EMU to repeat parish nursing course

Item by Jim Bishop

By popular demand, Eastern Mennonite University will repeat its online course on “Basics of Parish Nursing,” June 23-July 28, 2008. EMU’s Adult Degree Completion Program sponsors the course, which is open to any registered nurse or upper-level nursing student in an RN nursing education program.

Parish nursing in the United States is recognized as a specialty practice by the American Nurses Association. According to the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, “Parish nurses are licensed, registered nurses who practice under the guidelines set forth by their State or Provincial Boards of Nursing and the standards of care and professional performance identified in the Scope and Standards for Parish Nursing Practice developed in their country of employment. In the United States, this document is Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA/HMA, 2005).”

Dr. Arlene G. Wiens, chair of EMU’s nursing department, said parish nursing “sees the roles of the community health nurse as health educator, counselor and advocate and referral agent in a faith-based setting.”

Aspects unique to the parish nurse role are “an emphasis on health within a faith community and the emphasis on coordination of services and volunteers rather than as provider of direct care. The parish nurse functions within the ministerial team,” she said.

Wiens said that the course “is based on the accepted philosophy and practice of parish nursing and examines the roots of health and healing found in many religious traditions.” She noted that “critical thinking strategies, such as Socratic questioning, will be used to analyze the spiritual dimension of health and healing for the practitioner as well as clients being served.

“Students will use the standard core curricula developed through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center as the foundation to explore the practice of nursing in the faith community and its ministry,” Wiens said.

“Parish nursing is the most fulfilling type of nursing I’ve ever experienced,” said course instructor Tammy Kiser, RN, MSN. “Understanding health to be a dynamic process that includes the spiritual, psychological, physical and social dimensions of the person is very important in the ministry of parish nursing.”

“What I love about this course is the actual feeling of specific “hands on” approach even though we had no clinical,” said Lenore Arbaugh of Waynesboro, who completed the previously offered course. “The way it was set up, I could actually imagine myself in this role, look at various situations and explore how to handle them within the context of the scope and standards of parish nuring practice. The topics covered the gamut of a holistic approach to nursing,” she added.

For more information regarding course content and the online format, contact Tammy Kiser directly at parishnursing@emu.edu.

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