JPS Chaplain Service Working Nonstop To Help Frontline Workers Keep The Faith In Battle Against COVID-19 – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – I know a lot of healthcare workers.
The stories I’ve heard over the past 10 months are often surreal. I can’t imagine their daily jobs in normal times as life is often in limbo.
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Now add Covid-19 and the madness of overcrowded facilities and the workers are doing all they can but bearing the added burden of what happens to their own families when they get infected.
But not a single worker told me they were done. Go away. Not one. Most tell me that despite the stress and fear, they are more committed than ever.
One reason for this, I believe, is their commitment to what is often referred to as a “calling”.
Those who work in health care and take care of us when we are sick are just very special people. But Covid was perhaps the greatest mental challenge many of us, including high on the health care worker list, have ever seen.
So who takes care of them when they run out of energy, when they are scared, when day after day people they talked to yesterday watch die?
In our first edition of The Super Ones, I introduce the pastoral team at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth.
If you haven’t been to this hospital asking for counseling, you probably wouldn’t know about it.
But they are there around the clock for families who often lose a loved one. In moments that are so difficult for everyone, comfort, pray and hold hands and hearts.
In this year of pandemic madness, the team found that the focus was always on staff and patients and their families, but the mission of being more staff-focused has risen to levels they did not expect last year.
La’rissa Harris is a nurse in the Covid department at JPS. She told me the hardest days are when you lose someone. Even just telling me it brings tears to Harris’ eyes and a moment that is overwhelming.
Same goes for the Covid nurse Josh Knickerbocker who shared this with me.
“One of the toughest days was seeing someone many of us knew. Then it’s time to meet up with families and hearing them talk to loved ones is sure to bring tears to your eyes. It’s kind of a combination of all of these things. “
These workers are worn out. Physically, mentally. And having really tough days has become routine in this new age of Covid.
The question arises, who is there for them when the heroes have difficult days? To keep it going?
At JPS, that question leads us straight to Leann Franklin and her pastoral team.
You have become the big shoulder for JPS’s 7,200 employees, from plumbing to senior directors to leaning.
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Leann doesn’t worry about how quickly things have changed.
“When Covid hit you knew that everything was different immediately. Suddenly those who care for people with trauma are traumatized themselves. “
Almost immediately, those who always give hope need themselves.
The first thing that came to mind to the pastoral team was a place where you could just let your feelings go.
The tree of hope was born. A simple birch tree that is now filled with over a thousand handwritten messages of hope – from those who walk and work in these halls every day. And the team found that writing down feelings is often fulfilled by being able to talk about them too.
Covid nurse Josh Knickerbocker told me that.
“I have had many conversations with my pastor, held debriefings, and shared their experiences with other nurses. And without question, the pastoral care team, I can’t even number all of the things they do for us. “
Things like something they called “the love bomb”!
Basically surprise visits to halls or rooms where chaplains sing songs to lift the mood. And often with them on a cart, they call the soul café, drinks and sweet treats.
And what is needed most sometimes. A distraction.
La’rissa said to me as little or as silly as it may seem from the outside: “It’s nice for this moment just to step out of patient care and just for this moment to focus on yourself and revitalize yourself in this moment. “
The pastoral gang is a small but powerful team that draws on the faith and finds new ways to help our heroes keep the faith.
Leann Franklin put it best when I asked them to summarize in one sentence what they are doing.
“We are people of light, we are people of hope and we will hold on to hope. Because we are. That’s what we do. “
The team consists of six full-time chaplains and some part-time workers. They are always there for patients and their families, but never before has the need for what they do not only for them, but also for the 7,200 employees at JPS Hospital, been so great.
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