“If you provide care to patients, any ritual that can make
you feel supported is important,” said Amy Magas, a social worker at Novant
Health Huntersville Medical Center.
Magas was teary-eyed as she received a blessing Tuesday from
Novant Health chaplain Tricia Gardner Lytle for her work, compassion and
commitment with the patients and families she comes into contact with at the
hospital in Huntersville, North Carolina.
“It’s an opportunity to give a targeted note of gratitude
and appreciation to our employees for their compassionate care,” said the
chaplain. “By supporting our team members, we are also supporting our
This year, for the first time, Gardner Lytle celebrated National
Hospital Week with a “Touchstone Blessing” ceremony. Instead of using water as with
the previous “Blessing of the Hands” ceremonies she’s officiated, the chaplain
asked staff to choose an engraved stone with a special significance that
reminded recipients why they had chosen their calling.
Engraved on each polished stone is a word: believe, dream,
trust, harmony, inspire, love, hope, friends or family. Each word represents an
affirmation of the inspiration, commitment and recognition of hospital staff to
their patients and vocations.
Gardner Lytle believes recipients see in the stones a
tangible reminder of what brings them to their jobs. “People appreciate having
something to hold on to that is connected to their calling,” she said.
In two days, she’s distributed 100 stones and blessed as
many people, she said as she pushed her cart down a hallway of the hospital’s intensive
care unit. Colleagues and friends approached to receive her blessing.
“It touches you at your very core,” she said. “It’s a time
when someone places their hands on you, anoints you with oil and reminds you
that what you do matters.”
The chaplain said this is her busiest week of the year. She
wants to make sure everyone is recognized. “We work with people who are dying
or facing a difficult diagnosis,” she said. “This is my family and they bless