What makes a team?

Well first off, it takes two or more people. I alone am not a team. I am an individual.

Next, the group of people have a common goal that they are working toward.

Even though the group of people may have a common goal, they all have their own ideas of how to attain that goal, so it is good for a team to have a coach; someone at the helm to coordinate and lead the team.

Although I am not part of a sports team at this time in my life, I am a part of perhaps the greatest team I have ever experienced. That is, the VNA Hospice team.

This team is not made up of linemen, pitchers, goalies… no, this team is comprised of nurses, social workers, aids, volunteers, chaplain, and support staff and yes, a coach. We are a diverse group of people, each with our own specialty, all working toward the goal of providing authentic, excellent care for our hospice patients and their families.

Just as a football team gathers for a huddle before each play, the hospice team begins each day with our huddle call. We join by phone or computer into a conference call for a report of patient concerns that have taken place since our last communication and an update from the on-call nurse about anything that has come up overnight.

As chaplain, I especially listen for any spiritual concerns, either directly spoken or implied by the tone of the situation. I use my ministry ears, heart and spirit to discern where care is needed. Each discipline represented on the team does the same from their area of specialty.

From my experience, the best hospice teams are focused on good communication. We watch out for each other and get word to other team members when a patient or family member needs what they are best equipped to offer.

And finally, we are there for each other to encourage and support as needed to continually build each other up. The great thing about a team is that when one member feels weak, the rest of the team is there to carry them through. I have witnessed this many times on my team.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

May you experience the joy of serving on your team and may you benefit from their support when you go through the valleys of life.


Rev. Randy L. Kightlinger, Spiritual Counselor