Parish nursing continues to grow
Thirteen more nurses prepare to work with their churches, extra training courses have been organised and a Grove booklet produced, writes Helen Wordsworth
The ministry of Parish nursing, developing in the UK since 2003, is continuing to grow steadily. With 13 new nurses on board, 91 UK churches currently have a Parish nursing service for their congregation and community. Thirty-two of these are Baptist or Local Ecumenical Partnership LEP Baptist congregations, 29 are Anglican, and the rest are Methodist, Church of Scotland, Independent, Pentecostal, URC, or Catholic.
Over the last few months the enquiries have been coming in at the rate of more than four per week. This is partly due to some excellent articles in the nursing press, along with word of mouth testimonies about the valuable work that Parish nurses are doing. This increased interest means an extra training course has been planned for next year, taking place in Peterborough from 6-9 February. The other courses planned are at IMC Birmingham, in May and October, and there may also be one in Scotland in August.
Parish nurses may work with people and carers of all ages, all faiths or none, in different stages of health. They may educate for health with the independent well person; they may support recovery from acute phases of illness, or surgery; they may monitor and advise those with longer term conditions; and they may help those who are nearing the end of life.
In all of these aspects they include a focus on spiritual care and that may include appropriate prayer if the client so desires. There are now even some parish nurse/midwives who are focusing on breastfeeding and emotional support for new and isolated mums.
The latest outcomes being reported by clients are most encouraging. In the most recent questionnaires, around 40 per cent of clients reported they had received spiritual encouragement or support, 40 per cent reported improved physical health, 50 per cent reported reduced anxiety, and 35 per cent reported increased social activity.
Further developments include a Grove booklet, Nursing and the Mission of the Church, which summarises a rationale for health ministry and explains how churches may engage in this outreach along with some comments from both parish nurses and service users.
In addition the first European conference on Parish nursing is to be held in Germany later this month, with representatives from the Ukraine, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany as well as the UK.
Picture: 13 new nurses in training for Parish nursing
Parish Nursing Ministries UK is the infrastructure body that provides the training and resources for the nurses, advice for the churches, and ensures professional standards are maintained.
Dr Ros Moore, a Methodist who was until recently Chief Nurse for Scotland, now leads the work. Baptist minister Helen Wordsworth works alongside her with a focus on promotional work with the churches and international links.
If any church or nurse would like to explore this further, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free enquiries pack.