Helping people in need comes naturally to Philip Weaver, Clinical Pastoral Supervisor in North York General Hospital's (NYGH) Spiritual and Religious Care Department. While growing up he was influenced by his father, a pastor who always helped people find their way; Philip knew he wanted to work with people who were trying to find their purpose.
“In the health care setting there are patients looking for guidance and feeling like what was enough before, isn't anymore,” says Philip. “After someone has gone through a life-altering event or is close to passing, many people turn to a ‘higher being'.”
Philip helps patients find their purpose through faith and spirituality and provides comfort and guidance. He enjoys the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, helping them deal with where they are in their life, and helping them take the next step, whatever that may be.
Helping students find their purpose
Philip's role as Clinical Pastoral Supervisor focuses on three main areas. He provides support to patients and their families; guidance and advice to staff, physicians and volunteers; and teaches a course to students in partnership with the Toronto School of Theology, affiliated with the University of Toronto.
As an educator, Philip is responsible for student training and conducting programs in accordance with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care standards. Philip teaches an in-hospital 26-week course to six students.
“I enjoy being able to teach students in a hospital setting where they are faced with real-life situations and can put what they have learned to work,” he says. “I have the opportunity in this role to not only practise what I enjoy, but I also have the rewarding part of my job that lets me teach others.”
The model used by Philip to teach students is based on the action and reflection model. Students have the opportunity to visit patients and have a one-on-one interaction with them. They then have the chance to reflect on their visits with patients and express what they have learned.
In 2016, Philip was named President of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. In his role as President, Philip oversees the operations of the organization that provides:
support, education and certification to those who are preparing to become religious leaders in their communities
educational programs for people interested in becoming spiritual care and pastoral counsellors in a variety of settings including private practice, health care organizations and educational institutions.
Spiritual and religious care at NYGH
North York General has a deep tradition of caring for the spiritual needs of patients/residents and their loved ones in our diverse community — going back to when the hospital first opened its doors in 1968. Members of the clergy and volunteers are available 24/7 to provide hospital patients and their families with spiritual and religious support.
This article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of The Pulse.
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