Ministry of Presence

July 30, 2011 No Comments   

Standing 6 feet tall and weighing in at 225 solid pounds, Michael Bowman is an imposing security guard atSaint Joseph- Jessamine RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center (SJJ). What is most impressive about Bowman, according to his co-workers, however, is not his size or strength. Instead, it’s his ability to defuse a violent situation with gentleness and compassion – and his habit of treating co-workers and patients alike with tremendous caring.

Sherry Schwarz, RN, works third shift in the emergency department with Bowman. She can recall many times when the guard has calmed down an enraged patient with his ministry of presence.

“I just love him,” Schwarz said. “I can’t say enough good things about him. We had one patient who was so angry, and Michael just pulled his chair up and sat next to the bed and said, ‘Let’s start over.’”

Bowman also recalls that patient. The man had been brought to the hospital after a domestic dispute occurred. He was drunk and giving the emergency staff trouble.

“I just started talking with him about where he was from, where he worked, about his hobbies,” the security guard said. “You get a person calmed down, and they get their mind off the problem. He actually said, ‘Thank you for talking to me. It means a lot to me that you took time to sit down and talk to me like a normal person.’”

Bowman has a gift for calming people with kindness, and for giving them his undivided attention, according to Ryan Goble, another registered nurse in the SJJ emergency department.

“He always has a positive attitude about his job,” Goble said. “He’s very good with patients. His presence always makes the night feel safer.”

Dan Andrews, RN, MBA, CEN, emergency department manager, is also grateful for Bowman’s cheerful, kind nature.

“He always goes above and beyond,” Andrews said. “He will step up and do even little things to keep the department flowing and patients moving, like taking out trash and making beds. He’s a consummate professional and an all-around good guy.”

Schwarz recalls an elderly woman who came to the SJJ emergency department with her husband. When the husband had to be transferred toSaint Joseph Hospital, the lady was “scared to death” to drive home because there was so much snow on the roads.

Bowman discovered that the lady lived in Garrard County, his home county. So “after work I gave her a ride home,” he said. “She was so thankful that somehow she got my address and sent me a card. But I didn’t want that – I just wanted to help her.”

The 43-year-old guard is married with two children: his son, Mason, who is 10, and his daughter, Mackenzie, who is 8. He has coached his children’s ball games, and he and his wife, Melissa, help out at their church, Faith United Community, where they have taught children’s Bible school.

Bowman has learned that prayer is a powerful aid to healing, he said.

“One lady in the ED (emergency department) had lost a child,” he said. “I asked if she wanted to pray. She said she would, and we prayed together. You get into a moment that is so rough. Prayer always helps.”

Before he came to SJJ in 2009, Bowman worked for an armored car company for 16 years. His co-workers are delighted that he chose health care as a second career. He not only warms up their cars and cleans their windshields on stormy nights – he warms their hearts with his giving nature.

“I try to get along with everyone,” he said. “I want to represent the hospital the best way I can.”

Employee Stories, Saint Joseph Jessamine

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