Patrick McCruden may report to work at a hospital every day — CHI St. Vincent Health System, to be precise — but he’s really continuing an unbroken line of ministry in healing.
As head of bioethics and mission integration, McCruden is the keyholder for the Catholic traditions and ideals that are on display with every morning prayer, every comforting consult and every gesture of mercy.
“Mission integration was developed in Catholic hospitals as a generation of founding sisters ceased to serve as hospital administrators,” he said. “They established an executive position which focused on the religious mission of the organization in terms of how we care for our patients, co-workers and community.
“Thus, I have the opportunity to be involved in so many facets of health care from spiritual care and ethics directly at the bedside, to leadership development and formation and working in the community to promote community health.”
McCruden’s responsibilities are so varied in this regard that it’s hard to pin down an average day’s activities.
“On any given day I could be working with front-line co-workers delivering meals or cleaning rooms, and an hour later be at the bedside working with a patient’s family and the clinical staff on a bioethics dilemma,” he said. “An hour after that, I could be in the C-Suite discussing how we will create a strategy around community health. I’m a jack of all trades.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., McCruden’s education trends more spiritual than medical. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., a master’s degree in theology from Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union, and master’s and doctorate degrees in bioethics from Loyola University in Chicago.
“My first job in health care was in a cancer hospice while I was finishing college,” he said. “I realized that interacting with persons when they are ill is a great opportunity to manifest God’s love and mercy. After my first graduate degree in theology, I began in ministry as a hospital chaplain and went on to study bioethics and entered the role of mission integration.”
McCruden said while mission integration is a relatively young field in health care, it’s always been a key component of care in the Catholic hospital setting and that the effectiveness of the approach speaks for itself.
As head of bioethics and mission integration at CHI St. Vincent Health System, Patrick McCruden is the keyholder for the Catholic traditions and ideals that are on display with every morning prayer, every comforting consult and every gesture of mercy. He deals daily in the many facets of health care from spiritual care and ethics directly at the bedside, to leadership development and formation and working in the community to promote community health.
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