Office Hours Air: Bruce Feldstein on death and chaplaincy

Jan. 18, 2024, 11:32 p.m.

Office Hours Air, created and hosted by Noah Sveiven, features guests in conversation about their work and the experiences in their lives that drew them to that work. Sveiven hopes the program will be of interest to other undergraduates discerning their callings, as well as anyone else wanting to try out new ways of thinking. Office Hours Air is produced weekly and available online on all major podcast platforms. A one-hour version of each show is also broadcast in the Bay Area on KZSU Stanford Radio 90.1 FM, Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

After working as an emergency medicine physician for 19 years, including at Stanford, Bruce Feldstein suffered an injury that made it impossible for him to continue. With the encouragement of other medical professionals, he began to consider, and then pursue, chaplaincy. Two decades later, Feldstein has served as a hospital chaplain longer than he worked as a physician.

In this interview, conducted a few weeks before his 70th birthday, Feldstein discusses spiritual care in the hospital setting and reflects on his own mortality. He also describes his transition from physician to spiritual care provider and shares stories from the bedsides of patients past and present.

Feldstein’s sense of awe, which he describes throughout the show, is rooted in his daily experience accompanying people in intense moments of pain, beauty and meaning. In his work as a chaplain, Feldstein witnesses the full range of human life on a daily basis: from the first breaths of newborns to the final words of the dying.

Sveiven is a first year undergraduate student with interests in ethics, law, politics, history, and environmental science. He is from Southern California.

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