Clemmons Medical Center chaplain supports patients and staff

CLEMMONS, N.C. -- Peggy Haymes is prepared, even though she never knows what she will face.

“Part of my prayer is that I will talk to the people I need to talk to,” Haymes said.

The holiday season is associated with happiness and joy, but for families facing serious challenges in their lives, this time of year may not feel so jolly.

Haymes can understand that working at a hospital. She’s the chaplain at Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center.

“Every other medical professional, they may be kind and caring and we have wonderful folks here, but they always have a task to do when they go into that patient room,” Haymes said. “I’m the one who can come in and sit down and just listen.”

Everyday people walk the halls dealing with some form of bad news, but Haymes does her best to lift the weight off people’s shoulders.

That task is not limited to patients, but she also makes a point to extend support to staff.

On Mondays, she sends an email she refers to as a “Monday Morning Meet-Up.”

Haymes offers words of encouragement that staff can draw inspiration from to get through the day.

Part of the hope is that this will help establish a connection should someone need to talk to her in the future.

That weekly gesture, combined with her other efforts, have helped to make a difference for everybody.

“Studies have shown that when patients are less anxious, they do better. When they feel heard, they do better. Also when the staff feels supported they handle stresses better,” she said. “With ministry there are so many different things we can do, so this is just another aspect of ministry.”

Haymes has had a counseling practice for about 15 years, but has been serving as chaplain at Clemmons Medical Center since July.

Chaplaincy and spiritual care services are generally available at hospitals throughout the Piedmont.