Spiritual Care Week: Nurturing Healing through Compassion

The third week in October marks National Spiritual Care Week, a time when Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) takes a moment to reflect on the crucial role played by its Chaplaincy Department. The spiritual care provided by these dedicated individuals extends beyond patients, encompassing families and staff, fostering a holistic approach to well-being.

Sierra View Medical Center is privileged to have a compassionate chaplaincy team made up of James Rodgers, Juan Ayala, James Newman, and Colleen Wilson, who oversees the department. Their dedication to providing emotional and spiritual support is instrumental in creating a healing environment within Sierra View Medical Center.

Colleen Wilson, Human Resources Manager, attests to the invaluable contribution of the Chaplaincy Staff: "The Chaplaincy Staff at SVMC contribute to the healing environment through their ministry of emotional and spiritual support to not only patients, but to their visiting friends and families and also to our staff and Physicians. Their commitment to offering compassion and offering a caring spirit to those in need or saying a baby blessing over a newborn is a tremendous asset to our healing environment. We’re privileged to have each of the Chaplaincy Assistants on our team.”

The Faces of Compassion

With over 50 years in ministry and six and a half years at SVMC, Chaplain Jim Rodgers brings a wealth of experience to the Chaplaincy Department. Formerly a police chaplain, his journey to SVMC started when he heard about an opening from someone within the Sierra View community. Jim's passion for his work is evident as he describes it as something he loves to do. His favorite aspects of being a chaplain at SVMC include feeling supported by management and the joy of meeting and conversing with people. "I enjoy being a part of creating things, and the visitation of patients is something I just love to do," says Jim.

Chaplain Juan Ayala, with over 30 years in ministry and a decade at SVMC, sees his work as a calling. Reflecting on his start at Sierra View, Juan shares, "I asked the Lord, 'Lord, what do you want me to do, go to the professional side or do you want me to continue your work?'" His favorite part of SVMC lies in the sense of community and mutual support among staff, patients, and their families. Juan sees his experience at SVMC as divine guidance, "I believe that his experience is to help me understand part of my life and why God sent me here."

With more than 40 years in ministry, Chaplain Jim Newman joined SVMC's Chaplaincy Department a year and a half ago. Having been a part-time pastor in Exeter, Jim was drawn to SVMC through the recommendation of Jim Rodgers. His fondness for SVMC is evident as he expresses, "It's a great hospital, and I love the staff and the concern for the patients." Jim finds joy in the baby blessings, evoking precious memories of his own family, and the heartfelt interactions with patients and their families. "It's been so encouraging to see how families respond and see that they appreciate us being there", said Jim.

Programs and Services Offered

The Chaplaincy Department at Sierra View offers a range of programs designed to meet the diverse spiritual needs of the community. Baby Blessings and No One Dies Alone (NODA) are among the initiatives aimed at providing comfort and solace during significant life moments.

The Chaplains extend their services to patients and families through activities such as prayer requests, response to code blue and rapid response situations, and general spiritual visitations involving reading spiritual texts or engaging in comforting conversations. Beyond the hospital walls, the chaplains at SVMC coordinate with spiritual care volunteers and collaborate with local ministries, responding to patient requests for diverse forms of spiritual support.

Confidential support and prayer are also offered to staff, acknowledging the emotional toll that healthcare work can take. As part of their commitment to staff well-being, the chaplains host "The Gathering in the Chapel" and “The Service” weekly, providing an opportunity for reflection and support. Additionally, the chaplains manage a food pantry for staff, recognizing the importance of nourishment in sustaining their well-being. In times of loss, the chaplains extend their services to honor employees who have passed away, ensuring a compassionate and respectful farewell.

A Ministry of Healing

The Sierra View Medical Center's Chaplaincy Department stands as a beacon of support, providing solace, compassion, and spiritual guidance to all. Their dedication to the well-being of patients, families, and staff exemplifies the hospital's commitment to holistic healing. As they continue their mission, the chaplains at SVMC play a vital role in nurturing not just physical health but the spiritual and emotional well-being of everyone they encounter.