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The Parish Nurse as recruiter and trainer of volunteers.

Volunteers need to be well-matched with their care-receiver, they need training ... and they need support. We tried to do all these with the volunteers who helped me at Orangewood Nazarene Church. We had 40-50 volunteers and met after church monthly for a lunch which included time for support, networking, and training.

Our volunteers served in the following areas: sending cards to shut-ins; hospital and home visitation; taking members to doctors; Food Angels--preparing meals for those recuperating at home following hospitalization.

One area of training for the volunteers was how to make a hospital visit. They were given written guidelines which included:

* Discovering who is sick

* Responding to the sick person

* Alternatives to a personal visit

* Proper hand washing

* Avoiding mixed signals in touching

* Avoiding offensive odors and sounds

* Entering the patient's room when the patient is asleep

* The length of the visit

* Visiting with the patient's family

* Offering to read Scripture and/or offer a prayer

* How to be a good listener

* Leave a recent church bulletin, prayer card, or inspirational pamphlet.

Sometimes I would do the training and other times I would have someone else, such as our Senior Pastor, a representative from Hospice, or some other speaker come for training.

Linda, my assistant at church, had a wonderful idea ... to make a notebook of resources for each of our volunteers. In the front she had a pencil case which held laminated scripture cards. These verses of encouragement could be left with the person who was visited. Next she had the "Guidelines for Hospital Visits." This was followed by a list of equipment which we had in our equipment closet: medical items which members had donated and which could be loaned out to others needing to use them.

The next page in the resource book was a list of homebound members, including their address, phone number, birthday and a descriptive sentence or two. Following this was a sheet for recording visits. Documentation is vital--even for volunteers!

We had a list of the volunteers with their names, addresses, phone numbers and what they were willing to do for health ministry. The last page in our book was a colored, laminated map of Phoenix with numbers corresponding to a list of hospitals including their address and phone number.

You might want to do something like this, but make it fit your needs and the needs of your congregation.

By Barbara Sage, RN, BSN
COPYRIGHT 2008 International Parish Nurse Resource Center
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Article Details
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Author:Sage, Barbara
Publication:Parish Nurse Perspectives
Article Type:Reprint
Date:Mar 22, 2008
Words:402
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