and even at times religion. Not only did I learn more about the patients I was visiting, but with each experience, I learned something new about myself. This internship showed me that sometimes it is O.K. to not have the answer and that sometimes the only thing that we want to hear is that we don′t always know. Knowing is not what is important, but feeling is essential to understanding. Whether my conversation was spoken or sitting in silence, there was an understanding and acceptance that existed. This class showed me more about myself than I was always ready to see, but it was a good thing. I learned about caring from many different perspectives and now have an application to my experience.