All Courses Forums Course Discussion Forums Strategic Chaplaincy Strategic Chaplaincy seminar / week 1 discussion Reply To: Strategic Chaplaincy seminar / week 1 discussion


Rick Underwood

Dear Strategic Thinking, Feeling Friends,

We are off to a great start with you all honestly sharing your current situation and feelings about those situations.  Asking honest questions is the best way for all of us to learn and grow.

I would like to add a couple of thoughts to the questions and discussion so far.  We all know that influence comes through relationships.  Befriending the professional caregivers, especially those who have some power in the system is extremely important in getting some say at the leadership table.  If we are just befriending them to get some favour then I would call that manipulation, but if we have a genuine interest in getting to know them and supporting them in their challenges then I call those good human relations or good pastoral care.  As a 70-year-old, some of the friendships I made with physicians, nurses and administrators are still viable and meaningful today, even though most are retired. In the formative days, I would seek them out to eat lunch or breakfast within the cafeteria, take initiative toward them if I heard about a struggle they were facing, send them to thank you notes or notes of encouragement.  We were recently talking about how to document staff support in my PRN chaplain position.  Documentation is extremely important as well, but more about that in a moment.  I said, what about sitting with a family of a dying patient for hours when as much support is given to the medical team as to the family?  Is that documented as I contact or several contact hours?  Of course, it is many contact hours.

Several have already mentioned documentation.  That is a headache and it may seem like it is a waste of time. However, hard data can speak volumes about the value of spiritual care.

Week after next, we will have a live interview with Rabbi Nadia Siritsky, VP of Mission Advance at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville.  She is also head of the spiritual care team.  When she arrived, she conducted a research project in the ER.  The results were astounding as it documented improved staff satisfaction, improved patient and family satisfaction and other variables she can talk about.

Another research project that was conducted by the Spiritual Care team at Signature Healthcare, national long term care, for-profit system documented a number of important facts that speaks to the bottom line.

As we have all heard, hard data derived from empirical research speaks the language of administrators.

For now, finally, asking leadership, what can I help with that will make your job easier and sharing articles that are pertinent, base practice based are great ways to get their attention.

We have several others who I hope will join the discussion very soon.