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Parish Nurse Ministries of WNY, a Faith Community Nurse Organization

By Carol S. Wolf

It has been a wonderful summer. Some people like it hot and others cooler. Here in Buffalo, we have it all. Dick and I were at the Network of Religious Communities Annual Awards night in June. We had an opportunity to talk with so many people of various denominations and organizations. There was a group from the Parish Nurse Ministries of New York, Inc. (PNMNY), which is a faith community nurse organization. I wrote an article about them several years ago and attended their conference last year on “Finding the Abundant Life…Hope and Light in the Midst of the Storm,” which was about communicating and demonstrating how churches can plan in advance for potential catastrophes as well as understanding the need to minister to others. Mary Jean Kraengel was handing out new flyers so I took one. This was their way of letting more people in the community know what they are all about, their activities, and how registered nurses can become faith community nurses (FCNs) and set up a health ministry.

I had the fun opportunity to interview the following individuals at the Basilica in Lackawanna, New York:

• Lois Tripp, RN, Faith Community Nurse, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church-Eggertsville, Liaison Episcopal Health Ministries, Episcopal Diocese of WNY

• Yvonne Askew, MSN, ED., RN-BC, Faith Community Nurse, Catholic Health, Faith Community Nurse Program Coordinator, 716-923-9672

• Lucinda Phillips MSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse, New Light Christian Church in Buffalo

• Mary Jean Kraengel, BSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse associated with Our Lady of the Rosary (Roman Catholic church)

They began by telling me about the history of the organization. The original group began meeting in 2001 and by the end of the summer, the Parish Nurse Institute of WNY was established. The name was changed in 2007 to Parish Nurse Ministries of New York, Inc., when it became a not-for-profit. They said it was the hope of the charter members that this organization would provide a means through which various parish nurses and wellness ministry programs could join together to rekindle the healing ministry of the Church.

Each had a unique story of how they got involved and why. Lois began by telling me, “About ten years ago, I took the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course to find out more about parish nursing. I joined the organization and got involved.” Lois was the organization’s president from 2014-2015 and will be again in 2019-20, and she is currently the spiritual coordinator. Lois is the faith community nurse at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Eggertsville.

Lucinda told me she has been a member of the organization for many years. She said she was working at D’Youville College, teaching in the Patricia H. Garmin School of Nursing when she decided to retire in 2018. Before that, she worked at Frontier Science Technology and Research Foundation, which is a medical research and data management company, for 23 years.

Lucinda shared, “About 19 years ago, I went to a Methodist Regional Conference with a friend of mine. They had a session on parish nursing. I thought it was very interesting and brought the information back to my pastor at Cleveland Heights. I talked to some of the nurses in the congregation and said, ‘I think we need to do this here’ and we did.”

Lucinda continued, “I am hoping to involve the nurses that are going to D’Youville. Some of the ladies there are bilingual and we need that ability to interact and translate for some of the people in our churches and to do programs for them.”

Next, I talked with Yvonne. She began by telling me she is presently the Faith Community Nurse Program Coordinator for Catholic Health. In 2013, Yvonne applied for a coordinator position after seeing a posting in the paper and was granted the position. She said, “I have been a faith community nurse since 2004 after taking the “Basic Parish Nursing” course through Catholic Charities. “At the time, my congregation, St. Paul’s AME Zion, knew I was an RN and working at ECMC in the ICU. They would ask me questions about their health problems and what they should do.” After telling one of her coworkers about all the questions, she mentioned that she wished there was a nursing occupation that combined the nursing process and spirituality. The coworker told her about faith community nursing and she then joined the Parish Nurse Institute of NY in 2004.

Then, I talked with Mary Jean. She is a faith community nurse associated with Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church. Mary Jean was the Parish Nurse Ministries selection to be honored for her excellence and service at the 39th Annual Network of Religious Communities Appreciation Dinner in June. She shared that she really gets a lot from this group and also shared the following quotation, “A nurse never retires; upon actual retirement, the nurse’s focus then is on continued nurturing of mind, body, and soul.”

Catholic Health’s Faith Community Nurse Program and Parish Nurse Ministries of New York, Inc. will collaborate offering the “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing” course beginning Friday, October 4, 2019. Scholarships are available to Registered Nurses wishing to become Faith Community Nurses. For more information about the course or membership, go to the website at <www.pnmny.org>, e-mail pnmny179@gmail.com, or call 716-834-4465.

It was really interesting to talk to everyone.

If you know of a successful program in your community or would like more information please let me know at cdwolf1132@gmail.com.

Carol Wolf is a writer, speaker, storyteller, and leader of workshops and retreats. She is retired from 35 years in health care administration and co-hosts a TV show called Challenge for the 21st Century for the Network of Religious Communities. She is the author of Journey into Prayer and Biblical Storytelling in Youth Ministry. She has been married to Dick for 58 years and they have two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.


 

 


Carol wrote this book as part of her two year Master's program in the Academy for Biblical Storytellers. It has just been published and is available for $10.00. Carol is an author, speaker and leader of workshops meditations and conference.
"This book give you an opportunity to experience how, when we become a part of the biblical story, we often find meaning for our own life. It is an incredible resource for confirmation, baptism, and intergenerational groups." Trracy Radosevic, Dean, Academy for Biblical Storytellers.
Anyone interested in buying a book can email me @caroldickwolf@cs.com. The book is $10.00 + $2.00 mailing.