Published Jan 28, 2002
I HAVE BEEN A NURSE NOW FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS. I HAVE WORKED WITH THE ELDERLY, A CANCER CENTER AND NOW THE OPERATING ROOM. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A CHANGE AND FIND THAT PARISH NURSING HAS A CALLING FOR ME. I HAVE MY BSN IN NURSING. DO I NEED A MASTERS? WHERE AND HOW DO I GET STARTED? MY COMMUNITY IS NOT FAMILIAR WITH THIS TYPE OF NURSING, HOW DO I MAKE IT KNOWN? IS THERE ANY ONE OUT THERE WHO COULD PLEASE HELP ME GET STARTED. I REALLY DO FEEL A SPECIAL CALLING FOR THIS POSITION.
I happen to be researching Parish Nursing for myself. There was a really good column on this a while back. Perhaps you can have Brian (one of the moderators/admin people) to pull it up for you.
Here is the information that I have about Parish Nursing. Hope it helps you:
The International Parish Nurse Resource Center
205 W. Touhy, Suite # 124
Park Ridge, IL 60068
1(800)556-5368/FAX # 847-692-5109
email: [email protected]
They will mail a packet of information to you that will tell you all you need to know to get started.
Best of everything to you in your career! :)
Did you receive the information you needed? The International Parish Nurse Resource Center has moved, so I would be happy to put together some info for you, and get you the new address. Just e-mail me.
You are right! I just received mail from the new Parish Nurse location myself. I'm going to their website soon to read all about their new updates. :)
Pardon my ignorance, but what is Parish Nursing?
Let me first respond by telling you of the forum site on this BB. Here tis:
Here is a copy of an article that will explain Parish Nursing on this BB under Parish Nursing:
Parish nurses aid the whole person
How can one preacher minister to six hospitalized church members, four grieving widows, one marriage crisis, three couples dealing with aging parents and 30 shut-ins?
With the assistance of a parish nurse, that's how.
Several area churches utilize the services of trained parish nurses, including New Virginia United Methodist Church in Hermitage and Covenant and First Presbyterian churches, both in Sharon.
According to Carla VanDale, the parish nurse of First Presbyterian, parish nursing has been around for centuries. Deaconesses of the early church provided important health care support, meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of congregants.
However, it was not until the 1960s that physician-turned-pastor Granger Westberg found a link between the vocation of nursing and a role in ministering to the whole person: body, mind and spirit, noted Sue Williamson, parish nurse of Covenant Presbyterian.
Westberg founded Parish Nursing Institute, Chicago, and began a training process for educating parish nurses.
"A parish nurse has to be a registered nurse," said Mrs. VanDale, who also holds a masters degree in counseling. "Very few nurses know of this ministry."
Recently Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh and Waynesburg (Pa.) College of Nursing began offering the Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Course based on the standardized curricula endorsed through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center.
Mrs. VanDale, a member of New Wilmington Presbyterian Church, has been a parish nurse at First Presbyterian for four years. "When I became aware of parish nursing, this church was looking for one. I felt immediately that parish nursing was an ideal mixture of my nursing and counseling."
Rose Young, a parish nurse and member of New Virginia church, believes that parish nursing is a calling that combines nursing and spiritual skills to assist in the church's ministry of reaching out and helping the whole person.
Today's parish nurses follow a Bible reference from Luke 9:2, that they are "...to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick."
The five basic tenants of parish nursing are: providing health education and promotion, doing personal health counseling, and being a community resource liaison, a promoter of wholistic health and an organizer, trainer and coordinator of volunteers.
However, it is a decision for each church and individual parish nurse to decide the focus of the ministry. With the assistance of the pastor and/or church leaders, the priorities of the parish nurse are established by determining the needs of the church.
A paid parish nurse, Mrs. VanDale's primary work is pastoral care, focusing on hospital visitation, crisis intervention and education while working closely with the pastor.
A volunteer parish nurse and member of Covenant, Mrs. Williamson has focused on education and community advocacy since beginning in 1990.
"Patients sometimes receive conflicting information from many different doctors and agencies and I help sift through that information," she said.
Mrs. Young, who has been an official, unpaid parish nurse at New Virginia for four years, has been "doing some of these things on and off for years," she said.
Although their duties differ by church need, all three nurses aid their church members by doing blood pressure readings, teaching nutrition and answering health questions. Through these basic duties, the parish nurse gets to know the people.
If, for example, signs of depression are seen, the nurse can assess the whole person by asking questions about nutrition, exercise and family problems. At that point, a referral could be given to see a doctor or a psychologist, or to have the patient's medication reevaluated. The parish nurse also may contact a family member about the matter.
Parish nurses say the church should treat the whole person: body, mind and spirit.
"In a secular world, you can be restricted in combining body, mind and spirit unless invited," Mrs. VanDale said. "Yet we are free to combine the three in the church setting."
"We are able to talk about how an impending surgery will affect all aspects of a person's life, including their spirit and mind," Mrs. Williamson noted.
Parish nursing differs from a minister's duties and a church's congregational care or the ministry of deacons or corresponding committees. "They focus on spirituality, but few people, unless they have a medical background, can address the physical piece," Mrs. VanDale said.
"The pastor goes first to visit, then the parish nurse and finally the committee gets involved, setting up meals and transportation," explained Mrs. Young. "Some duties cross paths but we work together."
All three women said they feel parish nursing should be expanded in duties and in the acceptance of the positive and healing role parish nurses play within a congregation and community. Mrs. Young said that she would like to see a parish nurse in every church.
A parish nurse care receiver, Nancy Helmuth, Masury, said she has a close relationship with her parish nurse, Mrs. Williamson.
"She is the same person I see all the time and knows my fears and concerns while addressing my physical and spiritual questions," said Mrs. Helmuth. "Ministers are great but they are too busy and have many other people to see. Parish nursing is a great thing. I don't know why more people don't take advantage of them."
Let us know if you have any more questions....
A big thanks to all who posted information about Parish Nursing. I am encouraged by your comments. I have recently been approached about participating in this arena and feel a strong pull in that direction. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.
A dream is a wish your heart makes.
Good luck with your work in parish nursing. I think a good explaination about parish nursing is - that it helps people take care of their most preciuos gift from God . . . their life.
As nurses we can already teach the risk factors but they are not heard. As parish nurses we can combine a meaning and purpose to take care of ones self. This may help our nation reduce the high percentage of life style disease that we have.
We abuse ourselves with excess of food, alcohol and drugs, we negelect to exercise and take responsibility for our 'vessel of life on earth - our body'. We forget to honor and glorify God with our work, our actions and our relationships - all of them.
If we bring God into our lives we might care for our precious gift with greater reverance. It is the intention of living that will have a higher quality. The end result will be healthier people.
I have been coordinating a hospital based program since 1994 and think it is a wonderful practice.
Good luck and I am glad you heard the call.
As I care for and comfort my client today, Be there with me O Lord I pray. Make my words kind for it means so much. And in my hands place your healing touch. Let your love shine through all that I do, so that those in need may hear and feel you.
We have defined our ministry as a volunteer health ministry practiced by those who are called by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit to serve the Church Community. The ministry is a loving and meaningful presence, which reflects the compassionate healing love of Jesus. Caring ministers respond to the needs of individuals and/or groups in order to promote health and wholeness of body, mind and soul.
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