October 14, 2013

St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Nursing Home director of pastoral care Peg Scheidt has been selected one of 10 Hospital Heroes from across the state by the Iowa Hospital Association.

The award was presented at the IHA annual conference in Des Moines on Oct. 10.

As a board certified chaplain, Scheidt provides spiritual guidance to patients, residents, families, employees and the extended Carroll community during time of need. Scheidt makes herself available day and night for people of all faiths, focusing on spiritual care to those in need.

In her duties, Scheidt organizes, promotes, and manages a wide variety of needs for clergy, volunteers, patients, families and staff.

"Peg is unique because she has the ability to find comfort for both the patient and family members all at the same time," said St. Anthony president Ed Smith.

Sister Jean Moore, of St. Anthony's sponsoring FSPA, said, "What sets her apart is her devotion to St. Anthony patients, nursing-home residents, families and employees, along with her willingness to be involved, not just in the hospital, but also in the community."

In a news release, the Iowa Hospital Association says of the Heroes Award, "For some, heroes are bigger than life. However, for many of us, heroes are those who reached out to us in time of need with no expectation of reward or recognition. It is part of who they are and the character of their soul.

Each day, across Iowa's hospitals, more than 70,000 people serve their communities and celebrate a winning team of everyday heroes. They are healers and miracle workers, young and old, men and women who are all part of a unique group of committed health-care professionals. Our hospitals depend on this team of everyday heroes to deliver the high quality care that patients need and deserve."

The news release says of Scheidt, "She makes the needs of patients, family members, or employees, her number one priority in any situation and her presence touches the lives of those she encounters as she ministers to St. Anthony patients. Her quiet demeanor brings calmness to all as she listens, and prays, to offer spiritual strength and comfort when spirits are low, the future seems bleak, or hope seems out of reach."

In an interview this morning, Scheidt said, "It's a very nice honor, and I'm really humbled by it. It's just a privilege to be able to do what I do.

It's very rewarding to be able to walk with people through my ministry."

She added, "It's nice to see that spiritual care has been recognized because it is such a vital part of healing."

The award usually has been presented to such health-care professionals as nurses, doctors or social workers.

Scheidt received a blue plaque at the conference.

"When I went up to receive this," she said, "I felt I was representing the fine people we have at St. Anthony because we do have so many fine employees who easily could have been recognized to receive this award."

A native of the small southwest Minnesota town of Adrian, Scheidt is beginning her 21st year as St. Anthony pastoral care director, starting here Sept. 27, 1993. She previously was pastoral care director eight years at Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, S.D. She worked a year in pastoral care at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines before completing her master's degree in ministry from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

She received bachelor's degrees in physical education and theology from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. She said of that combination of study, "I like to play and pray a lot. And I'm suffering with the (National Football League Minnesota) Vikings right now."

"It's painful to be a Vikings fan right now," she said of her favorite team, which has a 1-4 record.

She is certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, based in Milwaukee, Minn.

Scheidt said of her career, "It's an honor and privilege to be able to walk with people, to be their companion at both high moments in their lives and very sad times in their lives. I am aware not everybody has this calling. People ask how I do what I do, and I just feel as though the Holy Spirit is working through me. It's been nothing but a privilege to do what I do, and to be recognized this way is a gift."