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Featured parish nurse.

Gloria Wiebe is a parish nurse at St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto, Ontario. She wrote the article, "Why is it so hard to talk about spirituality" that appears on page 8 of this issue of Parish Nurse Perspectives and is a member of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.

St. James Cathedral is in the heart of one of Canada's largest cities, in Toronto's financial, business, and commercial core. This Anglican parish provides a once-a-week drop-in centre which offers up to 250 members a nutritious lunch and the opportunity for health screenings. Parish nurse Gloria Wiebe has served the parish for more than 10 years, after a career working with the Victorian Order of Nurses.

Street people and residents of nearby shelters or public housing are among the congregation, many of them living with mental illness and addiction. Gloria says, "It's often very easy for these people to overlook their own health.... We just don't give them a bowl of soup and send them on their way ... we connect with them on a very personal level ... our actions are steeped in our faith and we have an incredible respect for human life."

Clergy and a counselor are part of the health ministry leadership. Pedicures, manicures, and haircuts are also offered, along with personal care supplies and clothing, if needed. Referrals to appropriate medical care are made, and the parish nurse will help support the treatment regimen. She also monitors and advocates for those who are home-bound.

Like many RNs of her generation, Gloria says, "A big part of me went into nursing because of my values ... values that come from my religion." Parish nursing provides an opportunity to reconnect with that sacred vocation in a way that touches and blesses the lives of others on a daily basis.

Quotes from Toronto Star, "Church clinic clients gets meals and health checks,", accessed on-line June 25, 2008.

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Article Details
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Publication:Parish Nurse Perspectives
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2008
Previous Article:Companions of compassion.
Next Article:New resources for parish nurses.

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