Mike Porter, Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Services of Porter Regional Hospital has been serving Porter Regional Hospital for 20 years. He is an ordained minister in his religious body and has training from there. He served as a church Pastor for nine years before responding to the call into hospital ministry. Chaplain Porter is Board Certified in the Association of Professional Chaplains.
“Hospital ministry is not only a calling, but also a passion. I provide spiritual pastoral care to all the people I serve according to their own spiritual beliefs whether it is religious or spiritual in nature,” said Chaplain Porter. He added, “The term ‘spiritual’ may or may not be connected with a religion but it is always about purpose and meaning in life.”
For the last 20 years Chaplain Porter has given his all in his dedication to the spiritual needs in patient-centered care as well as to the needs of family members and hospital staff; striving to be available whenever possible. He has even conducted memorial services for hospital associates that have passed away.
Chaplain Porter said, “I realize the gifts God has given me are suited more for hospital ministry than church ministry.” He added, “I am here to provide spiritual support for patients and their families as well as physicians and associates. When it comes to our associates, I am available to them if they are struggling with personal and/or work related issues if they just need a listening ear.”
Besides providing spiritual support, Chaplain Porter is part of the Leadership Team at Porter Regional Hospital, as well as being involved in a number of committees. He participates daily with the patient rounding in Surgical Intensive Care, Medical Intensive Care (ICU) and with the rounding in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU). Chaplain Porter responds to emergency codes and deaths. He visits with patients referred to him by physicians, nurses and other hospital associates as well as patients and family requests. When called to do so, he will travel to the Portage hospital to visit patients in the rehab unit, the ED (emergency department) and Regency Hospital. He also visits other Porter facilities when called to do so.
Chaplain Porter said, “I am available to all departments in the hospital, but work most closely with the ED, ICU and the nursing units. I am grateful that people understand that when I am not able to respond to a page right away, I do respond as soon as I can, assess the request and do what I can as soon as I can. I help out where and when I can even if the task is outside what I typically do.”
You might think that being a Chaplain, such as Mike Porter is, would be very demanding and limit his availability to the patients and staff, being just one person, but as Director of Pastoral Services, Chaplain Porter has a team of nine qualified on-call Chaplains as well as some qualified volunteers that can step in and cover the spiritual needs of patients in the evenings, weekends and even during a brief vacation. Pastoral care is a 24/7 job with the needs of patients and staff arising at all hours. With a qualified team in place and Chaplain Porter directing that team, Pastoral Services is provided around the clock.
Chaplain Porter said, “I have a team of 9 qualified on-call Chaplains, but I also have a team of qualified volunteers who visit the new admissions to the hospital. With the volunteers visiting our new admits, it helps me to focus on people that would like a visit from me. Having a team available is also helpful because sometimes there calls for the need of more than one person to come to the aid of a patient.”
The interaction with the patients is something that Chaplain Porter looks forward to. He listens to the stories the patients tell with earnest; taking the time to listen to the patients so that he can provide the proper amount of spiritual support.
Chaplain Porter said, “I like listening to the stories people tell me. Those stories help me assess where a person is at and how that may affect their stay in the hospital.”
Dedication to patient-centered care is definitely one way you would describe the Chaplain at Porter Regional Hospital, Mike Porter. It would be difficult to determine the amount of time Chaplain Porter spends with each patient, as he is focused on the spiritual needs of the patients. The need of one patient might be just a few minutes with a quiet prayer or the reading of a Bible verse, while for another it could be just sitting there quietly sometimes for hours making his presence of support known, to the holding of a hand of someone needing a little bit of encouragement. On a case-by-case basis, Chaplain Porter takes time to listen and provide the right amount of spiritual support when and where necessary. Chaplain Porter ensures that he is not only qualified to provide for the spiritual needs of the patients at Porter Regional Hospital, but that he does so with genuineness and concern for each patient that he is able to help.
Chaplain Porter would like you to know that as he makes his rounds, he is silently praying for all who are within the walls of Porter.