Healing and caring were a part of the ministry of Jesus, and have always been a part of church ministry. The field of parish nursing, known by some as faith community nursing, as we know it today, was begun in approximately 1985 by the Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg, a Lutheran minister in Chicago, IL. It has grown exponentially since then, and is fully supported by the American Nurses Association (ANA), who formally designated it as a specialty practice in 1997, and published the 2nd edition of Scope and Standards of Practice for Faith Community Nurses in 2012. There is an international parish nurse resource center based in Memphis TN, and there are training courses and continuing education opportunities offered throughout the country and internationally.
Parish nurses are RNs, preferably with a BSN or greater. They undergo dedicated training especially for parish nurses. There are more than 15,000 parish nurses in the U.S., functioning in paid and unpaid positions as members of the pastoral team. Parish nurses offer holistic care to the members of their congregations, focusing on the mind, body and spirit of the persons they serve. Parish nurses are not home health nurses, and do not provide treatment or dispense medication. Rather, they are involved in advocating, educating, counselling and referring those they serve.
meet your parish nurse
Roseann Dichraff MSN APRN has been the parish nurse at Resurrection since 2012. Prior to coming to Resurrection, Roseann was a nurse practitioner at Prevea Health working in vascular surgery. Roseann also has over 20 years of experience working as a family nurse practitioner, and has taught at Bellin College of Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Marquette University, and her MSN with a duo emphasis as a family nurse practitioner and educator from UW – Oshkosh. Roseann was drawn to parish nursing as a ministry after a life changing pilgrimage to Israel in January of 2012. She has lived in Allouez since 1984, and is a life-long Catholic. She is an active member of the Green Bay Diocese Parish Nurse Network, and serves on the Board of Directors of McCormick Assisted Living. She and her husband Bill have been married for over 35 years and have two adult daughters and a granddaughter.
Health is more than the absence of disease, and each of us must be stewards of our own health and wellness. Roseann believes in assisting and empowering individuals to actively pursue holistic health involving the body, mind and spirit. In addition, she is committed to helping our parish be a place of health, healing, safety, acceptance and inclusiveness. She believes that it is important to offer opportunities for stewardship of our gifts, particularly in answering God’s call to serve others.
“This parish nurse ministry is for me the culmination and pinnacle of 35+ years of preparation for this role, after working in many rewarding positions as an RN, a nurse practitioner and educator. Parish nursing is the best of and the heart of nursing for me. It is rewarding in its roots of presence to fellow journeyers and in the intentional care of the spirit”.
why does resurrection have a parish nurse?
The answer to this question is similar to the answer to another common question: Why is Parish Nursing one of the fastest growing specialties recognized by the American Nurse Association? There is a perfect storm of factors thatled to the hiring of a Parish Nurse at Resurrection in 2012, and that also contributes to the emergence of parish nursing in churches throughout the country and internationally. While our population is living longer with more chronic diseases, traditional support systems of family living nearby, and “the village” caring for its members are disappearing. Here at Resurrection Parish, almost 23% of our parishioners are 66 or older. Many of these have little family in the area, or family members who are around are spread thin raising children of their own.
At a time that our elderly population is in greater need of ever more complex services, the familiar family doctor model has evolved into a gatekeeping primary care provider referring their patients to a plethora of specialists. Patients are sometimes lost in a system of 20 minute appointments with providers they barely know, at the end of which they’re handed a stack of papers with their diagnosis, medications and treatment plan. There is often not enough time to grasp the information let alone ask any questions, and patients may leave feeling confused, frustrated and vulnerable at the end of an appointment. A parish nurse can bridge the gap between the provider’s office or hospital, home and church, caring for the whole person.
Besides care of individuals, parish nurses look to maximize the health of the congregations in which they serve. Here at Resurrection, Roseann is involved in helping to plan health education programs and services, and planning activities such as walks to increase overall parish health and awareness. She is a member of the Safety Committee, and has arranged for first aide, CPR and AED training for the ushers and staff.
There are many health related services and programs that Roseann oversees with the help of committed Health and Wellness Committee members and other parishioners. This includes maintenance of the AEDs, first aid kits and sharps containers, low gluten hosts, blood drives and birthday cards to our shut-ins and assisted living and long-term care residence parishioners. She organizes an annual flu shot clinic, monitors community influenza trends, and offers recommendations. She oversees the Helping Hands program, an active blood pressure screening program and a team of Outreach Eucharistic ministers who bring Holy Communion to the nursing homes and the hospital that Resurrection serves.
In addition, Roseann works as a member of the pastoral team to visit the sick in their home, hospital, rehab center or their assisted living or long-term care home. She brings a health and wellness approach to these visits by way of her medical background, though sometimes what the parishioner needs most is a prayerful presence and a link to their caring faith community.
What can your parish nurse do for you?
“To my words be attentive; to my sayings incline your ear; let them not slip from your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them, bringing health to one’s whole being.” Proverbs 4: 20-22
Do you need questions answered about your medical condition, the medications you take or things your health care provider has told you that you don’t understand? Roseann can provide information in response to personal health concerns, contact your provider’s office for clarification and can even accompany you to your appointment to provide a second set of ears and be an advocate for you. She can visit you in your home, rehab center or the hospital, or provide information and counselling through telephone contact or email.
Are you considering bringing health services into your home or looking at a move to assistive living or long-term care for yourself or a loved one? Roseann can provide a listening ear and, if you desire, she can assist you in connecting with community resources. She can sometimes link you to parishioners who have had personal experience with a particular agency or facility for firsthand information. She provides information and support not only for the ill, but also for their caregivers.
Do you or does someone you know have a need for a few meals when you come home from the hospital after an injury or illness? Do you need an occasional ride to a medical appointment or to church? Maybe you’d like a parish “companion”, a friend with a listening ear? Roseann can assist you in filling these needs through Resurrection’s 50 plus member Helping Hands program. This program nourishes the souls of both the recipient and the volunteer.
Opportunities To Serve Others
Are you a parishioner who would like to help out another by cooking an occasional meal? Maybe you are interested in occasionally driving someone to church or to an appointment? Roseann can answer your questions, and help you get signed up for the Helping Hands program. (link?)
Are you interested in bringing Holy Communion to people in a nursing home or hospital? (link?) Or maybe you’re interested in getting to know one special parishioner as a visitor? Roseann can explain the various opportunities to you, and help you to find a gratifying ministry.
Are you a parishioner with a health care or social service background interested in using your talents and interests to serve the parish? As the staff liaison to Resurrection’s Health and Wellness Committee (link?), Roseann can help you connect with other like-minded parishioners who plan health and wellness programs for the parish. There are many wonderful opportunities or get involved to the extent that your time and interests lead you.
Our Parish Nurse, Roseann Dichraff may be reached at:
333 Hilltop Dr.
Green Bay, WI54301
920-336-7768 ext. 140
She works twenty hours per week, usually on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.