Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 ways to find acceptance and credibility…

Acceptance and credibility are two aspects of chaplaincy that most Chaplains desire. Our roles are unique as is our calling. These separate us from the rest of the IDT. Having served as a Pastor for 25 years I can attest to the fact that a minister is viewed differently than, say, an engineer or pilot or teacher or any other profession. Yet, we seek acceptance without compromising our belief system. We also desire credibility based upon our professional chaplaincy. We want our observations about patients to have as much credence as any other discipline on the team. With this as a backdrop for today’s discussion, here are 5 ways for the Chaplain to find acceptance and credibility: 1. When you speak use facts, not opinion. When the IDT is meeting and you notice some aspect of the patient discussion is missing or needs clarification, be the one to bring the matter to the group by using fact or clear-cut observation. This action on your part will benefit not only the IDT, but you will be the benefactor of respect. 2. Do not isolate yourself from the IDT. It is an easy thing to do and excuse your isolation based on your ‘busy’-ness. Developing relationships with your IDT is fundamental. You cannot be viewed as being aloof. To not engage with your IDT is disastrous to winning their confidence. Take time to talk with your colleagues and express interest in their lives. 3. When parties are held or breakfasts are planned be one of the first to volunteer your time, your food, or whatever is requested. Your team will take note. Being part of the rest of the IDT will go a long way to your acceptance. 4. There will be those occasions when you will need to do a joint visit with a Team Nurse, Social Worker, Aide, Volunteer Specialist, or Bereavement Counselor. They will be watching you and listening to you to get to know your style of engaging with the patient and/or family. I am assuming you are a highly trained Chaplain who will use this opportunity to model how a professional Chaplain does his/her work with excellence. 5. When there is a tragedy on the IDT, be sure to express compassion to your colleague. On the IDT there will be sad moments when a colleague will lose a loved one to death, or a Team member will go through a divorce, or a son or daughter will end up in some type of trouble. Your presence with a non-judgmental presence and heart of compassion will go a long way to win the friendship and respect of that Team member and the entirety of the Team. Earning acceptance and credibility takes time and cannot be rushed. Don’t try to rush it! Bless you Chaplain Colleagues, yours is a sacred work. Be the person you are to those of your Team.

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