New curriculum, videos on parish nursing available

If your congregation has ever wanted to begin a parish-nurse ministry, a number of new resources from LCMS Health Ministry are now available to help you.

Dr. Marcia Schnorr, coordinator of Parish Nursing for the LCMS, is featured in five new "Introduction to Parish Nursing" instructional videos that may be viewed free online.

Dr. Marcia Schnorr, coordinator of Parish Nursing for the LCMS, is featured in five new “Introduction to Parish Nursing” instructional videos that may be viewed free online.

Free online (click here) are five instructional videos featuring Dr. Marcia Schnorr, coordinator of Parish Nursing for the Synod.

The five “Introduction to Parish Nursing” video modules cover:

  • the history and “foundational practice” of parish nursing, including models and assessments.
  • the parish nurse as a “health educator” and “health counselor.”
  • the parish nurse as a “liaison to the community” and facilitator of caregiving volunteers.
  • the integration of faith and health, ethics, and parish nursing and the law.
  • setting up an office and documentation, leading, self-care, continued development and writing for publication.

Two theological modules also are available in the video series:

  • “Theology of Mercy for Parish Nurses,” a lecture by the Rev. John T. Pless, assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., and
  • “Caring for God’s People,” a lecture by the Rev. Dr. Daniel E. Paavola, theology professor at Concordia University Wisconsin.

Each of the seven videos runs from 30 minutes to a little over an hour, and all may be viewed free online.

The videos are part of a recently updated LCMS parish-nursing curriculum titled “Introduction to Parish Nursing in a Lutheran Setting,” which was originally developed by LCMS Health Ministries in cooperation with Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon (which offers an on-campus nursing program).

Registration for the full curriculum — which includes the videos, accompanying educational manual and one-on-one mentoring from the Synod’s parish-nursing staff — is $200.

“Upon completion of the course, the parish nurse will be able to list himself or herself as a trained faith-community nurse or parish nurse … and will receive a certificate and LCMS parish-nurse pin, along with being listed in the LCMS parish-nurse directory and [as] part of the LCMS parish-nurse network,” explained Maggie Karner, director of LCMS Life and Health Ministries.

While the course “meets the scope and sequence requirements for parish nursing recommended by the American Nurses Association,” Karner added that it also “has the important benefit of including the theology component from noted LCMS theological educators” such as Pless and Paavola.

The abbreviated course is designed for:

  • LCMS registered nurses with an interest in parish nursing but who would find it difficult to travel for education or to take part in an extended parish-nursing course.
  • parish nurses who would like to refresh their training by watching the free, online videos. “It is our hope that all LCMS health workers — especially parish nurses — will make use of these wonderful online educational opportunities to enrich their personal understanding of the Lutheran theology of mercy and the Lutheran understanding of caring for God’s people both spiritually and physically,” Karner said.
  • members of LCMS partner churches who want to begin or strengthen parish-nurse ministries in their own countries.

Karner said she and other LCMS Health Ministries staff are hoping the new videos and updated curriculum will help increase the number of trained parish nurses in the Synod. More than 400 LCMS parish nurses are listed in the church body’s directory “and the vocation is growing,” she said.

“We feel parish nurses are a great example of Christian mercy in action and can be important helpers to the pastoral office for visitation and the life together in a congregation,” said Karner. “Parish nurses by nature become encouragers of an ethic of mercy in a congregation and community. Their understanding of Lutheran theology in practice influences their role of caring for both the body and soul of our neighbors.”

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison agrees, calling parish nurses “an invaluable asset to the pastoral staff.

“The parish nurse provides Christian-to-Christian care and spiritual concern while addressing medical and often psychological needs,” Harrison said. “Parish nurses can provide care … that is not possible for a pastor to provide. Providing professional care, the parish nurse takes many issues off the plate of the pastoral staff, making sure hurting people don’t fall through the cracks.

“The parish nurse is also a wonderful extension of the eyes and ears of the congregation’s shepherd, making sure the pastor knows when a member of the flock is in special need of pastoral attention,” he continued. “Of all the many tasks we have at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, providing resources for parish nursing is one of the most vital.”

To learn more about parish nursing and other health-related ministries, click here.

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