Any nurses who are Catholic and have started Parish Nursing??

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    I am trying to start Parish Nursing in our faith community, but I was told that the risk manager would probably not allow it. Most nurses I have networked with are from other denominations. Catholic church is very hesitant re: lawsuits. All I would like to do is introduce the concept. I did get ok to help with grief counciling and start up suicide survivors support group. There is so much more I could do for our community. I don't see problem as I would not be doing any hand on care just information and helping members in community that need to find agency contacts. Eventually I would like to initiate teaching programs and get a network of people to monitor frail elderly and other homebound members in our community. I am not asking for any monetary reward. As long as I follow guidelines under NYS nurse practice act, wouldn't I be covered. It is very frustrating. Any input from others who have started something with Roman Catholic Church would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Hello zumalong. Welcome to the Parish Nursing Forum.

    I am so glad to hear of your interest in starting a Parish Nurse program in your church. I am a Parish Nurse, however I am not in a Catholic Church. Let me ask you a few questions so I can better assess your situation and assist you.

    Are you an RN with a current active license in the state in which you want to start the Parish Nurse program?

    Are the other nurses that you have networked with Parish Nurses, and are they associated with a healthcare facility such as a hospital? Or are they doing this independently of any medical facility?

    Do you currently carry individual medical malpractice insurance?
    Spidey's mom likes this.
  4. 0
    Yes, I am currently licensed to practice as an RN in NY state. I have been unable to work steady for almost 6 years due to severe asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (among other diagnoses) I want to do something that is going to be utilizing my nursing knowledge and almost 26 years experience. There are other RN's in our parish who are very excited to help out in any way they can.

    No I do not have malpractice insurance--but I don't plan on any invasive--hands on care. I also would follow my nurse practice act for my state. I have received a lot of information from my BSN director at Roberts Wesleyan College. She has her own practice at their church but it is not a Catholic church. Money is very tight d/t my employment status--so I have no idea if i could purchase and afford my own malpractice policy.

    Any help you can give me would be great. I have done a lot of praying over this. I am meeting with the director of Parish Nursing program at Roberts and have at least received the go ahead to start grief counciling and support group. I have a strong personality and have run into walls blocking my path since I was in my 30's with my health. I am dedicated to working hard to do this wonderful form of nursing for our community. So I will do what I can and meet each road block as they come at me.
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    Did you receive training or are you considering being trained through the Parish Nurse program at Roberts? Is that program associated with a medical facility?

    Perhaps the director of that program could meet with the governing board of your church to explain the scope of practice of a Parish Nurse including liability issues, benefits to the parishoners, etc. Perhaps you have already done this.

    As far as liabilty goes......there have never been any lawsuits involving Parish Nurses that I am aware of. A couple of years ago I attended a class at the International Parish Nurse Symposium called Legal Issues and the Parish Nurse. The absence of lawsuits was discussed. This, however, does not rule out the need for personal malpractice insurance. You can get an excellent policy for around $100 per year.

    Congregations considering a parish nursing ministry must make decisions about insurance coverage for both the church and for the parish nurse. As a professional working independent of any type of medical facility (which might provide certain insurance coverage), parish nurses working with churches should obtain professional malpractice insurance and be certain that the liability coverage for the church includes the activities contained within the parish nurse scope of practice. Non-coverage of liability and/or personal malpractice insurance coverage could create a serious liability gap for the protection of the Parish Nurse.

    Parish Nurse practice must be within the constraints of their state professional nurse license, meaning that the Parish Nurse can function in health education, counseling, hospital visitation, etc. but cannot perform invasive treatments—injections, medication administration, dressing changes, etc. Parish nurses are not to be involved with anything that needs a medical order to be implemented.

    If the parish nurse is working with health ministry volunteers, clear policies and procedures as to what these persons can do and how they are being supervised and supported should be written for the protection of all involved. The church needs to consider these persons and their activies and discuss with their insurance agent how they are or are not covered by the church's insurance policy—i.e. transportation, accidents, falls, etc.—and policies and procedures should be written accordingly.

    I applaud your efforts and your desire to start a Parish Nurse ministry in your church. Hopefully, the benefits of this ministry will be realized by the church staff and congregation. Good luck in your endeavors!

    Let me know if you have further questions.
    Spidey's mom likes this.
  6. 0
    Well, I work for a Catholic hospital and they have quarterly parish nurse training programs. I am a practicing Catholic and I know several RNs from my hospital who work as a parish nurse in our parish. I am not a parish nurse so I don't really know more specifics about your questions. I would say that the Catholic church in my area seems very supportive of the parish nurse program.

    What about becoming an instructor for NFP? That would be a great way to utilize your nursing background and promote the Church's teaching. What about Rachel's Vineyard, a post-abortion healing program? Just throwing out some ideas here. As for frail/homebound people, find out about them from extraordinary ministers of Communion or from the St. Vincent de Paul society in your parish.

    The Holy Spirit will guide you into something that is using your nursing knowledge and serving God. Don't give up.
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    I am a Catholic Parish nurse and have been involved in several networks that support Parish Nurses. You can try contacting Catholic Charities in your diocese. the support groups in the Mid-Atlantic are mostly connected with Healthcare systems - Adventist, Innova, Holy Cross in Silver Spring, MD and St. Agens in Baltimore. The International Parish Nurse Resource Center is another good support and info source. You don't need a Catholic support group but you do need support from your priest. There are several good books, including The Essential Parish Nurse" by Deborah Patterson. that is availble from the PN Resource Ctr.
    tnbutterfly likes this.
  8. 0
    Thanks everyone who has answered. and for this site. As things stand now, I am going to start out as grief counciling and am setting up suicide survivors support group. I just found out I received scholarship money to go to Rhode Island in May to become a facilitator for my rural area--as there is no programs out here. I am also going to be a 1:1 immediate responder for families/friends in those first days after a suicide has occurred.

    I lost both my brothers to suicide and believe that God is showing me how I can help in this way. I hope to stay healthy enough to implement this and try to get some teaching done in our school systems. My biggest challenge is that I have so much I want to accomplish and then my body betrays me and I end up in hosp as pt. (have not been able to work since 2003.

    If you are reading this say a little prayer that my body holds out as long as my mind does. It gets very frustrating when you can't do what you feel you were put on this earth to do.

    Enough of my pity party. I will keep updated on this post and let all knowhow things are going.
  9. 0
    Zumalong,
    I have had interest in doing Parish nursing but I am a new grad and just try to learn as much as I can now.... maybe later down the road.
    I hope that everything works out well for you. God will lead you down the right path!
  10. 0
    Yes, a Parish Nurse needs a great deal of rich experience... one should not try to do it as a new nurse. Please see the posting I made on another site for my particular experience as a Certified Parish Nurse in a Cathedral setting... certainly not an experience for a "newbie"... but, in the end, God turns out feeble attempts to help into goodness... if we allow it. He is gracious and full of compassion! After all, it is Him Who is running the show!


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