Over the years I have attempted to practice effective strategies and habits. They helped me carry ridiculously high caseloads and at the same time provided me a platform for beneficial pastoral care. Let me list several and perhaps you can add a few of your own:
1. Stay spiritually centered. The work we do demands our best, a clear head, a clean heart, a strong inner person.
2. Keep relationships strong at home. If you leave home and you’re all emotionally in turmoil from an argument with your spouse or children, your day can be doomed. Instead, as much as is possible, keep harmony in your relationships. Find a way to release the turmoil before you see your first patient if something does happen.
3. Organize your work. At Cornerstone Hospice we have a piece of our electronic charting to make out a daily/weekly schedule. Know where you’re going. Caseloads these days are higher than they have ever been. Don’t expect that to change.
4. Document your work. At Cornerstone Hospice we are required to document at the bedside or shortly thereafter. Do not allow your charting to grow stale. I promise you will miss something important.
5. Build relationships of trust with your patients and families. You may be the one to officiate at the funeral and your background with the patient and family will hold you in good stead. The surviving family members will appreciate you for it.
6. Work with the patient to achieve the Goals/Expected Outcomes. Help them to leave this world with as many loose ends tied up as possible.
7. Take time to assist a new Chaplain. Show him/her the ropes. Teach them good habits to practice. Introduce them to your IDT members. Always hold them in high regard among your colleagues.
8. Give a listening ear to IDT members that are going through difficult times. You will endear yourself to the Team and that is something very important.
9. Stay abreast of the chaplaincy world. Learn all you can and share it.
10. Become the go-to expert on matters spiritual and religious on your IDT. Ask your Team Manager for time to teach and train your Team. You will be the beneficiary of the Team’s high regard.
These are 10 highly effective habits. What would you add?