Celebrating Our Chaplains: Janet Boice

Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

Janet Boice, Chaplain at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital
In honor of Pastoral Care Week, we asked our Chaplains to share their experiences serving the spiritual needs of our patients and employees. Janet Boice, Chaplain at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, provides insight into her 18 years of service, as our first in our three part series.

I have been so blessed to work as a certified chaplain at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital for 18 years. I work with the best staff ever! I also had the opportunity to work at Jewish Hospital for 4 years on Fridays. Chaplains have a unique insight into what happens on many levels in the hospital on a daily basis.

We work with staff, patients, families and leadership. We have a rare opportunity to see how all the pieces fit together to create patient care. We are witnesses to the dedication and professional care that our staff gives. We are available to staff for anything that they need. Many times staff face challenging times at home and make it very difficult to work. Also, staff have very difficult jobs. They work with vulnerable people and sometimes suffer from compassion fatigue. We can debrief and offer support or recommendations. Many staff members have told me that they would not have made it through their shift without debriefing. What an honor!

We also are privy to patient stories, hopes and fears. We accept people where they are and encourage them to persevere and help them find hope in their lives.

There is a depth to patient care. We can work between, patients, families and staff and help provide clarity and answers that sometimes patients are afraid to voice. Our leadership is amazing! I feel very comfortable bringing any patient/family/staff concerns to our leadership for further help. I have always been supported in even the smallest matters.

Chaplaincy adds an important facet to the gem of patient care. While medical staff focuses on the physical aspects of a patient, we add comfort and expertise to the emotional & spiritual side. We help the patient explore avenues of help and support where it seemed hopeless before. I have witnessed miracles upon miracles!

I feel like Pastoral Care week is a good reminder that there is more to patient care than we can see or touch. It is a testimony that we hold sacred the whole human person. For me it is a reminder of how blessed I am every day!

We have the best volunteers ever! We have Communion ministers and Initial Visit volunteers. They are so dedicated and caring. We have many of the same volunteers we have had for years and they want to be here. It warms my heart! Our chaplain department started a support group for our volunteers “Pastoral Care Circle of Support.” Our volunteers don’t often see each other so we meet monthly and share stories and concerns. They are a great encouragement to me and our staff.