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Meet some of MultiCare’s chaplains

Posted on Jan. 15, 2019 ( comments)
Annette Gildemann is the program director of MultiCare Chaplain Services.

At MultiCare, chaplains are part of every patient’s care team. They coordinate with hospital doctors, nurses and social workers to assess which patients require a chaplain visit. Patients can request a chaplain or their care team may recommend one.

“We serve or minister to people of no faith or any faith,” says Jim Cornwell, a MultiCare staff chaplain.

Each hospital is staffed with chaplains available 24 hours a day (MultiCare has 20 chaplains total). They visit wherever is most convenient, whether it be an on-campus chapel, a patient’s room or a waiting room.

Chaplains play an integral role in a patient’s hospital stay, helping patients and their families through difficult times and celebrating momentous occasions. The team primarily responds to traumas, making themselves available when families have lost or are close to losing a loved one. They also provide support for religious rituals and blessings as requested by patients, families or staff.

“Every day is different; it’s dynamic,” says MultiCare staff chaplain Karie Hamilton. “My job is to hear someone’s story without judgment. To find out where their hope is.”

Code Lavender: Caring for colleagues

Code Lavender supports frontline caregivers working in high-stress, high-intensity environments. The program is funded by donor support through MultiCare Health Foundation.

As a collaboration between Chaplain Services and MultiCare’ s Employee Assistance Program, Code Lavender offers peer-to-peer support for MultiCare employees. At any time of day or night, an employee can text or email the team and receive a response.

The reasons for calling a code lavender vary, from treating a severe trauma to unexpectedly losing a patient. The goal of the program is to avoid burnout and help staff stay mentally and emotionally healthy.

A variety of services are offered to respond to these needs. Chaplain Services staff offer debriefings following critical incidents, counselor and/or chaplain services, resiliency trainings and the Schwartz Rounds program. Schwartz Rounds is a multidisciplinary forum where clinical caregivers can discuss social and emotional issues that frequently arise while caring for patients. In 2018, 455 people attended six Schwartz Rounds sessions held system-wide.

Meet some of MultiCare’s chaplains:

Annette Gildemann

Annette Gildemann, Program Director, Chaplain Services

“I feel truly humbled and honored that patients and families allow me to come alongside them at some of the worst times of their lives. It is a privilege and inspiration to witness their strength and resilience of spirit in the context of adversity and suffering.”

Jim Cornwell

Jim Cornwell, Staff Chaplain

“We get drawn to the most difficult situations in the hospital — unexpected traumas. We are there to walk people through those times that nobody’s prepared you for.”Karie Hamilton

Karie Hamilton, Staff Chaplain

“We support the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and their family. What I love about working in a hospital is that we are part of a team. We are part of holistic care. We work with social workers, case managers, doctors — it takes a team.”

Dorothy Prybylski

Dorothy Prybylski, Staff Chaplain

“Patients come into a hospital and sacrifice their self-reliance, their control of their own schedule, even their usual clothing, and it makes them very vulnerable. This vulnerability often paves the way for life review and reflection about aspects of life that may be painful or unresolved. A chaplain brings a trusted and respected professional presence that encourages reconciliation in relationships and in memories.”


Efforts such as Code Lavender and the Schwartz Rounds programs are funded by donors. You can support programs like this by donating to Where The Need Is Greatest.

About The Author

Kortney Scroger

Kortney Scroger is a communication specialist for the Foundations of MultiCare. She writes stories that connect readers to the impact of giving. You can reach her at [email protected].

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