When Gateway News received a lovely recording [Listen below] of nursing staff at Life St George’s Hospital, Port Elizabeth, singing the Lord’s Prayer in a urology ward, we decided to investigate.
We found out that at the change of the morning and afternoon shifts the nursing staff in the different wards routinely form a circle and sing a few praise and worship songs, and say a prayer, as part of the hospital’s caring ministry policy.
Alex Daniel hospital manager at Life St George’s said the caring ministry was a nursing initiative aimed at creating a harmonious atmosphere of love, wellness and tranquility — uplifting and encouraging patients to have faith in the nursing staff and in their Creator.
He said that a sense of unity, trust and family was fostered as staff came together in circles at the change of shifts.
Sister Sonja Nel, a unit manager at the hospital, said that her experience during years of nursing was that starting a shift with a hymn or two made for a less chaotic day.
“Different wards differ what they sing or what they pray or how they start their mornings. We sing it as a team together, and everybody’s present. From the nursing staff to the cleaners to the hostess, to the porter and a lot of patients join in as well,” she said.
They ended with prayer in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.
Nel said the singing reassured patients that there were Christian people caring for them and staff often received requests from patients for prayer or for somebody to read to them from the Bible.
Sister Susan Joubert, another unit manager at Life St Georges, said the pastoral care approach postively impacted staff relationships and the relationship between nursing staff and patients. Patients — even those who did not practice any religion — found comfort in the pastoral care, she said.
The care ministry opened the door for patients to request ministry support, she said.