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Kevin Bockus’ call to chaplaincy came in the form of a siren.
One Sunday morning, Kevin heard the wail of firetrucks and saw smoke rising from behind the church where he was preparing to preach. He drove to the scene to learn that a family of five had perished in a trailer fire.
He asked a friend to fill in for him at the church while he stayed with the firefighters and families who lived nearby, helping them process what had just happened.
Shortly thereafter, Kevin became a certified chaplain, transitioning into a hospital setting in Ohio. “Chaplaincy was the call within the call,” he says. “It enabled me to work with a larger group of people who were going through difficult times.”
The IU Health Way.
Kevin joined IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in 2020 as a chaplain. During his onboarding process, he participated in Leadership Perspectives, a three-day deep dive into the organization’s culture, The IU Health Way, and leadership philosophy.
“Leadership Perspectives helps newly hired or newly promoted leaders understand the IU Health Way and sets common expectations for leaders at IU Health,” says Christina Chapman, IU Health chief learning officer. “What’s the secret sauce to leading here? And how do you create the right experiences for your team members?”
Leadership Perspectives is made possible by generous gifts from donors like Dave and Julie Goodrich, who chose to invest in professional development because they realized that improving the skill and knowledge level of care providers increases the level of care they can offer. “We want the best trained and most highly skilled providers at IU Health,” Dave says. “One way to help people grow into their full potential is by investing in additional professional education.”
Kevin found Leadership Perspectives exceptional. “I felt like I came away with more in three days than I did in five years at my previous institution.”
The focus on lived values was particularly impactful. “A lot of places talk about living their values, but they end up being nothing more than words on a piece of paper,” Kevin says. “Here at IU Health, our mission, vision and values drive everything we do.”
Compassion in practice.
With the uncertainty and chaos created by COVID-19, a clearly defined set of values has become more important than ever. In fact, the IU Health values — Compassion, Team, Excellence and Purpose — helped Kevin and his team answer difficult questions this past year.
As IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital allowed one visitor per day for non-COVID patients, Kevin found that certain situations necessitated more than one voice speaking on the patient’s behalf.
“When a physician is discussing end-of-life options, we don’t want a spouse to have to make that decision alone,” Kevin says. “Compassion means we treat all people with respect, kindness and empathy. Our Team value means we count on and care for each other. Understanding these values has been important in these situations and allowed us to find solutions so we can do good for all people.”
This level of dedication among IU Health employees continues to inspire donors like Dave and Julie. “There are many people within IU Health who’ve dedicated their lives to improving someone else’s quality of life,” Dave notes. “We’re interested in investing in those people and others who wouldn’t be able to participate in continuing education otherwise.”
For Kevin, that education has made all the difference. “The program allows us to touch the heartbeat of the health system,” he says, “and to integrate that heartbeat into our own so we can truly live out its values.”
To learn how you can provide professional development opportunities for IU Health team members, contact Jeffrey Roth, IU Health Foundation development officer.