Hospital priest recognised with special award for end of life care

Published/updated: 15/12/15 10:01

All photos verbal consent gained Full winner details to be added ASAPA hospital chaplain has been recognised for her work giving spiritual and pastoral support to patients, relatives and staff in the most challenging of circumstances.

Reverend Lynn Busfield won the Non-Clinical Excellence Award at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s Staff Recognition Awards 2015 after being nominated for her vital and much-valued role supporting the palliative care team with end of life care at the Trust.

Rev Busfield, from Sheldon, works as the full-time chaplain at the Trust, working mainly across Solihull and Heartlands Hospitals but also on-call for Good Hope Hospital.

She said: “It was a big surprise and a lovely thing to know that people had gone to the trouble of nominating me. Then to win the award out of six nominees, all of whom would have been worthy winners, was wonderful.

“There is so much amazing work which goes on here. There is a lot we can be really, really proud of and the staff recognition awards demonstrate we are doing a fantastic job.”

Rev Busfield’s role is undoubtedly a challenging one. She is there for people at the lowest of lows. Indeed one of her most emotional roles is carrying out the free funeral offered to parents by the Trust for any baby that dies pre-term in one of its hospitals.

She said: “I am available to staff and patients for the spiritual and pastoral exploration of what gives meaning and hope to our lives. I will have patients referred to me when it’s felt they may be experiencing spiritual distress or perhaps people who are lonely, anxious or depressed and ward staff would value some help in supporting those patients.

“It is about supporting patients to face what they need to face and helping them to find hope and peace in their current circumstances. I am guided by the patients in working out how best to support them. The chaplain is there to provide a safe, listening ear and also to offer support to the staff in facing the challenging situations they face on a daily basis.

“What I do is a demanding and hidden role and necessarily so. It is confidential for patients and their relatives. It is a private conversation or shoulder to cry on.”

Rev Busfield moved to Birmingham from Worcestershire two years ago to take up the post. Being of mixed race – half Burmese and half German – the multi-cultural environment in East Birmingham really appealed.

She said: “Now I’m here, I feel a great sense of belonging. I love working here and being part of a multi-disciplinary team working to support patient care.

“As an ordained priest in the Church of England, once you’ve served your curacy you have a choice of whether to work as a parish priest or a chaplain. I’ve done both but I love working in a tough environment like East Birmingham with all of its social challenges as you can make a real difference in the lives of people who need a helping hand.”

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