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As night chaplain, Bolingbrook man comforts patients, staff

Bolingbrook – Regardless of the temperature, Bolingbrook resident Dan Ocampo starts his shift by walking around outside the hospital to pray for the building and those who work in it. Then he walks inside and begins his rounds as regional night chaplain, a role he’s held since January that takes him to a different Adventist Midwest Health hospital every day of the week to minister to the night staff, patients and their families.

Ocampo works Sunday through Thursday, starting at 9:30 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. the next day. He rotates among four suburban Chicago hospitals – Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital – and is on call to respond to any pastoral care needs that arise at any of the facilities during his shift. 

Although the night chaplain role is a new one at Adventist Midwest Health, other U.S. hospitals have embraced the concept as a way to connect with employees working the third shift. If it proves to be successful, such positions likely will be created at other hospitals in the Adventist Health System, according to John Rapp, regional vice president of ministries and mission at Adventist Midwest Health. Rapp presented the idea to hospital leaders after observing the positive impact a night chaplain had on employees at a hospital in St. Louis.

“We have more than 500 employees who work third shift, and normally they only see chaplains if there’s a big crisis or death,” Rapp said. “Bringing Dan on board as our night chaplain has helped us minister to these employees on a consistent basis.” 

While completing his seminary training, Ocampo worked the weekend chaplain shifts at Adventist Midwest Health hospitals. He viewed the overnight shift as a natural progression. 

“Because of their odd hours, some of the third shift employees can feel left out,” said Ocampo, a native of the Philippines. “This was a way I could serve an underserved population by fulfilling our mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ.”

In addition to hospital employees, patients and visitors also have benefitted from Ocampos’ ministry. One family of a hospice patient was so touched by Ocampos’ care that they asked him to officiate at her memorial service, which was held at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital’s chapel.

Ocampo’s wife, Maidelyn, works at the Adventist Midwest Health regional office in Bolingbrook. The couple has three children: Maddie, Mikaila and Dane.