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Pause for Prayer brings moments of peace to Rapid City Hospital

Jill Kundtz, Spiritual Care Services Coordinator, and Sandra Ogunremi, Manager of Spiritual Care Services, invite everyone to Pause for Prayer.

Everyone gets stressed out. We all have bad days. Sometimes things can seem so incredibly overwhelming. What can we do when we find ourselves in such a situation?


For just a moment, we can stop and breathe. And maybe some of us will say a little prayer.

That’s the idea behind Pause for Prayer, a new pilot initiative at Rapid City Hospital. “This is for everyone at Rapid City Hospital. Patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. Everyone,” said Sandra Ogunremi, Manager of Spiritual Care Services and Diversity and Inclusion. “Everyone can take this as a moment to take a breath, reflect or express gratitude. People who are spiritual can go further and they can pray, wherever they find themselves. No two people will have identical thoughts or prayers, but it gives everyone a few moments to pause.”

If a Code Blue is called in the hospital, there will automatically be Pause for Prayer at the next designated time, but caregivers, physicians, patients and family members are all welcome to dial 605-755-1000 and ask for a Pause as well. If a request has been made, Pause for Prayer will be offered at 8:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. At that time, a soft melody will play for ten seconds, alerting those in Rapid City Hospital that they may now take the opportunity to pause, breathe and pray if so inclined. Several people may have submitted a request, or perhaps only one, but each will be able to feel that their request was heard and that they received support in the form of Pause for Prayer. “It doesn’t matter how many people may have requested a pause,” said Sandra, “because each individual will hear the melody, and understand that this pause was for them.”

Pause for Prayer is intended to give everyone a quiet moment, to respond in their own way.

The idea for Pause for Prayer came from Sheri Skalsky, APP, who had previously worked at a hospital that has a similar program. “During orientation, Sandra had given a talk about what Spiritual Services does, and she asked us to share if we had any ideas,” said Sheri. “The hospital I did rounds in back in Minnesota had a little one note tone that they played, and it was just to stop and give a little prayer because somebody needed it.”

Sheri shared the idea with Sandra, who knew that it could benefit folks at Monument Health. The Pause for Prayer program is starting this month at Rapid City Hospital. If it goes well, then Pause for Prayer may be extended to the other markets. “We’re doing a three-month pilot, and the goal is to see how many requests we get and see if these times work as well as we hope they will,” Sandra said. “Then in three months we’ll revisit. We know that people will respond to the music differently, but we just want people to know that it’s okay to pause and pray or reflect, or even to express gratitude.”

Sandra and those who have helped take Sheri’s idea and develop it into a program at Monument Health hope that it will provide an opportunity for everyone in the hospital to find comfort or strength in their faith, give thanks or simply to take a deep breath and clear their mind. Pause for Prayer can provide something different for every person who hears the music – there’s no wrong way to pause – and will hopefully help caregivers and patients alike.

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