How does a Chaplain attain balance between work and life? To answer this question we need to review expectations of work so we can meet the expectations of life.
A Chaplain at Cornerstone Hospice is expected to visit 4 patients per day, attend IDT meetings, Care Plan meetings (facility Chaplains), attend monthly Chaplain Meetings, and provide support for the Team. The Care Plan meetings come on a PRN basis, though they are scheduled. The responsibilities are heavy for sure. So, how does a Chaplain complete his/her work to go home at 4:30PM?
- Organize your work. Plan out who you will visit for the 2 weeks. It is accepted that this may or may not happen as you plan, but it is a structure.
- Use Scheduler to put your planned visits on a certain dates. Also, put your meetings on your Scheduler. That way you will know when you can visit your caseload. In fact, it is best practice to put your IDT and other firm meetings on your Scheduler first, and then add your visits.
- At your point of service (patient’s home, facility, hospital, or wherever you completed your visit) complete your documentation. If you can’t do the documentation in the patient’s home, do it as soon after the visit as possible, but do NOT leave it for after work hours. That is not fair to your family. When your day is over, you should have all documentation completed and your computer synched.
- Now, go home! Enjoy your family.
- What do you do about funerals/memorial services? Remember, you are the patient’s/family’s Chaplain, not their Pastor. Urge them to have the service on a week day if at all possible because you reserve your weekend for recuperation. In our work, you MUST guard your down time. Do NOT schedule a funeral/memorial service on the weekend. If you are on call during a week and schedule a funeral/memorial service on that weekend, you are risking burnout. You have nothing to prove to your Manager or anyone else by over-committing yourself. That you are a hospice Chaplain is proof enough that you are hard-working and committed. There is no requirement for you to do a funeral/memorial service on a week-end.
- If you are asked to do training for another discipline on a weekend, simply share that your availability for work is Monday-Friday and you are not available on the weekends.
- Here is how I view my work/life balance: Monday-Friday: Work Days; Saturday: Queen’s Day (for my wife); Sunday: King’s Day (for my Lord). Protect those weekends!
- Only YOU can set boundaries for your life. I urge you to do it consistently.