I was hired because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it started, the University of Washington Medical Center had a strict no-visitors policy. That was heartbreaking. It also meant that other patients recovering from serious illness or waiting for an organ transplant spent months seeing only medical providers.

The UWMC Spiritual Care department hired me as a per diem chaplain to visit “long-length-of-stay” patients. I visited those who had been in-patients the longest. Almost every one of them was deeply grateful. The conversation almost always turned to finding meaning or processing grief or just the utter shock of being in the middle of a pandemic.

Even after one visitor per patient was allowed, I stayed on to see other patients and provide staff support. I am so grateful for this position as I was going out of my mind at home. I love my colleagues. and I love seeing the patients.

And a deep bow to the UWMC for recognizing this patient and staff need.

Debra Jarvis, Seattle