The Word of the Day has long been a mainstay of spiritual care at The Queen’s Medical Center, West Oʻahu. At the end of every Daily Safety Briefing, Chaplain Thomas Hong delivers this word to administrators and managers. His selection is guided by assessing what he calls the “spiritual and emotional temperature” of the staff he serves. He then offers a brief statement on how staff can integrate the word throughout their day. For example, Chaplain Thomas recently chose ʻOhana as his Word of the Day. “May our relationships deepen as we face the work we are called to do as an ʻOhana,” he said. Managers have reported that they appreciate the daily word and often bring it to their respective departments to share with staff. Chaplain Thomas looks forward to expanding the use of these words by displaying them outside of the West Oʻahu Chapel, which many frontline staff pass by when they come to work.

Inspired by Chaplain Thomas’s idea, PHM chaplains serving at Hawaiʻi Pacific Health facilities (Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Straub Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center, and Wilcox Medical Center) have started to offer their own Words of the Day. These words of encouragement are shared with administrators and staff across the healthcare system. Chaplain Puanani Lalakea, who serves at Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children, recently shared, “One of our leaders emailed their appreciation saying, ‘the Word of the Day has been so positive. Thank you for starting this and for everything you are doing every day!”

The chaplains recently selected the Hawaiian word Kokua, noting its meaning blurs the boundaries of individuality and self-sufficiency. According to Chaplain Puanani, “We are born with the absolute necessity for help and we grow well only with the constancy of others. It is our ability to offer help as well as our willingness to ask for help that creates the bridge that will hold us together, even when we must keep our distance.”

As COVID-19 continues to affect our communities here in Hawaiʻi, the Word of the Day serves as a spirtual anchor that healthcare professionals can hold onto as they continue their vital work.