Working in health care can be equal parts challenging and rewarding; no two days are ever alike. Regardless of your level or position the pressure is always on to provide the best service you can, often in difficult situations where people lives can be at stake.
Back in July 2018, DHU Health Care forged a partnership with Derby Chaplaincy Services; a free and independent pastoral service that offers all of their staff the ability to access support from a fully trained volunteer work-place chaplain.
Since the roll out began, four chaplains (Shirley Wormsley, Graham Hinds, David Holmes and Carole Dysart) have been made available to attend any of the company’s main sites or outlying sites by arrangement with individuals. The inclusive chaplaincy service aims to offer support to colleagues, who can be of any faith or no faith, regardless of their needs.
Carole Dysart, a Nurse Advisor for NHS 111 and a volunteer chaplain for DHU, explained the needs that might arise from working in health care environment: “As employees, we not only have things happening in our lives but also are dealing with the complex calls and often difficult situations in our job roles.”
But why choose workplace chaplains and what are the benefits?
David W Miller, a professor at Princeton University, conducted a recent that found that workplace chaplains “offer a unique kind of care for employees’ otherwise unmet in other benefit programs, and appears to contribute positively to organizational commitment, employee well-being, reduced operational costs, reduced turnover/increased retention, and an overall positive, welcoming organizational culture.”
This is very much in keeping with what CEO Stephen Bateman said when the service began: “The service is fully endorsed by the executive management team and we are privileged to have this additional support service for our colleagues when they need it. Chaplains will also be based from main sites at regular intervals for more informal access to the service.”
In a most recent staff survey over 85% agreed that DHU take positive action on health and well-being, however workplace pressure was a high contributor to well-being. Feedback from this survey has led the company to implement several new initiatives to improve well-being including a psychotherapy service, Health & well-being workshops and the Workplace Chaplaincy scheme.
Since the Chaplains started Carole Dysart has had a positive response from colleagues throughout the DHU, she said: “I have had many confidential conversations with people working at Ashgate manor. I hope that this has enabled them, by sharing, to have a better day and feel better about whatever they have discussed with me.”
“My aim is to make people feel comfortable talking to me, or David the other chaplain. We are good listeners and I do make good lemon cake to share as well! If employees feel they would benefit from a conversation, long or short, we can negotiate the best time for this.”