Starting a PN ministry

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    Hi everyone! We just started a new parish nursing ministry in our church. I have researched off and on about PN for over a year. We do not have a budget and the church has some questions. I contacted 2 lawyers and they both gave two different answers regarding liability. Of course the answer I liked came from a Christian lawyer.
    Q: Do we have to have a medical director? (that one came from our paramedic)
    Q: If we offer screenings, how do we go about getting around liability?
    Q: Has anyone taken these online or correspondence courses for PN?

    Well, that's all for now. Thanks for you help! Leilani

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  2. 20 Comments...

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    Hi, Leilani! Congratulations on starting a parish nurse ministry. I have been a parish nurse for about 2 years, and really love it. To answer your questions - I do not have a medical director; I work autonomously as a registered nurse. I have nursing liability insurance and I am also covered under the church's liability insurance (for things like child abuse, etc). I don't do ANY invasive techniques (even fingersticks for glucose) so liability isn't much of an issue. Screenings are done by outside agencies (like the Health Dept.) so they assume liability. I have been told that about the only thing a parish nurse can be sued for is ignoring someone that threatens suicide.
    I haven't done any online parish nurse courses, but I did go to a 40-hour parish nurse orientation that a local hospital provided. I got more information out of reading books and journals, though
    Hope this helps!
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    Originally posted by lynswim
    I got more information out of reading books and journals
    Lyn [/B]
    Would you share your book and journal list? What was the best source of useful information?
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    The Journal of Christian Nursing has alot of good articles on parish nursing. I like the books "Parish Nursing: Promoting Whole Person Health within Faith Communities" by Solari-Twaddell and "Nursing in the Church" by Shelly.
    Found a new website this week with alot of parish nurse books:
    One book, Interaction by Solari-Twaddell, has paperwork for parish nurses.
    Keep in touch and let me know how it goes!
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    Quote from lynswim
    One book, Interaction by Solari-Twaddell, has paperwork for parish nurses.
    Keep in touch and let me know how it goes!
    Lyn, do you mean Integration: A Documentation System Reporting Whole Person Care by Lisa Burkhart and edited by Ann Solari-Twadell? I can't find anyone selling this on-line. One website said it was out of print, others just don't have it. Any idea where I could get my hands on a copy?
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    The Eden bookstore shows that they have a book on documentation by Solari-Twaddell - but I haven't actually seen it
    Personally, I don't do much documentation - when I do a home visit I will do a fairly thorough assessment of the parishioner and the home environment (documented on a flow sheet). Otherwise, I make notes on index cards using SOAP format.
    Hope this helps!
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    Thanks for your insight! I'm trying to "birth" this program in our parish. Can I ask you how you began? Did you introduce the concept through the church bulletin, or did your priest/pastor speak about it? Did you send out questionarres or surveys for parishioner input? When you make a visit, are you doing a holistic assessment of living conditions, personal health and safety, family or other support systems, spiritual needs or opportunities to enhance such, and then the completion of a "data base" for their file (do you have a file or chart for each parishioner you visit?), then just the changes that come up? Do you do demographic analysis for the parish in order for them to see what work is being done? For example, do you do a monthly or quarterly report detailing # of clients seen, # of participants attending a support group, # of referals you've made, # of clients you've counseled on health, etc?

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    I am actually a parish nurse through a local hospital system. The hospital provides parish nurse training and monthly meetings. I was hired by the pastor, though, not the hospital (I wasn't a member of this church before I started this job). The pastor formally introduced me at services and dinners.
    Basically, I did alot of education about parish nursing when I first started - office hours, what services I provided, etc. I put announcements in bulletins, made speeches at fellowship dinners, etc. I have a bulletin board where I put all sorts of information.
    I did a congregational health study when I first arrived - passed it out on Wednesday night (that's when the largest number of parishioners come). It was a 2 page questionnaire asking about demographic info (age, sex),health concerns (weight loss, spiritual counseling, etc) and I arranged speakers and got information on the top scoring topics (weight loss is a very hot topic!).
    I do a holistic assessment like you described when I do home visits. It usually takes me more than 1 visit to get all the info, though, and I do keep a file on my homebound clients, and just add info as needed. I usually keep a big file on just the homebound clients - otherwise, I use index cards to remind me to call a person about their test results, etc. My memory isn't as good as it used to be
    I do a monthly report for my pastor and the hospital with the kind of information you were mentioning. Our reports get sorta detailed, though - # of phone calls, hospital visits, home visits, emails, informal contacts, blood pressure clinics, etc.
    Sounds like you already have a great idea of where you want to be and how to get there!
    Let me know how it goes!
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    So then is parish nursing a full time job, or is it volunteered and one works another "regular" paying nursing position.....

    I've always been interested in pro bono work and have also given a lot away because I just couldn't push people to pay what they owed (lol). I have strong feelings about doing good and helping others, and am a spiritual person, but am not active in any congregation at this time. I have been very active in the past, but for a variety of reasons, am not now.

    So, is this something I could do? I am a new graduate and not in a huge rush because I'm not sure I know enough to do anyone much good yet, but I'm investigating the sorts of nursing I think I would enjoy, and this was one of the top three.

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    I too am interested in Parish Nursing. Are there paying positions out there? If so, how would you suggest I bring this up at my church? I am looking for a career change. Have done home health and Worker's Comp. Parish Nursing seems to be right up my alley. I am a Jesus freak!!!

    I am sure I will have many more questions.


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