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Katrina Myers wins 'Chaplain of the year' award

Katrina, a healthcare Chaplain at Addenbrookes and Papworth hospitals, talks about her role as a Chaplain and her journey to becoming one.

Before becoming a Chaplain, Katrina has always worked in healthcare, initially as an Occupational Therapist in mental health facilities. Having worked alongside healthcare chaplains in her O.T. role, and finding talking to them to be beneficial, Katrina became more drawn to becoming a Chaplain when she experienced a personal loss, herself being helped through that time by a Chaplain. Her experience drew her to want to help other people in the same way. Initially Katrina was interested in becoming a waterways Chaplain - that is, a Chaplain to people living on boats. A conversation with her then vicar, the Reverend Natalie Andrews at Stretham, led to a suggestion that Katrina try volunteering at Addenbrookes Hospital, resulting in Katrina feeling more and more drawn to chaplaincy, rather than occupational therapy. Katrina then served as a Chaplain at a residential care home in Hitchin, including during the difficult Covid years.

Alongside her care home role, Katrina started working at Addenbrookes as a bank Chaplain for two days a week, before then moving to Addenbrookes and Papworth hospitals as her main role. Working on the critical care unit, oncology and neonatal wards, her role as a hospital Chaplain sees her visiting new referrals (that is, patients who have asked to see a chaplain), or new admissions, and making daily visits to those that need extra support. Working within a team of chaplains and volunteers, the chaplaincy team try to cover all wards each week.

“We do our best!” she says, “There are also Muslim and Buddhist colleagues working on the chaplaincy team, ensuring that they support there for everyone that needs it.”

Some situations are admittedly more difficult than others. Katrina often works with families for end-of-life care, conducts infant funerals, or adult funerals who those have no next of kin. Working on the neonatal ward, Katrina is sometimes asked for baptism, naming and blessing of babies. Katrina loves pottery and often channels her creativity into making memorials for babies on the ward that have died before or shortly after birth.

“Just being there for people in the moment and giving them what they need.” is the key to healthcare chaplaincy, says Katrina. “The conversation topics really depend on the situation and the individual. Some people want to talk about their illness, some people want to talk about anything but that, and some just want to listen to me talk. Often just the presence of having another human being there with them is enough.”

Alongside her chaplaincy role, Katrina is also an LLM at Witchford. Whilst exploring her vocation, a conversation with the DDO allowed her to realise that she was not called to ordination, but very much called to chaplaincy. Katrina is a third year LLM, and found the theological study, pastoral care and ethics courses included in her training to be particularly helpful for use in her role as a Chaplain.

Katrina says that for her, being a healthcare Chaplain “just feels like the right fit”. She enjoys supporting colleagues on their own chaplaincy journeys and has a huge awareness of the importance of self-care in the role. This is something which is echoed in the approach of the chaplaincy team, as they try to ‘spread the load’ between team members and to encourage self-care. They share the on-call chaplaincy service at weekends and evenings and have regular external supervision and reflective practice as a team to support them in their work.

Katrina was honoured to receive a ‘Chaplain of the year’ award in 2023 at an allied health professional day at Papworth Hospital. She was nominated in particular for her support of staff working in the Papworth team - Katrina facilitated a reflective practice session for them helping them to manage how they work with people who are at the end of their life.

Find out more about chaplaincy and exploring your vocation.

Page last updated: Friday 15th March 2024 9:05 AM
First published on: 15th March 2024
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