Franciscan Hospice &
In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Mountain View Memorial Park wishes to acknowledge the accomplishments of Sherry Schultz, Chaplain and Manager of Volunteer Services, of Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care.
Interview with Sherry Schultz
Sherry has worked in the hospice profession for 18 years. Earlier, she worked as an occupational therapist at several mental health agencies, with adolescents and children. She later became Development Director for Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County. This led her to pursue a theological education at Seattle University and Unity School furthering her hospice career, now as a Chaplain and Volunteer Manager.
What are some of the powerful emotions you have gone through? What are some things you do to take care of yourself emotionally so that you can continue to help others in your profession?
I was with my husband when he died, which had a deep impact on me. I gained an awareness of how much control one has in life and realized how important it is to have support. The death of a loved one really tests your limits, and it required that I lean into my personal faith.
One of the most important things I do to take care of myself is to get outside! I try to find experiences of beauty, whether through music, listening to children play in the neighborhood, or going to the theater. I’ve found peace by realizing the beauty around me on a daily basis.
What has been the biggest challenge for you and why?
Watching two close family members die, my husband and my mother. If I were to share some advice, it would be to remain authentic, to know your own heart as to what you can and can’t do. Always strive for personal integrity.
What do you believe has been your key to having great relationships with your patients?
Integrity. It’s important to release any preconceived notions about what people need. The patient, the family member, the volunteer will guide us to their needs, so that we can assist them in a way that is meaningful for them.
How do you motivate yourself?
The care we provide is holy, whether we are providing a bath, medical consultation, or sitting vigil as volunteers. I am fortunate to be able to work with such a multi-talented group of people. Our work is so enriching, because we help families realize their internal reserves while providing them support.
I am enriched by the team who supports each other daily. Every person’s contribution is vitally important to those we care for.
Looking back on the first person in your care, how would you say you have evolved from that moment and in which ways?
I’ve learned to be a better listener. I admit I don’t always know all the answers, but sometimes silence is the answer. On occasions, I’ve noticed the best care is provided simply by waiting patiently for a response. Silence is often exactly what we need.
What advice would you give someone who is considering hospice service in the near or far future?
To the future patient, we have an amazing group of professionals here to whom I would entrust my family and loved ones. Selfless service truly makes the difference.
To the future hospice caregiver, I would encourage them to develop skills consistent with your call, whether it be related to the medical field, spiritual care, or as a volunteer. From there, strive to maintain your integrity. Listen to your heart, and “know thyself.”
For more information on Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care:
2901 Bridgeport Way W
University Place, Washington 98466
Phone: (253) 534-7000