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A new beginning: parish nurse curriculum.

In 1984 Rev. Dr. Granger E. Westberg had a vision--a vision that placed nurses in faith communities to provide a wholistic approach to health care to the members of the congregation. In the early 1990s, a need for a basic curriculum for parish nurses was identified through the work of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, Advocate Health Care, Ann SolariTwadell, Mary Ann McDermott, and Rosemary Matheus.

The first Basic Parish Nurse Preparation Curriculum was completed in 1997. This groundbreaking work formed a solid foundation for educating nurses in this new specialty known as parish nursing.

Subsequently, the curriculum was revised in 2000 and 2004. Supplemental modules were added in 2005 and 2007. Now, as we have progressed, another revision is needed to maintain parish nursing in the forefront of nursing practice.

The new curriculum will focus on four major aspects of parish nurse practice:

* Spirituality

* Professionalism

* Wholistic Health

* Community

Various modules will be organized under these units.

The Spirituality unit will address the history and philosophy of parish nursing, prayer for both the parish nurse and the congregation, self-care for the parish nurse, and healing and wholeness. This unit is the center of the curriculum, with all other units overlapping with spirituality. The spiritual component is threaded through all the modules.

The unit on Professionalism deals with the practice of the parish nurse and the responsibilities she/he has in regard to professional practice as a registered nurse. Included are modules on legal and ethical concerns, communication and collaboration, and documentation. The parish nurse is also introduced to various approaches to getting started in this ministry.

The Wholistic Health unit focuses on health promotion within the congregation and transitional life issues such as family violence and suffering and grief. The emphasis is on life issues that members of the congregation may be encountering.

The fourth unit focuses on Community in congregational settings. Modules in the unit address assessment, accessing resources, advocacy and care coordination.

Assessment is vital to the parish nurse as she/he determines the health needs of the faith community. Accessing resources provides vital information to the parish nurse about the services available both within the faith community and greater community. Advocacy introduces the parish nurse to her/his responsibility in providing care in a variety of situations for the faith community. Care coordination deals with developing and maintaining trained volunteers necessary for the viability of the practice.

The writers of each module are involved with parish nursing and have worked diligently to update the curriculum to move us forward in this practice. The solid foundation provided by previous curricula have allowed us to create a new beginning, a new look, a new framework for parish nurse practice.

The new Basic Preparation curriculum for parish nursing will be available at the new faculty orientation and faculty retreat, to be held July 31August 3, 2009 at the Mercy Retreat Center in St. Louis.

Andrea West, RN, PhD Director of Curriculum and Research, IPNRC For more information about the IPNRC's new Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Curriculum, contact Andrea West at awest@eden.edu.

By Andrea West, RN, PhD Director of Curriculum and Research, IPNRC
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Title Annotation:International Parish Nurse Resource Center
Author:West, Andrea
Publication:Parish Nurse Perspectives
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2009
Words:525
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