BHealthy Blog

Caring for the Spirit and Soul Too: Health Care Doesn’t Stop with the Body

Too often when people think of someone being in a hospital, they focus solely on the physical issues: mending bones, fighting diseases, rebuilding muscle. Of course we all know that being a patient or having a loved one in the hospital can be a very difficult time. However we believe the key to health is to care for the whole person – spiritually and emotionally – offering comfort and assistance to patients and family members during their stay in our facilities. This holistic approach is vital to ensuring that patients and their families that come to Baptist Health not only find physical healing, but spiritual and emotional peace as well.

Because of this Baptist Health hired its first professional chaplain in 1944.

Today, Pastoral Care consists of professional chaplains located at a majority of Baptist Health’s facilities, including the college, as well as trained volunteer chaplains at all the others. Baptist Health takes pride in setting a high standard of excellence for our chaplains by requiring our professional chaplains to have college or Master’s level seminary degrees and must have completed a one-year Clinical Pastoral Education Residency.

Our Pastoral Care department is very active in the lives of our patients. Last year our chaplains had more than 40,000 ministry contacts, ministering to more than 700 families at the time of a patient’s death and to many others in crisis situations.

Guiding our chaplains as they serve families and patients every day is our five-fold Pastoral Care mission:

  • Be providers of an accepting and supportive pastoral ministry to persons in need
  • Be facilitators of Christian care and compassion
  • Be supporters of the commitment to comprehensive healthcare
  • Be educators of ministers, healthcare workers, and the community at large
  • Be reminders of God’s presence in all circumstances.

Baptist Health not only prides itself on our high standard of pastoral care services but is also a leader in pastoral education as well. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock was a pioneer in the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) movement in the mid 1960’s, and since 2010, has been a fully-accredited center with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. We continue to be a leader in pastoral care education to this day. When you come to Baptist Health, you are interacting with some of the finest pastoral staff in the region.

CPE is an intensive experiential educational program for pastors and religious leaders interested in developing their clinical skills. Engaging students in pastoral work and to reflect on their experience with a certified supervisor and a peer group. Key areas for learning include integrating theology into pastoral practice, formation as a religious leader, and self-reflection and knowledge.

In addition to chaplain services, Pastoral Care operates the Baptist Health Counseling Center located on the Southwest Campus.

The counseling center offers professional outpatient counseling from a Christian perspective, providing a broad range of services in a variety of areas including: grief counseling, relationship counseling, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD assessment, and other emotional/mental health needs.

If Pastoral Care can be of assistance to you or a family member, please call 202-2569.

For more information on our Pastoral Care services, meeting our Pastoral Care staff, or how to apply for our Clinical Pastoral Education Program, visit our Pastoral Care page.