“I didn’t know how valuable the Parish Nurse Program was until my
brother Leroy started getting sick,” said Jim de Boom, Executive
Director of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council. “The Parish
Nurse from his Methodist church in Minnesota visited Leroy in the
hospital. She sat with him, encouraged other church members to visit and
she sometimes brought in their minister to pray with him. He felt
really connected with the church and with God and it really brought him
comfort and it brought me comfort even though we were 1800 miles apart.
The Parish Nurse called me and kept me informed of how he was
progressing and what his options were.”
“The Parish Nurse Program isn’t new at Hoag Hospital, but it’s mostly
been the Christian congregations who’ve been involved,” de Boom
continued. “The newness is getting the Muslims, Jews, Baha’is, Buddhists
and everyone else involved. It’s important for all faiths to learn
about the program and to learn the action steps to get it implemented in
their faith communities. For instance, a patient in the hospital might
want to be visited by someone who speaks Arabic or who has the same
background or beliefs.”
Thirty-eight people representing 20 different congregations and faith
communities attended the monthly meeting of the Newport Mesa Interfaith
Council recently at Hoag Hospital. They came to learn more about Hoag’s
Health Ministries and Faith Community Nursing Program whose mission
statement is “to provide quality support to the Faith Community Nurse in
empowering individuals in their journey towards a holistic, health
affirming balance of mind, body and spirit.”
“This is certainly a ministry that is a wonderful thing to be able to
do for your faith community,” explained Susan Johnson, R.N., M.P.H.
Manager of Hoag Community Programs. “Faith Community Nursing is a
recognized specialty of the American Nurses Association and is open to
all faith communities. It can fit the unique personal faith and cultural
needs of each congregation and the nurse can be called the Parish Nurse
or the Congregational Nurse. Those in the Muslim faith tend to refer to
theirs as the Crescent Nurse; it’s up to each one.”
Using a helpful Power Point presentation, Johnson explained that the
Faith Community Nursing Program was established at Hoag Memorial
Hospital Presbyterian in 1987 with the purpose of supporting the mental,
physical and spiritual health needs of those being served.
Each Faith Community Nurse (FCN) develops educational programs and practices that fit the unique needs of their congregation.
As part of the program, RNs are recruited from their church
membership. They are both retired and full-time working nurses, and
either volunteer or are paid for their role at their place of worship.
Johnson said nurses often develop a team from within their church or
synagogue. The Hoag Health Ministries Program provides the leadership,
expertise, educational resources and networking support to the FCN.
Johnson explained that some of the benefits of the FCN include prayer
and emotional support, a knowledgeable heath advocate, developing
support groups, providing free flu vaccines, blood pressure screening,
CPR and Automated External Defibrillator training, and sharing Hoag and
community resources for each congregation.
“There are endless options,” she said. “Faith Community Nurses can
get whatever programmatic support they need from Hoag and what they give
to their congregations is amazing. They can make such an important
For further information about the program, go to hoag.org/Why-HOAG/Pages/Hoag-Programs/Health-Ministries.aspx
The event was part of the monthly meetings of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council (nmiinterfaith.org).
View the original Newport Beach Indepdent article here.