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What Does A Parish Nurse Do?

Parish nursing is the opportunity for nurses to use their skills to promote both physical and spiritual wellness in their congregation. Parish nurses can help their church share God’s love among those with special needs related to health.

What would parish nursing look like at your church? It depends! Each parish nurse program is unique.

Do you have a lot of young people with families? Maybe your program would include visiting new moms at home, asking questions about how they are handling the emotions and responsibility involved with a new child, and lending a listening ear and advice for the trials of fatigue, worries, and stress of parenthood.

Is there a preschool or grade school? You could give presentations on health for each of the classrooms and conduct height, weight, and vision screenings. You could volunteer your time to be at the school to assist with children feeling ill, nose bleeds, and other bumps and bruises from the playground.

Do you have someone who was just diagnosed with breast cancer? Maybe your program would involve lining up volunteers to drive the individual to her chemo or radiation appointments, bring her meals, and send her words of encouragement in cards and letters.

Maybe your church has multiple veterans who are struggling to fit back into normal society and are dealing with guilt over surviving a deployment that took the life of their friends. Perhaps your program could become familiar with a Lutheran resource that you can point these young men and women to that can help them with counseling, support, and purpose found only in the Bible.

Perhaps you have many elderly members who are no longer able to come to worship on Sunday morning, which leaves them feeling distant from the church, questioning their faith, and depressed with their condition. Your program could include visiting these members weekly, discussing their health, sharing God’s Word, and keeping them informed on what is happening at church.

For some churches, this list will make a parish nurse ask “How will I fit it all in?” I recommend that you start small. With the help of your pastor and elders, identify one individual or group to start with and slowly grow your program as you are able. On the other hand, I have had pastors and nurses tell me they used to have a parish nurse program, but there was not enough interest or need to keep it going. The amount of time a parish nurse program will require will vary from church to church. If you are feeling unsure on how to proceed with a program, I offer the same advice: take a step back and look at your congregation with your pastor and elders. Identify a single person or group of people and focus on them. Maybe your program will only require a few hours a month, but that is ok! For most nurses, parish nursing is a volunteer program rather than a full-time commitment.

If you are interested in learning more about parish nursing, please visit our website: www.welsnurses.net. There you will find step-by-step instructions on how to start a parish nurse program as well as many resources for you to use and ideas to keep you going. We also encourage you to complete an online parish nurse course offered by Wisconsin Lutheran College. If you would like any more information about parish nursing or the online course, please e-mail us at welsnurses@wels.net.  We are here to support and encourage you as you serve the body of Christ.

Allison Spaude currently serves as the Communications Coordinator for the WELS Nurses Association. She works in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.

 

 

 

What Do I Say When… My Patient Tells Me They’re Afraid to Die?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. You feel that way as a nurse. I feel that way as a pastor. God puts us in situations in which we can see the opportunity to point someone to Jesus, but it’s hard to know what to say. I’d like to share some thoughts with you on “What do I say when…”

Let’s start with this: “What do I say when my patient tells me they’re afraid to die.” You as a nurse, unlike most of us, have the unique opportunity to serve people facing death. As Christians, this is what life is really all about. Life is about getting ready to die with faith in Jesus so that we can live with Jesus in heaven. I hope you see how special your profession is. We need Christians serving people facing death!

But that doesn’t make it easy to know what to say. Maybe think of this three-step pattern: Listen – Validate – Share. First, listen. If a patient opens up to you and shares that they’re afraid to die, take a moment to listen to them. Ask, “What about death makes you most afraid?” or “Tell me a little more about how you’re feeling.” You nurses are used to asking patients lots of questions. Let your patient describe their feelings more. Are they afraid of suffering before they die? Are they afraid of where they’ll go after they die? Listening to them will make you more prepared to answer their fears.

Once you’ve showed your compassion by listening, validate their fears. It’s very natural for people to be afraid of death. We weren’t supposed to die. Death—no matter how it happens—is the unnatural ripping apart of souls from bodies. It often includes a lot of pain and suffering. It’s okay to validate your patient’s concerns about death. “I know it’s really hard to think about death. It seems so scary and unnatural to everyone. You’re not the only one who’s shared these fears with me.”

Then, share the hope that Jesus gives you. Memorize a couple Bible passages to share at a moment’s notice. It might sound something like this, “I’ve always liked how the Bible says, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me’ (Psalm 23:4). I believe in God, and it gives me a lot of comfort to know that God is always with me. He’s with you too! Can I tell you what gives me hope as a Christian? Jesus once said, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Doesn’t that sound great? God loves every person in the world—including you and me—and he sent Jesus to save us and give us eternal life. In fact, Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’ (John 11:25). Even though death is hard and scary, whoever believes in Jesus gets to live in heaven with Jesus. How does that sound? Would you like me to have a chaplain come and talk with you more?” Listen, validate, and then share your hope in Jesus!

You might be surprised at how much comfort a couple short Bible passages can bring to a dying person. God’s Word works! May God bless you as you serve those who walk through the shadow of death.

Rev. Nathan Nass currently serves at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI.

 

 

 

WELS Lutherans for Life

Darla regularly visited the pregnancy care center for material support. During one visit she requested a pregnancy test.

Darla became hysterical when the test results came back positive. Darla told her client advocate that she could not handle another baby. She ran out before we could even attempt to console her.

Darla had felt that abortion was her only option.

After a few days, Darla’s client advocate reached out to check on her. Darla was grateful the advocate followed up and thanked her for our concern. Darla declared that she made the decision to keep the baby!

WELS Lutherans for Life is an independent organization supporting families in Greater Milwaukee since 1982. We operate a medical clinic at 8501 West Lincoln Avenue in West Allis, Wis. Our mission is to protect a child’s right to live and be loved by loving moms and dads.

As a Christian, pro-life organization, we address unplanned pregnancy in four distinct ways:

  • Intervening with God’s compassionate love through pregnancy consults and medical services
  • Empowering life choices with parenting classes, diapers, and other resources
  • Restoring those suffering abortion’s after-effects with God’s forgiveness, healing, and love
  • Developing teens through engaging instruction, so they can make healthy choices

We intervene for both moms and babies. For moms because some statistics show up to 64 percent of abortions are coerced and for the baby because the child’s life is in imminent danger.

We help empower moms and dads in their choice for life by providing ongoing support in their journey to parenting and up to five years after the baby is born.

We help restore souls damaged through abortion by connecting women and men to the forgiveness that only comes from God’s word and the healing love of Jesus.

Healthy Choices is our education program for middle and high school youth in the Midwest and beyond. These interactive presentations empower teens to make godly, positive choices and avoid high-risk behaviors. These relevant talks help them to pursue healthy relationships and bright futures. We also equip parents through presentations filled with resources.

Those we serve find us through our client website and Facebook pages (apsmke.com, facebook.com/apsmke), Google Ads, Facebook ads, and other marketing avenues. They reach us by phone 414-727-8177, text: 414-465-2246, and e-mail: Contact@apsmke.com.

We welcome and encourage you to share this information with anyone you know who may be dealing with an unwanted pregnancy or suffering from a past abortion experience.

Also, please encourage any pastor, principal, teacher, or youth leader to request a Healthy Choices presentation (Speak4Life.info) in their church or school.

There are many ways to get involved:

  • We’re seeking nurse volunteers to help testing/treatment in our STI/STD outreach.
  • Opt-in to e-mail updates and prayer requests.
  • Participate in fundraising events.
  • Support us financially. Consider becoming a monthly Friend of Life partner.
  • Like and follow us on Social Media: Facebook.com/WELSLFL and Instagram.com/all4lives.

Visit Alife2.com or call 414-727-8176 to learn how you can make a difference. We are not affiliated with Christian Life Resources.

By Peter Georgson, president and CEO

 

 

 

Slowing the Spread of the Virus, Not the Gospel

As a nurse, you’re used to washing your hands many times a day, perhaps several times an hour. The combination of soap, scrubbing, and water produces a preventative measure against the spread of diseases, like the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

Yet, for millions of people living in rural Malawi, Indonesia, South Sudanese refugee camps, and beyond, handwashing takes much longer than 20 seconds.

Water doesn’t just flow from the tap in the bathroom, it must be collected. Soap can’t be bought at a local Target. And even where clean water and soap are available, knowledge of hygiene and sanitation best practices is limited.

When COVID-19 began to stretch its fingers across the world, Kingdom Workers recognized that God had uniquely prepared us to provide communities around the world with WASH training (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene). We quickly pivoted several existing programs to focus on WASH with the goal of supplying communities with materials, education, and Christian counsel before borders closed, stay-at-home orders were enacted, and travel became restricted.

Kingdom Workers was prepared to pivot thanks to our previously established clean water initiatives, and our experience with WASH training in the South Sudanese refugee camps. Using this knowledge, we developed a customized plan according to the challenges of each region.

In the refugee camps, health and safety restrictions made a journey into town for supplies more difficult. Our local lead team determined how and where to distribute aid across multiple camps and settlements. Together with local area pastors they distributed 4,840 units of soap, 16 handwashing stations, and have served nearly 3,000 people.

Pastors in Malawi mobilized to set up handwashing stations at busy bus stops and outside of churches. We also worked with Tiyamike Sewing Malawi, a local non-profit organization which provides skills training to women, to develop educational diagrams about safely collecting water from boreholes. Boreholes are traditionally a place of social gathering where many people touch the same pump and individuals can stand in line for up to three hours waiting to gather water. To date, over 17,000 people have received COVID-19 prevention education.

In Indonesia, 580 face masks and 274 bars of soap were provided to community members in remote villages where health clinics are miles away and reputable health knowledge is scarce. Picture-based handwashing diagrams were also distributed to churches so that those not able to read can understand how to wash their hands effectively.

God has worked through the efforts of our local volunteers, donors, and staff to slow the spread of the virus, but not the gospel. Donors Steve and Paula share why this work is so important, “God has placed other souls, just as dear to him, all around the world and we are compelled to love and assist them however we can.” While we do whatever it takes to connect communities to Christ, we find strength in knowing that God is stronger than any pandemic, and that he is working through all of us for his glory.

You can learn more about our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 here.