When Loretto Klug, coordinator of the parish nurse program at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the historic hamlet of Freistadt in Mequon, checks someone’s blood pressure, she’s also taking their spiritual temperature.
That’s from a story about parish nurses working in the U.S. There are more nurses doing this than we’d known. Here’s another excerpt:
Parish nurses are registered nurses who volunteer or are paid by the congregations they serve. Some are paid by health care providers such as Aurora Health Care and ProHealth Care in Waukesha.
They typically conduct blood pressure and other health screenings, help people manage their medications, organize health fairs, visit shut-ins, train volunteers and make referrals. They can also sometimes help people deal with billing and insurance issues.
They also spend time praying with patients and sometimes engage in grief counseling. Migdal even administers Communion, she said.
It’s part of their holistic approach to congregants’ health needs, advocates say.
Religion, spirituality, faith, the mystical: all of these come up from time to time in submissions to AJN and in letters to the editor about various topics both controversial and not-so-controversial.
There are many religions and many angles on spirituality—which isn’t, of course, always the same thing as religion or belief—and many ways of thinking about nursing as a vocation, a profession, a paycheck, and so on. What role does spirituality or religion play in your life as a nurse? How does it inform your practice or help you make meaning out of what you do? Does it have a place in serious discussions of nursing as an evidence-based profession deserving of equal respect to medicine as practiced by physicians—or should it be kept out of sight and seen as a strictly private matter?