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VA Medical Center welcomes its first woman chaplain



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake are about to have a new chaplain, and she's a first: a woman who is both a nurse and someone trained to meet their spiritual needs.

"Life's balance is found in harmony between body and soul," wrote Jeanette Lambert.

Lambert is the first female chaplain who is also a nurse at the VA Medical Center, serving those, she says, who have served us.

"As chaplains, we probably see ourselves not as the healer as much as we are the conduit for healing. We bring up the spiritual. We bring up belief and purpose and meaning," Lambert said.

VA Medical Center welcomes its first woman chaplain

Every chaplain belongs to a particular faith. Lambert is a Latter-day Saint, but reaches out in a nondenominational way. She also counsels veterans who suffer with poor mental health.

"She is pioneering new ground. She's not only a female chaplain, which in the LDS tradition is sort of new, but she is a nurse and a psychiatric nurse at that. She's been paving a new trail," said Mark Allison, supervising chaplain at the VA Med Center.

For Lambert, what is most satisfying is to be able to expand her care and now connect spiritually to her patients.

"There is great power in the spiritual and in God's ability to heal," she said.

Lambert hopes to help patients find the connection between mind, body and spirit. She is one of 20 new chaplains who will graduate Thursday.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

Carole Mikita

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