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conversations with Parish Nurses

Report of conversations with Parish Nurses and other interested people while travelling in Canada and England

While visiting Vancouver, Canada from 22/07/11 till 26/07/11 I was in conversation with two Anglican clergy resident in that area. Parish nursing is established in some parts of Canada but was an unknown quantity in this case.

I expanded on the concept of Parish nursing which is to promote individual and community health and well-being through education, counseling, pastoral support, information and referral, and care management services. Nurses seek to integrate body, mind and spirit, and nurture the growth towards wholeness in and through Jesus Christ the Source of healing.

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Paula Baynes

PaulaBaynesI have been working as a Faith Community Nurse for over two years , having practised as a Registered Nurse in various fields over 40 years.

My journey is about Mr F, an 87 year old gentleman, living on his own, who I met soon after I'd commenced as a Faith Community Nurse. One of my parishioners asked me to accompany him to his local GP each month for BP checks and review of his medication.

The parishioner is Korean and speaks and understands limited English and wanted me to explain things slowly afterwards. At the end of the first visit, I told the doctor I was now parish nursing and if he knew of anyone in the area who needed my assistance, I'd be happy to visit and help out where needed. He immediately told me about Mr F, who was in the early stages of dementia. Mr F's only child (a son) lived in Australia and there were few people to keep an eye on him. I said I would visit him. Strangely, the following Sunday morning as I was parking to go into church, Mr F walked past my car. I recognised him because his wife, who I'd known when she had worked at the local medical centre years before, had been in the same rest home as my mother-in-law and Mr F used to visit his wife when we were visiting, so I felt as if I already knew him. I said hello, told him who I was and that I was the new parish nurse and would he like me to visit him some time. He smiled and said that would be nice.

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Who is a Pastoral/Parish Nurse?

To the questions "Who is a Pastoral/Parish Nurse and what does she/he do?" I offer these thoughts from my experience as a Parish Nurse for the past 4 years in a medium-sized rural town and parish. I really appreciate that God has given me this opportunity to nurse in this way in the latter part of my life.

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Parish community nursing is active within the Pacific communities

pacific communities"How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people to live together in harmony. That is where the Lord has promised his blessings...Life that never ends' Psalm 133:1,3

Parish Community Nurses have been employed to work within the Pacific Communities of Auckland within what is known as Healthy Village Action Zones (HVAZ). HVAZ is the concept of building healthy Pacific communities with access to quality health care. HVAZ is about community led development, which is owned by Pacific communities, and looks after the physical, social and spiritual needs of Pacific peoples.

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Anne's Story

Anne.....vibrant beautiful woman who, at 39 years had a subarachnoid haemorrhage 3 years ago.

She was a loving wife, mother of two small boys, caring daughter to two aging sick parents and active ACC case manager.

I was privileged to worship at the same church as Anne and was very aware that to receive Holy Communion was as important to her as food and water.

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Larry's Story

I am a Faith Community Nurse working in the Catholic Church Community and want to share about a beautiful person in our fold, his name is Larry, and how he taught me that my ways are not necessarily his ways!

Larry is stone deaf, always appeared unkempt, and comes across as a real loner. He rides his bike to Mass every Sunday, never misses and sits usually up near the front of the church among the 'nice ladies'. When the sermon is long, Larry has been known to flap open his church newspaper and block the speaker from view, which doesn't seem to faze the Priests. I guess from Larry's point of view, when one can't hear the sermon, may as well read something of interest.

As Parish Nurse, my concern for some months was that Larry had developed a seemingly upset stomach, belching very loudly (which one maybe would do if one couldn't hear.) As the months went on, even the children had become used to the loud explosions and had ceased them to giggle.

As a Parish Nurse, I decided it was time that I visited this man of faith and sorted out his worrying gas problems. I thought maybe he had a terminal condition and required me to minister to him medically and spiritually. As a back up, I enlisted the company of Father David the Parish Priest, I actually wondered if he may be in need of the last Sacrament or at the very least a referral to a Gastroenterologist.

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Mr Williams

Mr. Williams* arrived early for his appointment. He was our first client of the day. I saw him waiting in his car outside the Clinic so I went to invite him in. He loudly apologised for being early, but was so pleased to be there he did not want to miss his appointment. He carefully maneuvered himself out of his small 4WD, stepped over the stones and awkwardly climbed the two steps to the Clinic door. I greeted our very first client to our Nail Care Clinic as I showed him to our room.

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