What is it that keeps you motivated? What keeps your engine running at an optimum rpm? What keeps you going even when all around you is not going well at all? In this post I will open my life to you and let you see what keeps me motivated, positive, and hopeful.
First, I want you to know that I cultivate spirituality deep in my heart and soul. The Bible provides inspiration. Prayer provides a place of confession, forgiveness, direction, assurance, confidence, and peace. Together Bible reading and prayer form a solid foundation for my inner life.
Proverbs 22:29 (NIV) reads, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” There are so many skilled hospice Chaplains that I have learned from and who continue to do their work with excellence. They invested time and information in my life. The least I can do is put that information to use and go several steps farther and gain insight of my own. Giving my best effort, doing a good job, exhibiting confidence and demonstrating my own strengths and abilities are all facets of the beautiful diamond I call, “Excellence in Spiritual Care”. An unknown thinker wrote, “One of the greatest sources of energy is pride in what you are doing.” Every hospice Chaplain should be a student of the profession. Getting into a rut of doing the same thing with each patient is a dangerous place to be. After all, a rut is defined as a grave with both ends kicked out. Make time to read about hospice chaplaincy. Buy yourself a subscription to professional journal such as Plainviews. You will be informed and challenged by what you read. You will grow. And, it must be remembered that soon you and your staff colleagues must do the work of top 10% hospice Chaplains or your hospice might not receive its full re-imbursement. While it is not all on the Chaplains to excel, certainly, the Chaplains should lead the way to excellence.
Let me tell you what your manager is looking for when your annual review comes do. The manager is looking at the big picture of your chaplaincy. The big picture is comprised of many small actions. Together they make up the whole. Such things as attitude, commitment to the hospice philosophy, productivity, documentation excellence, and healthy relationships with staff are some of the matters a manager looks to in completing a yearly evaluation. I am not looking for our Chaplains to be perfect. I am looking for them to be consistently excellent. Our bar is high at Cornerstone. So far, our Chaplains are reaching it a good bit of the time. They are aware of two things: first that I must be a top 10% manager and, second, they must be top 10% Chaplains. While these are daunting goals, they are not out of reach. In fact, as Robert Frost put it, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I may be wrong, but don’t think so, when I say that I believe that many more people are looking to travel an easier road. Therefore, I choose the road less traveled. Yes, it will be harder and more challenging, but the rewards are far greater.
Yesterday, my pastor said to me, “I don’t know how you do it. You work with people with so little hope.” At first glance, that statement has a ring of truth to it. But, when you think of it, our patients have every reason to hope… to hope for reconciliation with a loved one and, perhaps, to God; to tie up the loose ends of their lives in the time that remains; to find forgiveness; to extend forgiveness; to realize that life was, indeed, worth living; to celebrate a life well lived; to bless those who need to know that they were and are loved and appreciated; to affirm the depth of love for a spouse; to review life with a spouse and/or children (adult or younger). Hope lives in hospice.
So, Blessed Chaplain Colleagues, I urge you to give your all in service to your patients and their loved ones. Be motivated, be positive, be strong, and be faithful.