All Courses Forums Course Discussion Forums Strategic Chaplaincy Week 2 / Strategic Chaplaincy / Interview w/ Larry Gray

20 replies, 6 voices Last updated by Rose McKeown 2 years, 7 months ago
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    • #4381

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      We are fortunate to have Larry Gray, President of Louisville Baptist Healthcare as our guest tomorrow. If you can, join us at 3 PM EST to hear about Larry’s journey from chaplain to hospital administrator and principles and strategies for he learned about leadership along the way.  After his presentation, you will have a chance to ask questions and dialogue with Larry.

      Below is the link to the live presentation. Just click on the link and follow the instructions for joining the presentation. If you can’t join us, the link for the recording will be posted for review and discussion.

      https://oates.adobeconnect.com/r8kpzvqto8u1/

    • #4382

      Rose McKeown
      Member
      @rmckeown

      Rick, I am so sorry I missed this! I had forgotten that you are East coast time and we are Central time! I will listen to the recording!

    • #4385

      Rose McKeown
      Member
      @rmckeown

      How do we access the recording of Larry Gray?

    • #4392

      Joy Freeman
      Participant
      @jfreeman

      I found this conversation very helpful in bringing to light how the skills we use at the bedside really do translate to leadership and conversations with our leadership.  I had not really put the two together and really it is rather empowering to think I am already somewhat equipped.

      I appreciated his focus on asking and discovering what it looks like to support the organization at the organizational level, particularly the idea about how we help the organization frame and re-frame organizational conversations.  I felt a light go on when I realized how often I am helping patients and families frame and re-frame conversations. It makes so much sense to take the person skill to a living organization.

      I greatly appreciated his encouragement of us to use our ability and skills in creatively building and creating hope in the organization.  This resonated with me, because where I am our mission statement actually is “We create hope and healing to every life we touch.” Where I am at, this is a perfect opening for our department to become stronger participants in the conversation.

      The last thing that I really connected with was the idea of using ritual and staff support opportunities creatively to help teach the organization about what we as spiritual care providers can bring to the organization as a whole and not just have us pigeon holed to bedside pt care.

      Such a very helpful conversation for me.

      Joy

    • #4393

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      Joy,

      Thank you for your observations and takeaways from Larry Gray’s interview.  I would love to hear some of your thinking about how you might use your bedside skills to address an issue or issues in your organization. Your mission statement is perfect for that.

      For all other, we have posted two links in the course page. The first is the interview with Larry Gray. And the second is a presentation by a couple of leaders at a national for-profit long term care system talking about an empirical research project that affirms the value of spiritual care in the system.

      Please watch both and share your observations, thoughts, and questions.

      Rick

    • #4394

      Joy Freeman
      Participant
      @jfreeman

      Rick,

      I really am a worker bee, not privy to a lot of the leadership conversations. So I’m not sure I can think of a specific organizational issue at hand that I could bring up. But one issue that is more directly related to our department that we are engaging currently is the ever dreaded “do you want to see a chaplain” question on our nursing assessment.  We are wanting to get that changed – to do so means to engage nursing leadership to understand why that question does not work. I understand the language of nursing is evidence based practices (especially as a magnet hospital).  I can help our department translate our innate understanding of  why this is an awful question, by knowing the research that has come out that shows how people do not understand generally what chaplains do and be able to speak the language of what are best practices in engaging a spiritual screening.  Being able to do this utilizes my ability to be a translator and speak spiritual taxonomy as well as understand the medical/evidence/show me language of nursing.  I could then proceed to help get buy in by drawing in a reminder of our mission, and begin to utilize my ability to ask reflective questions of leadership to help them come to their own understanding of what wholistic healing is and why spiritual care is important to that hope and healing that our mission states. My bedside skills of understanding creating a shift in thinking is a process that often takes more than one conversation, being able to be patient with the organizational system’s process of coming along side my thinking and being able to work the process and trust that working the process will eventually create the outcome desired is critical I think to this process.

       

      Joy

       

       

       

      • #4417

        Joy, I appreciate you raising the very specific issue of the dreaded question “Do you want a chaplain to visit” as an example of participating in the larger milieu of the organization. I think that is a fantastic example, as it points directly to the issue of how spiritual care is integrated with other disciplines in the hospital, as well as to the “professionalization” of our role. I believe that question harkens back to the day when elderly, retired clergy volunteered in hospitals and were not part of the professional staff. When that is the case, as it still is in many places, sadly, care receivers do need to be asked permission before someone like that can come offer care. But for professional employed chaplains, asking that question dilutes the role of both the nurse and the chaplain. I am fortunate that I was able to eliminate that question a number of years ago now, although it still rears its head occasionally with staff who have not been trained effectively. I wish you every success in trading out that question for some true screening questions that can help you focus your ministry in the areas of greatest need. Do you have research already in hand to support you in this endeavor?

        (BTW, if you haven’t seen my other posts, I am a latecomer to this group and apologize for that. I am Melanie Childers, from Boone, NC)

    • #4395

      brandeaton
      Participant
      @brandeaton

      I just viewed the recorded session and found Larry’s presentation very engaging.  I reflected upon my own interaction with administration where I am, my relationship with our executive director, and with staff members throughout the community.  I realized that I have some tools to better interpret the work of Pastoral Services Department here to everyone, but I haven’t been making full use of those–and I need to!  We have very nice brochure that I produced a year ago that needs to be better disseminated with new residents and short-term PT clients in our skilled nursing area especially.  There are also organs of print and video communication available to me that I should be using to interpret what spiritual care is really about.  Like so many of us, chaplains here are often seen as folks who “say a prayer and light a candle,” when there is so much more that we can, and do, do.

      I especially appreciated Larry’s counsel to become familiar with the organizational leadership literature that’s been published in the last five to eight years, and understand how our spiritual care language can be translated into the mainstream of organizational leadership concerns.  As he mentioned, that literature is often showing concern for areas of the human spirit that pastoral care folks in CPE and applied theology were using forty and more years ago.  There are real points of contact where we can begin to demonstrate that we have a serious role to play as influencers of organizational culture and change.

    • #4396

      Joy Freeman
      Participant
      @jfreeman

      Brand,

      Your reflection resonates with me.  Even after being here 16 years, I find I am still having to help expand peoples understanding of all the things chaplains provide.  It seems that education is a never ending constant.

       

      Joy

    • #4398

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Things have been hectic for me the past couple of days.  I wanted to post something to let you know I am still with you.

      Joy, like you I appreciated Larry connecting what we as Chaplains do at the beside with leadership and how we can have those conversations.   Though I did not look at it in this way, it make sense to me especially when the organization is seen as living entity.  As I reflect on my interactions with the senior leadership and leadership teams I see that I have been in the role as described.  My pastoral heart was working in spite of me.  I learn more and more I need to be who I am and use the gifts God has given me and things work.

      Of the two lay offs I have experienced the first was carried out as Larry put forth.  At that time we were not for profit and people were talked to individually and respectfully.  The second time happened under the corporate hammer and one day people were there the next they were not.  I spent most of the days following being present on the floor and available to support those who remained.  People were not given the opportunity to say good by to people they worked with some for many years.  Listening to people express their grief was important.

      I appreciate Larry’s discussion of Chaplains helping organizations maintain a sense of curiosity and imagination to build hope and hopefulness about the possibility of a different future and actually helping frame that future.  With staff I help them remember that though they think they cannot make a difference in the organizational structure, they do make a difference in the lives of the people they care for, which in the big picture,  makes a difference in the organization.

      I appreciate how Larry connected the readings form last week to the work we do as Chaplains.  He helped me see more clearly that what we do as Chaplains helps develop complexity thinking for sustainability leadership.

    • #4399

      Joy Freeman
      Participant
      @jfreeman

      Michael,

      Thank you for what you said about the individual differences made by staff do influence the big picture and make a difference in the organization.  It is encouraging to me as I see myself very much a “worker bee” chaplain that is not directly connected to the administrative levels that my director is.

       

      Joy

    • #4400

      Rose McKeown
      Member
      @rmckeown

      Week 2 / Strategic Chaplaincy / Interview w/ Larry Gray

      I also found this interview to be very engaging. I’m sorry that I was not part of the live presentation. I forgot about the time change!
      Larry is certainly an example of a life-long learner! I appreciated his sharing his background with us and am amazed at all the experience he has had and how he continues to help others in their growth.
      I hadn’t thought about how I influenced the culture of the organization but I realize that we Sisters have done that all along as we sponsored the hospital for 100 years. As a Catholic healthcare system, just like the Baptist Health System Larry was part of, it was a very welcoming environment to practice the values of compassion and care as a healthcare system. As pastoral care director, I was also on the Mission Effectiveness team and took part in new employee orientation sharing the history of the hospital and the mission of the hospital. Employees had a sense that all their work had a pastoral care dimension to it.
      But then change came as we Sisters were no longer able to sponsor the hospital for a variety of reasons. We merged with Memorial Health System out of Springfield, Il. It was a good match as they at one time had been a Lutheran hospital. They very much respected the legacy of the Sisters and wished to carry it on and grow to the next phase of the hospital’s history.
      There were just two of us Sisters left in the hospital. How could we provide care for this new organization as well as for the individuals in it? Here, Larry’s explanation of having a ‘growth mindset’ vs. a ‘scarcity mindset’ comes to play. As many of the employees and town folks were lamenting the change, grieving the loss, we two Sisters had the mission to help staff and town to see the opportunities and possibilities that could be because of this change. The hospital has grown leaps and bounds in the 12 years that it has been part of Memorial Health System-from having a very good EAP program for staff, a very good retirement and savings plan and improved salaries, improved care for patients with improved technology etc. etc. Using the “growth mindset” we continue to grow and flourish. In a year from now, we will move into a new hospital building with the newest technologies in patient care.
      There will be more organizational grief when the present day building is torn down and pastoral care will be involved in ritualizing that grief yet also celebrating the hopeful future that awaits us. Changes we’ve had: move to category of a Critical Access Hospital, no more maternity unit, change of sponsorship, removal of some of the religious articles and signs, fewer Sisters and now a new building and a tearing down of the old.
      Chaplains also make daily rounds with staff and patients. We do not have ‘chaplaincy by referral” at the hospital. We do in hospice and it is something I am not in agreement with. At the hospital every new patient is visited and follow-up visits are made each day.
      We have a prayer box by chapel and people place their prayer requests there and often a phone number for pastoral care staff to respond. We have the blessing of hands during hospital week. All this helps to influence the culture of the organizational.
      We are blessed with a System leadership who very much have that ‘emotional intelligence’ that Larry spoke of . They have an ‘open-door’ policy, especially here at our hospital. Our system leaders CONNECT with employees through workplace. They share their part and employees can ask questions which are responded to in a timely manner.
      Our CEO will often come to me as Sister and chaplain asking for input and prayer support.

    • #4401

      Joy Freeman
      Participant
      @jfreeman

      Rose,

      Some where, I can’t find where – you asked me what kind of reflective questions I would ask.  A lot of it would be determined by the conversation, but I would think of asking questions like – How would you define hope?  How do we provide Hope here at the hospital? How does our provision of hope help our patient find healing?  I would also ask them what they think of first when they hear the word chaplain.  I would ask them to reflect on what our patients and families might think of when they hear the word chaplain. Basically build the conversation get them thinking about the education pieces that we are constantly trying to get administration to understand.  But I would want to get them to find and create their own connections with my help rather than my “preaching” at them.

       

      Joy

      • #4418

        I’m not sure of the background context, Joy, but I love these questions! I have recently started monthly night shift rounding on staff, to connect with them, increase our department’s visibility, and provide support. These are great conversation starters for those rounds! Thank you!

      • #4421

        Joy Freeman
        Participant
        @jfreeman

        Thank you Melanie,

        Part of the context was in connection to an earlier post about how I might go about helping get the question “Do you want to see a chaplain changed” and not only using the argument of evidence based practices – but also help staff gain a better emotional connection and understanding of why it does not work and connect the better practices to our mission statement of providing hope and healing to every life we touch.  Any time I can bring the CPE learnings of reflection – action – reflection as a way of improving self awareness I will because I think that helps the staff help me in doing better spiritual screening and providing better referrals.

        Joy

    • #4416

      Hi all, I too very much appreciated hearing from Larry Gray and learning from his story moving from chaplain to administrator. His translation of bedside skills to administrative/leadership skills were helpful. I would like to hear more, as I feel like this is an area rich for research and could help our profession tremendously, as many of us do consider ourselves to be “worker bees” and may even hold back our natural leadership skills in order to “stay in our role” or maintain “scope of practice.”

      I do not work in a religious institution, though our healthcare system is not-for-profit. It is a small institution, and an independent one, not connected to any large conglomerate. In that sense, I am very fortunate, because I do know all the administrators and am on a first-name basis with them. I have spent time with nearly all the VPs, and with our president, one-on-one. I am seen not only as the “religious” representative (though that is an important part of my persona), but also–for better or worse–as the moral compass for the organization, the one who reminds the rest of the organization about the heart of what we do. I do not hesitate to speak up when I see situations in our organization that have a justice component to them. I have also been fortunate to be able to carve out a larger role for myself that allows me to amplify my voice on our leadership team–ethics committee chair, palliative care coordinator, patient rights advocate, health protections administrator for the research department, diversity trainer, and organ donation coordinator. My license in professional counseling also buys me a seat on the behavioral health team (and a backup counselor in our EAP department). In a larger institution a lot of these roles may be full time jobs. But for me, they allow me to expand and cultivate my leadership skills beyond what I would do as only the director of pastoral care. But they also arise out of that one pivotal role. And I will say that those roles didn’t just fall in my lap. I set goals every year and took the initiative with my VP to fill gaps where I saw them and to offer potential solutions. That has worked well for me in this location.

      The areas where I still continue to struggle are in what Larry noted as focusing on organizational leadership and ways to speak the language of organizational leadership. One of the ways I am beginning to enter that arena is through research. In the last few years I have become much more aware of the impact of rigorous research studies to support ideas and programs, and how that language speaks to administrators. I need to (A) use existing research more in my conversations with administrators, and (B) seriously explore ways of conducting or participating in research that supports the work of my department.

    • #4423

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Rose, I feel your pain through a merger.  We were a not for profit county hospital before we were bought by the for profit.  There was a lot to be gained, but also there was loss.  The loss was similar to what you experienced with having a seat at the table to not.  Though our new CEO is more in tune with what Chaplains do than our previous one and has called on me in that capacity on various occasions, getting another chaplain will not happen, at least in my time.  I continue to have an influence as I continue patient care and provided support for people on all levels at the hospital.  People have told me they appreciate the human element I bring to discussions.  I believe at some level this gets translated into decisions that are made.

      Mike

      • #4446

        Rose McKeown
        Member
        @rmckeown

        Thanks Mike! yes, there is pain and grief with the merger but there is also even more gratitude. We were non-profit and we merged with a non-profit healthcare system whose CEO very much appreciates the work of chaplains as does our CEO here at the smaller hospital. Yet, ‘getting another chaplain will not happen, at least in my time” is probably true for me. There’s the feeling, on the part of some but not all, that area clergy meet the needs of the patients from their Churches who are in the hospital. If a person has no religion, than a chaplain visit probably wouldn’t be that important to them either. We have a lot of education to do!!!

    • #4424

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Well said Joy.  We do not want to get preachy.

      Mike

    • #4425

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Joy and Melanie, I appreciate the discussion on the question “Do you want to see the Chaplain?”  I did not consider it as you have discussed.  My experience has been from nurses who have been with a person who was experiencing distress.  Because the nurse did not have the time (or expertise) to spend with the person s/he would offer my services.  The question was not a rote question but grew out of the relationship s/he had with the person.  Nurses do alert me to people who they feel would benefit for my visit whether they as or not.  I have volunteers who visit the new admits in the hospital.  They do ask the question and that helps me triage and focus on people I visit, since I do not have the ability to see everyone.

      Mike

    • #4428

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Melanie, I agree with you, I do not want to be an administrator.  I am the director of my department of which I am the only one so, I am the director of myself.  There is not much administrative responsibility in that.  My experience with administrators is that I do not try to understand them, but I help them understand Chaplains.  I do this by showing them and talking to them about what I do.  I do talk with them about statistics and studies.  This is what they are about but, I focus on what I do and the impact that makes in this place.  With health care the way it is today, unfortunately they need to be on the business side.  That is what they are educated for.  I support them in any way I can.

      Mike

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