Ms. Kay I. Gorka BCC serves as Chaplain Manager at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, WA. She embodies, with integrity, the mission and values of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC). She inspires with personal and optimistic support, balanced with hard data, a commitment to research, and an expectation of excellence – all in the name of quality patient care. Our profession is blessed to have someone with Kay’s work ethic, sense of personal and professional integrity, enthusiasm, openness and intelligence serving in a key leadership role.
Kay has begun to serve NACC as the state liaison for Washington the past two years and assisted with planning local gatherings. She has been a co-presenter for a webinar and a workshop on quality in chaplaincy, and a writer for Vision. She has served on certification interview teams, is assisting with the accreditation of a CPE center and new services in ambulatory settings. Her contributions to NACC and the chaplaincy profession are just beginning. She brings many leadership gifts with her.
Kay appears fearless; she confronts difficult issues head-on. She is solution-oriented and when she disagrees with someone, she tries to offer either a reason or an alternative solution. Her integrity is unquestionable – even those with whom she has had open disagreements trust her motivations. Kay went from peer/staff member to Lead Chaplain to Manager over the course of three years without losing the respect or support of those with whom she worked – even as they later reported to her.
Innovation is another hallmark of Kay’s leadership. She is curious and what she doesn’t know she works quickly to learn. She is open to trying new ideas to accomplish the goals that have been set by leaders over her and is able to adapt to demands in a creative way. Many institutional goals related to saving money seem irrelevant to financially-lean spiritual care services, but Kay always found a way to shave a dollar or save time (and thus money) with a simple new approach that also has the end result of making the whole department run more smoothly. She brought an old and entrenched department into the 21st century so seamlessly that they were almost unaware of the changes being imposed. This includes implementing a consistent charting system that enhances patient care, increases likelihood that other members of the care team will read the chaplain’s notes, and holds the chaplains accountable for creating intentional plans of care. She presented this model for a national webinar in 2014 and at the NACC national conference.
Kay is lavish with her appreciation to those who work for her and yet demands action, compliance with rules and team/mutual respect. Normally not seeking the limelight, she’s willing to be the face of chaplaincy if such visibility enables better patient care. She is equally willing to share the limelight if it allows another chaplain to become more visible or viable in their roles. Kay also promotes and advocates for professional, integrated and collaborative chaplaincy in hiring practices, by promoting and providing education, and through her commitment to continuous quality improvement.
Ms. Kay Gorka is the present and future of our profession. She can both imagine and create pathways to ensure that future. Kay is a spirited leader and is very deserving of the Emergent Leader Award.