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Singing chaplain helps hospital patients

Being a patient in a hospital isn’t easy. Some are hurting physically and others can struggle with their mental health. But a pastor who works at an Ohio hospital says he’s bringing comfort and solace to patients and staff — with his voice.Rev. Chris Ciampa says going to work means sharing two things he loves: his faith and his music. “I’m just singing,” said Ciampa, who’s served as chaplain at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for the past decade. “It touches people in a way that maybe other ways of communicating with folks don’t.” Ciampa allows patients on various hospital floors to pick what they’d like to hear from a list of more than 180 songs — from hymns to punk rock.”I have seen folks who were just tired and just ready to kind of give up, get a little extra kick in their step from singing a good ol’ Beatles song,” he said. Although Ciampa says he gets some suggestions a chaplain probably shouldn’t sing, he says the most requested tunes he plays are songs of encouragement. “Whether it’s a hymn like ‘Amazing Grace’ or whether it’s ‘Hey Jude,’ don’t make it bad. Make it better,” he said. Aside from the music, Ciampa says his job is about acknowledging that what these patients are going through is hard and “to help life be a little bit better even if it’s only for 45 minutes.””It’s still a little better at that moment,” he said.

Being a patient in a hospital isn’t easy. Some are hurting physically and others can struggle with their mental health.

But a pastor who works at an Ohio hospital says he’s bringing comfort and solace to patients and staff — with his voice.

Rev. Chris Ciampa says going to work means sharing two things he loves: his faith and his music.

“I’m just singing,” said Ciampa, who’s served as chaplain at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for the past decade. “It touches people in a way that maybe other ways of communicating with folks don’t.”

Ciampa allows patients on various hospital floors to pick what they’d like to hear from a list of more than 180 songs — from hymns to punk rock.

“I have seen folks who were just tired and just ready to kind of give up, get a little extra kick in their step from singing a good ol’ Beatles song,” he said.

Although Ciampa says he gets some suggestions a chaplain probably shouldn’t sing, he says the most requested tunes he plays are songs of encouragement.

“Whether it’s a hymn like ‘Amazing Grace’ or whether it’s ‘Hey Jude,’ don’t make it bad. Make it better,” he said.

Aside from the music, Ciampa says his job is about acknowledging that what these patients are going through is hard and “to help life be a little bit better even if it’s only for 45 minutes.”

“It’s still a little better at that moment,” he said.

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