Jody Hackett joins EK hospital chaplains

There is a new friendly face walking the wards of East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

There is a new friendly face walking the wards of East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

Jody Hackett is the newest addition to the spiritual care program at the hospital.

With a Bachelor degree in psychology and a Masters in counselling, Jody is uniquely qualified for the role, which sees her join two other chaplains who help patients and their families with spiritual care during a medical crisis.

“I definitely think in the role of chaplain there are opportunities to use the counselling skills, especially with grief and loss,” Jody said.

She began working in the position in early February, alongside Laird Siemens and Joanne Wiens. She replaces long-time chaplain Werner Froese, who retired in December.

Jody was drawn to the position at the encouragement of a friend who recognized her talents in the area.

“A friend of mine met one of the chaplains and said he couldn’t stop thinking about me for the role. He finally phoned and said, ‘I think you need to apply for it.’ I hadn’t heard of it at that point. So I met Laird and went through the interview process and got hired.”

Jody’s husband Frank is pastor at Connect Church and she plays a leadership role in the fellowship.

“What it comes down to in every area of my life is I try my best to not live out of my own strength and draw my strength from God,” she said.

“I love people and I love hearing their stories. That’s the biggest thing – just having that heart for people and that compassion. I love doing whatever I can to help people with whatever they are going through.”

East Kootenay Regional Hospital has had a spiritual care program since 2005. There is a small chapel in the hospital lobby, opposite the coffee shop, but the chaplains spend most of their time on the wards speaking to patients and their families. One of the chaplains is on call at all times.

The Spiritual Care Program is fully funded by donations, much of which comes from Interior Health and local churches. Each chaplain receives a $3,000 stipend each year, making them not quite volunteers.

The Spiritual Care Committee is made up of hospital and ministerial staff, who handle donations and recruiting.

To find out more about the hospital chaplaincy program, email ekrhchaplain@gmail.com.