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Journals from NURS 298 PA Health Care in New Zealand

2010-01-17 Parish Nursing in Nelson, New Zealand

Looking through the trees of the deanery garden, you are able to see the geographical center of New Zealand. It is located on a small hill in Nelson, where parish nursing originated in New Zealand. This fairly new position in New Zealand has helped the community with a spiritual connection to their health and well-being. A parish nurse is strictly a voluntary position and they are dedicated to spiritually supporting their community and congregation. A handout that Jane Wulf, the parish nurse of the Nelson cathedral, gave us describes Parish Nursing as a faith community nurse. It mentions that parish nurses aim to promote individual and community health and well-being. They seek to integrate body, mind and spirit, and nurture the growth toward wholeness in and through Jesus Christ the source of healing. A parish nurse may visit people in the community and pray for them, work side by side with their regular health care provider, help with meals and transportation, or simply talk and visit them at their home. In the eyes of a Parish nurse spiritual well-being is just as important as physical well-being. They believe that the underlying cause of disease can often be social, economic, and spiritual according to the parish nursing information pamphlet. Spiritual well-being is also important to the Maori culture. They view the church as a backbone of the community and family. Parish nursing can provide support and prayer to any race and any denomination. Parish Nurses work toward filling the gaps of an individuals health care. They often work side by side with a patients regular health care provider and are there for extra support. They also give spiritual guidance and support to those in need. They want to complement and not duplicate other health care services, which was described by Jane Wulf. In addition, the faith community nurse can put together prevention programs for health promotion. For example, Jane Wulf set up walks for health in the community and the church congregation. The ultimate goal of a parish nurse is to provide the best quality of life for each individual and their community. The parish nurses of the Nelson cathedral gave me a completely different insight on health care. They give a refreshing idea to health care promotion and prevention. Spiritual well-being is important to me, and I want to discover more about parish nursing and how I can become more involved in spiritual support in my own community. This health care visit covered a lot of course objectives for me but most importantly to learn about the impact that religious issues have on the health care delivery system in New Zealand. Also learning how the health care system and health care providers' attitudes and values influence the health care system. - Kelsey Franklin, Linfield College

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