Parish Nursing (14 February 2016)

What follows is a summary of information shared in a presentation at the Cathedral on the morning of 14 February 2016.

At present we do not have a Parish Nurse practicing at the Cathedral. Isabel Cutler held this role, and calling for the last 11 years, and she retired in December of 2015.



What the Parish Nurse does for our Cathedral Congregation (In-reach)

The Parish Nurse

  • ministers to us at a grass roots level on a daily basis when we are in crisis, or when we need a helping hand
  • coordinates obtaining assistance for us, whether it be
    • providing meals and arranging for rides or accompanying us to office visits
    • arranging for prayer shawls to be given to us or our family members who needed them and always upholding us in prayer
    • completing home assessments i.e. arranging and planning for assistance in the home
    • assisting us to navigate the health care system
    • referring/partnering with physicians, Social Development and other services to obtain needed health care and home services, and
    • filling in the gaps in the health care system.

Client Contacts in 2015:

  • 380 contacts with congregational members
  • 102 hospital and home visits
  • 167 telephone visits/consultations
  • worked 773 hours, on call 24/7
  • organized events where 830 clients attended, and
  • coordinated the many volunteers in the Health Ministry.

Confidentiality: Much of the care and ministry that the Parish Nursing team offered was confidential. There are strict privacy standards and provincial legislation to protect the privacy of our personal health information. In a faith community this can be a challenge, but the Parish Nurse upheld this standard.

Comments from parishioners:

  • “Your kindness and thoughtfulness have been appreciated by Mom in her tough journey.”
  • “The shawl has been such a comfort. It is as though God is wrapping His loving arms around me and filling me with His Peace and Love.”
  • “The comfort it gave me to know that I could call Isabel and ask for help. All I had to do was make one phone call, and help was there, in the form of a prayer shawl, meals, and more importantly prayer!”
  • “Isabel saved my life.”

health2 What the Parish Nurse does for our Wider Community (Outreach):

The Parish Nurse has

  • made partnerships with the wider community to draw people into our community and to Christ
  • established growing partnerships with Horizon Health Authority and Social Development
  • developed partnerships with Community Health Clinics, including the Downtown Clinic
  • collaborated with UNB Nursing students to participate in the Monday Morning Outreach activities
  • assisted in providing space in the Hall and support for Prenatal Classes and a Breastfeeding Support Group, and
  • was anticipating providing space for Social Workers and Counsellors to meet with clients in the Hall.

Why do we need to continue this ministry?

Congregational trust, expectation and reliance: The members of our congregation

  • have developed trust and expectation that we will continue to support them when needed, and
  • are relying on the Parish Nurse and the Health Ministry Team.

Christian Witness: What better example of Christian ministry and discipleship to the Diocese could we offer? We may be able to work with other parishes in supporting their congregations to develop this ministry.

Professional community partnerships: This is an opportunity to draw people into our community, to draw them into the love of God, while at the same time allowing us to reach out to them in love and service. We do not want to lose this momentum that the Parish Nurse Ministry has established.

nursing_handsWhat will we lose without a Parish Nurse?

  • No Parish Nurse to minister to us as noted above.
  • No Coordinator for the Health Ministry Team. The Monthly Teas and the Prayer Shawl Ministry will continue as the volunteers are able to support. The Helping Hands and the Cathedral Visitors will eventually cease if there is no coordination (also the Blood Pressure Clinics, Health Information Sessions, Fit Club, etc.).
  • No expansion of community partnerships e. outreach to the wider community

Funding: Bishop and Chapter supports the concept of hiring a Parish Nurse, but at the moment sufficient funds are not available. Money is the issue. The Health Ministry Team is working with Bishop and Chapter to provide a solution to obtaining funding for a salaried part-time Parish Nurse position.

We have a long-time congregational member who has undertaken the Parish Nursing Certification Training (funded by the Cathedral) and feels she has a vocation to this ministry. She is willing to take on this role.

Dr. Chris Stevenson
On behalf of the Cathedral Heath Ministry Team
14 February 2016


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