Faith Community Nursing reignited Jo's passion
"Nurses have that ability to to see people individually and minister to them in a personal way, but I also recognise how nurses within different denominations interact with people – I like the way other nurses approach their members who need their help."
Jo's call to Faith Community Nursing
Jo Little, from Auckland's North Shore, had taken a complete break from nursing for a number of years, and when she started to consider returning to the profession – she wasn't sure how. One day she was sitting in a café and opened a Challenge magazine and read an article that changed the course of her life. "I came across an article about Margaret Chiaroni – a Faith Community Nurse working alongside St John Anglican in Northcote," she says. "I met with Margaret and found that the next Faith Community Nurses Conference was being held in a few weeks' time, and just five minutes away from me – I took it as a sign from above!" From there her journey towards Faith Community Nursing began.
Making the role work for her
In order to better prepare herself to serve as a Faith Community Nurse, Jo first sought out experience in primary care nursing. She first found work as a prison nurse, then as a practice nurse. Once she felt ready, she approached her church care team leader and offered her services to the congregation. Initially she wasn't sure how the role would work, but quickly Jo found her place; first working with the young mums through the Mothers of Preschoolers programme, and then with the wider church congregation.
Jo now balances her work as a paid practice nurse with one day a week as a voluntary Faith Community Nurse at her church. She works with the mothers in the morning and in the afternoon she phones and visits those with specific health needs, often post operatively and mainly the senior members of the congregation. "It is extremely rewarding supporting people through their treatments, and seeing results during difficult times for these precious lives," she says. "My role is to support the families; caring for them by offering advice, comfort and prayer." Jo has worked with people with difficult health or social issues. They have included cancer issues with a young family, encouraging a young solo mother with five boys and helping families deal with end of life journeys of a spouse or parent.
Benefits of belonging to NZFCNA
Jo says she wouldn't hesitate to recommend Faith Community Nursing to someone who was considering their next move within the nursing profession, and looking for a supported voluntary role. "I would really like to encourage them to do so. The hard part is just finding the time and being able to give yourself in this way," she says. "I discovered that God is the foundation, and my time being there has cemented many friendships with many groups of people, both in and out of the church. I thank Jesus for guiding me and opening those doors so amazingly. "It has been such a wonderful privilege to look back over the years and see how God has shaped that role for me. Me, who had very little confidence and ability in this particular role, but I play my ragged chopsticks, and God plays the beautiful melody over it."
Jo Little Community Church Nurse – Windsor Park Baptist Church, Mairangi Bay Auckland.