Staying Organized as a Chaplain

By Dr. Nancy Penton
SHC of Buckhead

As chaplains we have relational responsibilities and assigned tasks we are expected to complete. Some of us lean towards the relational side while some of us tend to focus on the tasks involved with our ministry responsibilities. If you are strong on relationships and need some assistance with task-organization, this article is for you. If you are strong on tasks, and very organized, we would appreciate your suggestions to add to this discussion about staying organized as a chaplain. In our opportunities for balance and growth we can pray for one another and ask God to help us.
Consider some of these lessons from the journey so far:

1. Arrive early and plan extra commute time to not be rushed.
2. Find a way that works best to keep up with files such as using manila folders and computer folders to sort and keep up with documents.
3. Employ “to do” lists such as hand-written daily, weekly, and monthly “to do” lists.
4. Practice and apply rhythms for the work tasks.

    Daily Rhythms:

    Turn on Computer 1. Email: Scan inbox, read and reply to important, delete junk, unsubscribe to unhelpful mailing lists.
    2. Print Census Board Report: Use it to make patient/resident rounds and write notes.
    3. Electronic Medical Records: Chart every day, at least a couple of times a day [lunch and late afternoon] before leaving the facility.
    4. Spend time preparing devotionals: for Management Team, for Bible Study, for Stakeholders.
    5. Check Calendar for meetings: Care Plans, Full Life Conference schedule.
    6. Perform Room Rounds to check assigned rooms for survey readiness.
    7. Visit each Nursing Unit and ask Studer Questions: Examples: Do you have the supplies you need to do your job? Who needs to be recognized for doing something good?
    8. Participate in Management Team Stand-Up Meeting.
    9. Spend the day visiting, praying, assisting, encouraging, charting, and other duties as assigned.
    10. Leave desk/office the way it will be pleasant to find it in the morning.

      Weekly Rhythms:

      S-Tracker Weekly Reports:
      1.Gather and collate data, print report from EMR, enter statistics in S-Tracker on the same day each week. [If Friday tends to be too busy, enter it on Thursday. Be consistent.]
      2. Check on patients/residents in hospital.
      3. Participate in New Stakeholder Orientation introducing Spirituality Department and providing iCARE overview.
      4. Assist stakeholders with Compassion Fund knowledge of contributions and applications.
      5. Send sympathy cards or grief packages.
      6. Attend funerals as needed.
      7. Order necessary supplies.

        Monthly Rhythms:

        Focus on Sacred Six Value of the Month:
        1a. Post monthly Sacred Six posters around the facility.
        1b. Emphasize Sacred Six of the Month in Team Meetings and Town Hall Meetings.

        2. Quality of Life Calendar:
        a. Work on Spirituality Calendar for next month and submit to QOL.
        b. Write Chaplain Message for QOL Newsletter and Chaplain Corner on Facility Website. Upload message to website.

        3. Request Status Change Report from Medical Records for discharges. Look for those who have been marked “Deceased” and ensure that grief packages/sympathy cards/phone calls were made to bereaved families.
        4. Attend monthly Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement meetings. Provide Chaplain QA Report.

          Other Rhythms:

          1. Plan for Corporate Events: Spring Break Day, Reflect N Us, Senior Olympics, Hall of Fame, Facility Advisory Board Meetings.
          2. Schedule periodic facility Memorial Services.
          3. Arrange for Time Off for vacations or staycations.

          Be encouraged. Life is not as organized as we plan for it to be. When a crisis happens, or our assistance is needed, we need to be interruptible. We have both relational and task responsibilities in the ministries God has entrusted into our lives. We serve as we are gifted and we learn to grow in our areas of opportunity.