By Rev. Dr. Shelly Wilson, RN
United Church of Gainesville
Part of the medical oaths for physicians and for nurses is that we pledge, limited humans as we are, to help if we can, but above all else, at the very least, to do no harm. In our daily lives with one another, we may hope to do the same. A worthy spiritual goal is to have the insight to offer help that actually does. But it can be tricky sometimes to know what helps.
What helps depends upon what hurts; or upon what is needed or upon what can be logically shared or effectively given. Sometimes it looks like help can be offered immediately, tangibly, and a certain result can be expected. Sometimes the benefits are short-lived and the best way not clear. Sometimes, waiting, receiving, or refusing help or even refusing TO help may be the best path forward. Sometimes others are more able to help with expertise and skill and compassionate willingness. Sometimes simply to show up is what helps. To stand by, to pay attention, to sit patiently with the awareness of helplessness, to simply accompany another. Solidarity, presence, prayer, assessing, hugging, noticing, mowing the grass, washing the dishes, bringing some food, mending fences, sitting by. Helping in those ways, it seems, is to worship God--to help another, to be a vessel, a recipient, a place holder for the pain sometimes. It's a privilege to be able to help, isn't it?
But I learned as a nurse, that sometimes, all one can do to help is to hold the emesis basin, otherwise known in the vernacular, as the barf bag. Sometimes, you cannot stop the vomiting, cannot halt the onslaught of the trouble or the pain, not at all, but you can wipe the brow and hold the bag. Thus it is in life with one another, sometimes. Sometimes you or I bring what we have to the need and what we offer to help is enough. Just enough. Or sometimes you or I may think, well, I'm only one person; what can one person do in the face of so many who need help? Or you or I may believe, "I've got enough on my plate right now, or I'm too poor or sick or too young or too old, or too limited in this or that way." We may believe we cannot do much, but it is both our spirit's poverty, our own pain and loss and failure as well as our riches and talent--that will help us help.
What helps when there is hurt in you? What helps, often, is the realization that suffering is one of those human conditions that binds us to one another, and because we all have suffered, we also all have the capacity to make a moment of difference for each other. When we reach out to one another, when we are God for each other, when we whisper "help" on another's behalf, and we let someone show up for us, it helps.
Anne Lamott, in her book, Help, Thanks, Wow" wrote these words, "It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools--friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty, and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do.' And mostly, against all odds, they do."
Help is often possible. You or I bring what we can, offer what we can of our own experience, raw and available. We put ourselves there, in the place of availability where we are granted the grace to be able to give and to receive help. As we go about our lives as healers, may we see how we are being invited to give, to receive, to accept, and to incarnate, in our life's time, what helps.
The HMA Board would like to thank all who have participated in the 2015 Bylaws Revision thus far. On September 23rd all active HMA Members were sent the voting notice on the proposed new 2015 HMA Bylaws from election buddy. Your input is very important to us and this new document is another step in the process of HMA moving forward in today's world of nonprofit organizations. This new set of Bylaws will protect HMA, its board members and the membership with an up-to-date, legally sound document, that will continue to be supported by specific Policies and Procedures.
If you were an active member on September 23rd and have not received the email that was sent to you by election buddy, please contact the HMA Office ASAP! Please also add firstname.lastname@example.org to your list of approved emails.
Deadline for this vote is October 23, 2015 - Vote today!
These are just a few of the photos from our New Orleans Conference. To browse through our photo gallery go to our 2015 Conference Photos Page. Check back often as we will be uploading additional photos throughout the month.
Health Ministries Association 2015 Conference
The HMA 2015 Conference - The Journey to Wholeness: Response…Resilience…Rituals…Recovery was held August 31st thru September 2nd in New Orleans, LA. We were blessed to be in this magnificent city in the midst of the activities and remembrances during the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29th, 2005. The conference was a great success and the southern hospitality extended by everyone was astounding!
During our opening night festivities we had much to celebrate as two deserving members were recognized for their service, leadership and ministries. Rev. Craig Schneider was honored with the Wilkerson-Droege Award and Lyn McIntyre, RN with the Granger Westberg Leadership in Faith Community Nursing Award. We rounded out the evening in New Orleans style, and ‘let the good times roll’! Beads were donned and hankies waved as we were entertained by the Travis Carter Band and Markeith Tero Second Line Crew. Over 120 faith community nurses, health ministers, program leaders, and clergy enjoyed interactive learning opportunities from keynote speakers, workshop and poster presenters and conversations with exhibitors. The personal stories of resilience and recovery following this historic disaster were incredibly moving for everyone. It was very apparent that the responsive role of faith communities was a vital component to the ongoing recovery in this region of the country.
There were many comments in the program evaluations describing participants’ specific plans for incorporating knowledge gained into their health ministry and faith community nursing practice. Participants noted the sessions were “outstanding and deeply interconnected”, and described the conference as “absolutely excellent”, “generated real excitement”, “very helpful”, and they extended thanks to the planning committee “for a really great conference”.
Conference highlights included the second annual Peace Breakfast which featured David J. Smith author of the book "If The World Were A Village", a Care for the Caregiver workshop by AARP, and a focus on new resources provided by national HMA partners: smoking cessation activities from the Centers for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health; the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign of the American Red Cross; and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) ongoing support of Faith Community Nursing certification through portfolio. The Wednesday keynote focused on Social Media and introduced participants to HMA’s Facebook and Twitter connections.
HMA was honored by local dignitaries who presented a proclamation from the City Council which states: "For the work done to better communities around the country, we thank you for your continued service. Through your conference in New Orleans, may you continue to spread your message of spiritual and physical wellness.” A Certificate of Recognition from the Office of the Mayor, Mitchell J. Landrieu was also presented in recognition of our 26th annual conference being held in New Orleans.
Attendees were very excited to hear the announcement for the 2016 HMA conference which will be held in Phoenix, AZ at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort! Save the dates now of September 12- 14, 2016. For further information on both conferences, visit the HMA website at hmassoc.org.
NEVER SAY NEVER
A Faith Community Nurse Visits the White House
Ruth E. Syre, MSN, RN-BC
Our former mayor and current city council member invited a local pediatrician and me to accompany her to a visit to the White House for a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties celebration at the invitation of Michelle Obama. My invitation resulted from my role on the steering committee of Live Healthy Lynchburg, a community collaborative. We traveled to Washington for the September 16 visit. The morning session consisted of a breakout session with other medal-winning cities of similar size to focus on evidence-based strategies to continue progress on identified goals. The afternoon ended with a panel of three elected officials sharing their stories of success and hopes for the future. The highlight of the day were the remarks from the First Lady. We were gathered in a small auditorium in the Eisenhower Building, and we all took turns having our photo taken in front of the podium. (Some of us tried to stand behind the podium, but were politely asked to step away by the Secret Service.) Let’s Move! Has been a hallmark initiative of the First Lady’s tenure. While thanking the attendees for their participation and successes, she was passionate about encouraging us to stay committed to this work for the long haul, even after she has left the White House.
The recurring words for the day were partnership, collaboration and commitment. I believe those words essential for growth in any community effort toward health improvement. Every attendee spoke of building upon the collective impact that partnership evokes. I believe we are learning that none of us can do this work alone, that we have common goals, and that we are all in this together.
It was an honor and privilege to attend this celebration. I was honored as a Faith Community Nurse, as a representative of my health care system, and as a member of my community. The challenge is to take this moment and grow from here.
ANCC Certification: The Path for Professionalism
Charlotte Rae Anderson BSN, BA, RN-BC, HN-BC, ACE-CPT ("Charlie")
Nursing is a journey. Each encounter fosters option, opportunity, and outcome. Yet resistance to change can block our journey to optimal nurturance. Nurses are at a time in history where we must transform the health care structure from a disease management industry to a healing system. Children are tomorrow’s citizens. Any civilization’s future is conditional on its capability to nurture its future citizens. My vision is a world in which nursing nurtures wholeness through mind, body, and spirit integration. My impetus is to advance the practice of professional nursing through role modeling, wellness promotion, self-reflection, interdisciplinary teamwork, primary prevention, community building, authentic leadership, consumer advocacy, equitable care, nursing research, synergistic partnerships, evidence-based practice, and higher education. My philosophical focus is on health promotion, disease prevention, risk protection, wellness restoration, lifestyle awareness, and symptom relief to facilitate healing even if illness cannot be cured. My mission is to create an environment of body, mind, and spiritual wellness where today’s children are empowered to choose healthy lifestyles as tomorrow’s citizens through education to build vital individuals, communities, nations, and worlds.
I am a Home Health Nurse, specializing in Pediatrics, practicing as a Holistic RN in a hospital-based Home Health/Hospice, serving as a Faith Community Nurse (FCN). I also teach at the local community college. Prior to becoming a RN, I was a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. I am a Board Certified Holistic Nurse (HN-BC), an Iowa State Licensed Substitute Teacher (K-12), and as of August 7, 2015: a Board Certified FCN (RN-BC). I belong to the American Nurses Association, Iowa Nurses Association, American Holistic Nurses Association, Health Ministries Association, Nurses Christian Fellowship, Society of Pediatric Nurses, Sigma Tau, International Association for Human Caring, and Association of Community Health Nursing Educators. I am currently in my second year of grad school, pursuing a MSN with a Community/Public Health track. I am studying for my Pediatric Nurse Board Certification and have initiated my next portfolio certification: the Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN-BC).
Certification is a validation of knowledge and competency to a specialty area of nursing professionalism. For the FCN the focus is on intentionality of the spirit. Throughout scripture God calls people of faith, or His children, to promote healing. Assessing healthcare consumer’s values, preferences, needs, spiritual beliefs, religious practices, knowledge level, health literacy, and available resources; partnering with healthcare consumers, interdisciplinary providers, and spiritual leaders; and application of the nursing process into the care plan are ongoing in community-based care such as home health. Disaster drills, medication safety, fall prevention, environmental safety precautions, and toxin exposure (radon, lead, etc.) are ongoing education for the healthcare consumer residing in the home. Although I participate in quality improvement activities through education and informal research on a daily basis, and integrate current evidenced-based practice, healthcare information, and wholistic health care trends that positively impact health care delivery in the home, I felt a need to validate my professionalism and complete the ANCC Certification through portfolio in faith community nursing.
The process of completing the FCN Portfolio is challenging, convenient, and compelling. It is patented by the ANCC to evidence excellence and expertise. “Applications must articulate performance in four domains of practice: Professional Development, Professional and Ethical Nursing Practice, Teamwork and Collaboration, and Quality and Safety” (ANCC, 2015, para. 6). Portfolio Content Outline enables the applicant with an alternative methodology for completion, augments evaluation of FCN nursing practice, and offers opportunity for self-reflection of professional nursing roles from a lifelong perspective. Certification through portfolio is designed to objectively assess nursing practice and theory as a collective body of work. Furthermore, it is an exercise of nursing professionalism I embrace: a holistic view as a science of critical thinking, reflection, evidence, research, and theory foundational to practice; an art of intuition, creativity, appreciation, presence, self-awareness, and personal knowing integral to practice, and a journey of innovative professionalism essential to inspire best practices.
Nurses professionally validate mastery of skills, knowledge, and abilities through certification and evidence ongoing learning and practice requirements through re-certification. Certification verifies a mark of excellence, professionally and personally. Leadership, commitment, and collaboration are corroborated. Intentional focus on spiritual health is authenticated. The portfolio process illuminates gaps, fostering opportunity to enrich strengths and resolve weaknesses. All consumers, employers, and co-workers benefit. Therefore, I recommend all FCNs become ANCC certified.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but the same God who empowers them all in everyone (1 Corinthians 12: 4-6).
Wake Forest School of Medicine:
Looking for FCNs serving African American Faith Communities or the under-served in the southeast interested in participating in Diabetes Study through NIH.
This study is designed to help congregants with poorly managed Type 2 diabetes improve their health management. They will be targeting African American and low income participants. Data collection would be conducted by research staff from Wake Forest School of Medicine (or by local researchers trained by WFSM staff). The FCNs’ roles would include teaching congregants and supporting them during the study, roles with which they are already familiar and very likely already doing.
If you are interested, please contact Judy Iannuzzi, RN, MAEd, Faith Community Nurse.
Online Health Ministry
Our community continues to thrive and grow! Join us…
Post photos of your health ministry team wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Shout from the mountaintop online about God’s work through health ministry!
Share with each other and the world…what are you doing for breast cancer awareness? What programs or resources are you using in your faith communities? Do you have a story to share about how your ministry helped someone find wholeness?
"The way our society reacts to mass shootings has become far too routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it (is routine). We've become numb to this." - President Barack Obama
In the aftermath of yet another tragic shooting, the public relations teams from pro-gun and gun violence prevention groups went into overdrive to get their message out. It looked, well, just like it does after every mass shooting in America. Very routine.
But is the president correct: have we become numb?
Consider that the upcoming Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath weekend (December 10-14) normally has more than 1,000 congregations pledging participation and, this year, there are just 50 congregations that have pledged so far. While we are still more than two months out, the numbers just aren't what they once were. And the same apathy is being felt by other groups struggling to keep the public focused on solutions to the gun violence epidemic.
Yes, while we all care deeply, a large number of us have become numb.
National Medicare Education Program (NMEP) Special Session on Medical Open Enrollment - Webinar - Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 2:00 - 3:30 pm, EDT, Register Now!
What is Brain Health Campaign - launched by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), this campaign is intended to provide information about how the brain changes over time and the steps you can take to keep your brain sharp. It also offers tips for talking with loved ones and health care practitioners about symptoms if they arise. See more information at Brainhealth.gov.
Office of Minority Health Resource Center: New Webinar series designed for community-based, faith-based and other organizations that want to learn the basics of creating successful federal grant applications. To see more information go to our News Section.