Is parish nursing for you?

By Carlo Piraino. Dr. Carlo Piraino, RN, served in the U.S. Navy (1981-1998). He works for the VA as associate director for Health Care Services and chief nurse executive. A member of St. Paul, Tomah, Wis., he serves as secretary of the WELS Parish Nurse Council.

“…so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13)

Why do we encourage Christians to maintain optimal health? To better serve the Lord and his people! Parish nursing is an independent, non-invasive, health and wellness practice within a congregation. Unlike typical nursing positions, parish nursing is always focused on the “intentional care of the spirit.” What might that look like in our churches? WELS parish nurses are always seeking opportunities to keep God’s precious people connected to Word and Sacrament.

  • A parish nurse might visit shut-ins, bringing along a listening ear, referrals to community resources, and a prayer and devotion reminding them of God’s love and promises.
  • A parish nurse can help a church make its campus accessible for people of all ages and all abilities. • A parish nurse will use the time before and after services to listen to people, recognizing the opportunity to provide emotional support and to remind people that our loving Lord is with them as they face the challenges of the day.
  • All this in addition to offering health education and health counseling! With their special gifts and talents, parish nurses can impact our congregations with “intentional care of the spirit.” Prayerfully consider serving your congregation as a parish nurse.

 

 

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When faith hurts: Responding to the spiritual impact of child abuse

By Victor I. Vieth. Victor Vieth is a former child abuse prosecutor who went on to direct the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. He is the founder and senior director of the National Child Protection Training Center, a program of Gundersen Health System. He is a member of St. John, Lewiston, Minn.

It is to the little children we must preach; it is for them that the entire ministry exists. – Martin Luther

The physical and emotional tolls of child abuse are well-known, but few appreciate its spiritual impact. According to 34 studies involving more than 19,000 abused children, a majority were affected spiritually. This may happen when an offender uses religious rationale, such as telling a child he is being beaten because of the child’s sinfulness. Or an abuser may cite a child’s biological reaction to sexual touching as proof the child is equally to blame for her own victimization. Even if the abuse is not in the name of religion, many children will have spiritual questions, for example, why God did not answer a prayer to stop the abuse. If the church does not help abused children suffering spiritually, research suggests that many will eventually leave the church, even abandon their faith. Yet the church has often ignored the needs of these children. To better prepare our called workers, all students at Martin Luther College receive training in recognizing and responding to cases of child abuse, with additional training provided at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. In addition, Special Ministries’ Committee on Mental Health Needs has formed a task force, Freedom for the Captives, to develop materials and training so that our churches can better help abused children in our congregations and communities. These materials will be available on a website and in other formats. Churches can also utilize these tools:

  • Child protection policies. Some studies indicate that most child molesters are religious and that the worst offenders are often active members of their church. One reason: the faith community often has weak child protection policies in its schools, Sunday schools, sports programs, and camps. If your school or church does not have rigorous child protection policies, or if you are simply not sure, speak with one or more child abuse experts who can assist you in implementing or improving your policies.
  • Training. Policies without training are often ineffective. Pastors, teachers, and church youth workers should be trained how to recognize and respond to abuse and to understand the importance of policies in deterring offenders. Instructing our children in personal safety measures is also critical, so that children know what to do if someone sexually abuses them or otherwise violates them. When done appropriately, such education is not frightening and may empower a child who is being abused to reach out to a teacher or pastor for help.
  • Sermons. Many survivors have said they never approached their pastor for help because they never heard him give a sermon about abuse, mention the topic in Bible class, or address it in any other manner. Many survivors believe the pastor simply won’t understand their pain and, like the offender, will blame them for the abuse. Meanwhile, many offenders sit smugly in the pews, confident the church will never speak out against child abuse. For the sake of the victims, we need to change this dynamic. Jesus said it would be better to be tossed into the sea with a millstone around one’s neck than to damage the faith of a boy or girl (Matthew 18:6). When it comes to this sin, our Savior’s warning has often fallen on deaf ears. As a result, children have suffered needlessly and offenders are emboldened to strike again. Owing a debt of love, and aware that our Savior will ask us to give an accounting of the children he has placed in our care, we must pray for and act on their behalf.

 

 

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Confirming a deaf adult

By Beverly Nehls, Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. A retired teacher, she is the mother of two deaf adult sons

Talk about a challenge! Instructing any adult for confirmation can be a difficult task, depending on their level of commitment and communication. But confirming a deaf adult? Where do I begin? How do I communicate with the person? How do I know if the person understands what I am teaching? WELS Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has completed a rework of the adult instruction manual By Grace Alone by Pastor Rolfe Westendorf (NPH, 1979). By Grace Alone: An Instruction Manual for Deaf Adults uses simple, short sentences and Scripture quotes from The Holy Bible: English Version for the Deaf. This manual should be used with a sign interpreter, a flow-through communicator who is not expected to do explaining. These days, sign interpreters are available via smart phones or tablets using a service called “Video Remote Interpreting.” If the deaf person is a good reader of English and a good lip-reader (understands what is being said by looking at the person’s lips while hearing little or no sound), the teacher might use the usual Bible Information Class (BIC) material. However, lipreading is difficult, inexact, and exhausting. New terminology adds challenges. One-on-one is best for understanding and encourages questions. Some deaf people do not speak, are poor readers of English, and do not lip-read at all. They often rely solely on American Sign Language (ASL) as their language for communication. ASL is not equal to English, because it has a different sentence structure. When an ASL user is asked to write something, the English is often poor and the person appears uneducated. He often is not good at reading English either. Reading and understanding the usual BIC material is challenging; therefore, it is strongly suggested that the new manual be used with this group. This instruction manual for deaf adults is available at no charge from:

WELS Special Ministries
N16 W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: 414-256-3241
E-mail: specialministries@wels.net

 

 

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News & Notes – Spring 2015

  • The 2015 Wisconsin Lutheran College Online Parish Nurse Course will be offered in early fall. Dr. Carlo Piraino will teach the six week online course, requiring about three hours of work each week, consisting of independent study, project work and online discussion groups. The Antioch II Foundation has provided a wonderful matching grant to help with the course tuition costs. Now is the time to be talking to your pastor of your interest in serving as a parish nurse in your congregation. Download the Parish Nurse Starter Kit from www.welsnurses.net and give him a copy of the “WELS Parish Nurse Guidelines” and the “Word to Pastors.” He would be welcome to contact Pastor Jim Behringer, director of Special Ministries, with any questions. jim.behringer@wels.net More info at www.welsnurses.net. More questions? E-mail welsnurses@wels.net.
  • SAVE THE DATE – The Fall Parish Nurse Gathering is scheduled for October 17th @ Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, WI.
  • Do you have an AED on your Church/School campus? – Leading the effort toward the purchase, the training of church, school staff and ushers and the maintenance or documentation of a new AED might be a great way for a “nurse in the parish” to use her gifts. Make your willingness to explore the possibility known to your pastor and/or elder and many times they will give the OK to gather information and make a proposal to the church council. Funds may not be immediately available but the seed can be planted for some future memorial funds to be donated. An active church campus with many people coming and going make the need for an AED a possibility statistically as in any other public building. Purchasing the same brand as your local EMS is helpful. Training DVD’s come with the purchase of an AED making the yearly training and review easy to do. Questions? Feel free to ask us. Many congregations have an AED on campus now!
  • At the WELSNA Spring Conference the Wisconsin Lutheran College/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship was awarded to Joseph Sallazo, a current junior from Caledonia, WI. His home congregation is St. Johns, Oak Creek, WI, and he is honored to be the recipient of the WELSNA Scholarship. Please remember him and the other students in your prayers as they prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world. More information on the WLC/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship is available at www.welsnurses.net.

 

 

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Porn is pandemic

By Caleb Schultz

I moved to Atlanta just after Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to Emory University Hospital. Of all the places to bring a man with Ebola, they chose MY CITY, even as Americans were thinking: “Keep Ebola as far away as possible!” Since then, only one person in the United States has died from Ebola, and it wasn’t Dr. Brantly. By percentages, we’re doing well: we have a better chance of dying by shark attack while being struck by lightning than from Ebola.

Now look at percentages for a far worse disease, one that many people are not trying to cure but are actually trying to contract. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography.1 And that’s just those who acknowledge that pornography is sinful and admit they have a problem.

If those numbers are accurate, then we might conservatively estimate that 35% of the people who read this article struggle with pornography. Those 35% live with an illness that slowly kills the soul by attacking their relationship with God.

Maybe you live with this disease, and with its accompanying darkness, guilt, and frustration. Maybe you know that place all too well. In that place it can feel like no one, not even God, could love you. Even though you know Jesus died for your sins, you feel unworthy of that forgiveness. Friend, you’re absolutely right.

But even when you feel like God shouldn’t love you because of what you have done, remember what he has done. Remember what that One – who knows everything about you – did for you and for every person trapped by pornography.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” (1 Peter 2:24)

Like Ebola, porn can be deadly, but not to your body. Pornography attacks your soul. A person infected with Ebola needs help, and so do you. A great place to start healing is at a website called “Conquerors through Christ.” (www.conquerorsthroughchrist.net) Go there! Begin to leave that awful, dark place you know all too well. It won’t be easy, but Dr. Jesus and his medicine of forgiveness are working for you.

A perfect cure for Ebola is not yet known, but your perfect Savior gave you his perfection in exchange for all your sexual sins, including pornography. Because he suffered the shame of the cross, God sees you as pure and perfect, without wrinkle or stain or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

The Conquerors through Christ team is praying for you. Ask trusted friends to pray for you. May God protect you from temptation and remind you that, in Christ, you are alive, free, and victorious.

1 http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/ Accessed 10/28/14

 

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From a secular bedside to a Christ-centered classroom

By Jessica Washburn, instructor of nursing at Wisconsin Lutheran College

I pursued a career in nursing through a public university after attending a Lutheran Elementary School and a Lutheran High School. Four years later and having earned a BSN degree, I entered the secular world of nursing. As a nurse in the Midwest and the West Coast, I encountered co-workers and patients from many different countries, speaking different languages, and believing in different religions and gods.

My family returned to Wisconsin a year ago, and I was asked to adjunct at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s (WLC) School of Nursing. I have always enjoyed working with student and graduate nurses; teaching these WLC students in a clinical setting did not disappoint. I accepted a full time call to WLC in August. Higher education is definitely a new area of nursing that I have come to enjoy and about which I still have much to learn. I am impressed that my students come to an 8:00 a.m. Monday morning lectured prepared and ready to learn.

I am now able to work openly from a Christ-centered viewpoint knowing that my students and co-workers understand one another’s beliefs and the college’s mission. I can stand in front of the classroom and tell these students what a wonderful world of nursing God has made for us, despite them learning and seeing disorders and diseases of each body system.

The opportunity to attend chapel each day is an aspect I never anticipated being part of my daily life. Attending chapel is something I was never able to do in college. During difficult and stressful times, chapel services allow the students and I to take a break and focus on what really matters in life. This past week, the students and I were discussing the differences in doctrine that we at WLC believe compared to other Christian entities to which they’ve been exposed. This open communication of religion is an aspect of teaching at WLC these students would not be able to encounter at many other colleges.

I often reflect upon what I have encountered as a bedside nurse over the past decade. I remember profanity being yelled by colleagues (both physicians and nurses) and having families cry over the passing of their loved one, believing in everything but Christ. These were rough days, but there were also rewarding days. I enjoyed watching my own Pastor come to my unit and have a devotion with a patient—realizing in the semi-private room the other patient behind the curtain is intently listening. Being able to teach in a Christian environment has opened my eyes to the importance of Christ-centered education. The value of daily chapel, faculty meetings that start with a devotion, and knowing my students can receive Christian answers from any professor is a gift from God. I am now a part of WLC, helping these students prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world.

 

 

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Childhood Immunizations

By Diane Lamm, RN, BSN

There’s a lot of buzz about the topic of childhood immunizations lately. Some say vaccines cause autism and other illnesses. Others say it’s irresponsible to not vaccinate your children. As a nurse, you may find people coming to you for answers, so you ought to be prepared with some answers.

First of all, we need to make clear that there is not a doctrinal point of view on this topic. A person’s faith and status as a child of God does not depend on whether or not they choose to vaccinate their children.

As nurses, our opinions should be based on science. What does the research say about the safety of vaccines? We do know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor and research vaccines on a regular basis. In fact their Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) has information on more than 21 million individuals who have collectively received over 134 million vaccine doses (McNeil et al, 2014). Their research has helped to develop the best schedule for vaccine administration, determined populations that are at risk for side effects, and confirmed the safety of vaccines through post-marketing clinical trials.

One of the most common vaccine issues in the news lately has been the link of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. Where did that idea come from? There was a study done in England back in 1998. The doctor studied 12 children. Think of that – 12 children out of the millions that get the MMR vaccine. No one was ever able to reproduce his results and he has since had his medical license taken away for fraud – it turned out that he was trying to sell a single component vaccine and was in line to make millions if he could convince people that the MMR vaccine was unsafe. While his original findings got a lot of publicity and altered the rates of vaccination, the debunking of his study did not.

As nurses, how can we communicate this issue to parents who come to us for advice? One way is to explain the theory of cause and effect. Just because B follows A, it cannot be assumed that A caused B. Autism spectral disorder is usually discovered at about 15-18 months of age – this is because that is when language delays are typically noticed. The MMR vaccine is given between 12-15 months of age. Does one cause the other? So far, science has not been able to prove that.

As stated above, there are side effects from vaccines and there are certain populations that should not receive certain vaccines. It is important to know these things so that we protect and educate our patients. If a person has had a serious side effect to a previous vaccine, that person should not get a second dose. Hopefully, if others have been immunized against that disease, the person will be protected through “herd immunity.” Herd immunity means that if enough of the population is immunized against a certain disease, it is less likely to spread to those who couldn’t get immunized – children and adults with cancer, those who are immunocompromised, or those who are not yet old enough to receive the vaccine.

So, take some time to make sure you know the facts about immunizations and be prepared to share your knowledge, accepting that the person you are educating has the right to make their own decision.

McNeil, M. M., Gee, J., Weintraub, E. S., Belongia, E. A., Lee, G. M., Glanz, J. M., . . . DeStefano, F. (2014). The vaccine safety datalink: Successes and challenges monitoring vaccine safety. Vaccine, 32(42), 5390-8. doi:http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.073

 

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