In honor of National Public Health Week, please join us in celebrating all of our wonderful partners who work every day to improve our communities! The theme of NPHW this year is to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by year 2030.
Steve Williams, BA, MDiv, BCC, is a Chaplain at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and a member of the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Case Review Team. He shares in this guest post the role his organization plays in building a healthy community in Northeast Florida!
As a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains, I have served as a chaplain at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville for the past 21 years (ordained Baptist minister for 33 years). After college and seminary, my Clinical Pastoral Education included a year of Chaplain Residency in Pediatrics and a year Residency in Adult Oncology and ICU. For the past 15 years I have been the Senior Chaplain for the BMCJ campus, worked in oncology, CVICU, M/SICU, and neuro ICU, also overseeing the Clinical assignments and Pastoral work of the staff chaplains and our chaplains in training. Part of my early assignment and now in a supervising chaplain role was the Anti-Partum, Post-Partum areas, well baby nursery and Labor and Delivery, which is part of the Adult hospital. The Neonatal Intensive Care and the Pediatric Intensive Care are part of Wolfson Children’s Hospital (WCH) and a Pediatric Senior Chaplain and staff oversees the work there.
As a chaplain, I deal with emotional, religious and spiritual issues that come up in the hospital experience of patients and family members who come to BMCJ. Processing, grief facilitation and support, prayer/religious discussion and connections and existential/spiritual struggle conversations are some of my activities of service and chaplains are part of the Interdisciplinary Teams where we give support to patients, family members and staff members. We are involved in Code Blue processes, comfort measures/death vigils, sudden death situations, sudden change in status situations, celebrating when things go well, emergent situations, etc. Chaplains give caring presence, compassionate help to hurting persons and deep listening as patients and family members deal with the issues before them.
In caring for the whole person, BMCJ and WCH are committed to caring for mind, body and spirit. Often the chaplain is involved at the time of death, and after, as the family members grieve and endure the difficult process of the death of a loved one. These same issues occur with fetal and infant death in L&D, ED and the Children’s hospital. My work with the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) is an extension of my chaplaincy work, my commitment to community advocacy and is a support to the community of NE Florida that is served by BMCJ and WCH. In my service with FIMR, I seek to overview the psycho/social, emotional, religious/spiritual and contextual dimensions of the experience of the mother/parents, family and baby. I participate in the case reviews of FIMR and have input to the suggested areas of emphasis each year. It is my great honor to participate and serve on the FIMR for Northeast Florida.