SVMC Chaplaincy Department Performs Blessing of the Hands on Hospital Floors

In her decades-long career at Sierra View Medical Center, Nancy Castaneda found herself more and more drawn to caring for patients not only from a clinical standpoint but also through emotional and spiritual support. After a successful career as a Registered Nurse, she is now the chaplain coordinator at SVMC. When the opportunity arose to walk the hospital floors with Pastor Mike Tremble today to perform a Blessing of the Hands Ceremony, Nancy jumped at the chance. “We encourage one another,” she says, “I am an encourager, that’s my heart.”

The Blessing of the Hands Ceremony at SVMC happened between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and served as a way to affirm and empower health care workers by acknowledging their meaningful role in patient care throughout the care continuum. All hospital employees, including nurses, physicians and support staff, were welcome to join. When workers asked to be blessed, Nancy and Mike were there to deliver kind words of encouragement and leave behind a heartfelt pocket-sized reminder that each and every life is valuable and cared for.

Floor after floor, employees from nursing and support departments welcomed Mike and Nancy with open arms. The ICU department was no exception. Busy nurses stopped to request that Mike or Nancy bless their healing hands. For Brandy Irwin, Director of Acute Care & Nursing Excellence and Med/Surg, the visit, she says, “was the kind of gesture, that helps us reflect and remember that we’re not in control of everything. We have higher beings that are helping us out. We just have to trust that we have the right knowledge, the right strength, the right capabilities to help the healing.”

For Nancy, despite no longer being at the bedside, the frustration and anxiety she sees on the hospital floors are things she identifies with as a former caregiver. But so is the extraordinary commitment to caring for others and providing healing. She and Pastor Mike encourage employees and the community to keep hope alive. “Hope that while there may not be a radical turnaround, maybe it’s the light at the end of the tunnel that we can see,” says Pastor Mike. “What we need to remember is that a lot of our ministry in life is easier. But it’s times like these where this is what we’re here for.”

The SVMC Chaplaincy team continues offering patients spiritual support and strives to heal the caring hands that are doing the best they can during this pandemic.