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FINDING FAITH

Community Nurses Discuss Faith Based Care
at Forum in New Jersey

By Kathy Belby, RN

"JUST AS LIFE IS A JOURNEY, ethics is a process." remarked Jaclyn Herzlinger, BSN, BA, OCN, CHPN, FCN, during her keynote speech for the first statewide meeting for faith community nurses (FCN) held October 14, 2005, in Atlantic City, NJ.

Herzlinger is familliar with life journeys. She began her professional career as an English teacher but switched to nursing in her 40s, working in oncology and home care. This lead to an interest in hospice care and finally to faith community nursing in her synagogue.

Today Herzlinger is treasurer of the newly formed Faith Community Nurse Leadership Network (FCNLN), which is a new arm of the New Jersey State Nurses Association.

Herzlinger's path to faith community nursing is not atypical. Most of the 30 FCN's who attended the conference, "What's Right: Ethics and Spirituality for the Faith Community Nurse", came to the field by a maturing process. Working in subspecialities as varied as pediatrics to psychiatry, they eventually came to recognize the importance of addressing their patients' spiritual needs as well as their own.

Guiding the Community

With the process of ethical decision-making in mind, Herzlinger led the attendees through group exercises using case studies emphasizing communication, education and collaboration in FCN.

The Rev. John Jamieson, PhD, director of patient support services at Atlantic City Medical Center, was on hand to guide the groups using ethical concepts of patient autonomy, beneficence, fidelity, justice, respect for people and veracity.

Dr. Jamieson stressed the importance of consulting the pastor, rabbi or spiritual director of one's own faith community for guidance, especially in difficult cases. He described the ability to use spirituality in faith community nursing as "freeing" and giving nurses "a larger vision in looking at a patient as a child of God - not just someone with a diagnosis."

Day of Learning

DAY OF LEARNING: Brainstorming over ethical dilemmas are (frm left) Stephanie Augelli, RN, of St. Rose of Lima, Hadden Heights, NJ; Andrea Cook, RN of Temple Beth Ann, Springfield, NJ; and Chris Read, LPN of St. gnes, Blackwood, NJ.

Kathy Belby is a freelance writer and parish nurse at St. Patricks, Belvidere, NJ. This article is reprinted from the November 14, 2005, issue of Advance News Magazine where it appeared in the Nurses section for the Greater New York and New Jersey area.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Speakers at the first statewide meeting for faith community nurses included Jaclyn Herzlnger, BSN, BA, RN, OCN, CHPN, FCN, director of the Three Congregational Nurse Program in Springfield, NJ, which serves the conservative, orthodox, and reform synogogues; and the Rev. John Jamieson, PhD, ethicist and director of patient support services at Atlantic City (NJ) Medical Center. courtesy Kathy Belby
In The Spotlight

Dr. Jamieson described the ability to use spirituality in faith community nursing as "freeing" and giving nurses "a larger vision of looking at a patient as a child of God - not just someone with a diagnosis."


Shared Experiences

In the afternoon, attendees chose between three workshops. Kay Peters, MSN, RN, FCN, president of the parish nurse council of the Camden Diocese, and Bonnie Kratzer, BSN, RN, FCN, parish nurse coordinator of May Court House, NJ, shared their expierences in a workshop on "How to Begin a Parish Nurse Ministry".

Nancy Sturk, BSN, RN, FCN, who created and developed the parish nurse ministry at St. Bonaveture Catholic Church in Minnesota, spoke on "Integrating Faith and Healing", emphasizing how important it is for FCN's to nourish their own spirituality in order to minister to others.

Kay Hurd, MSN, CNP, RN, FCN, president of the FCNLN of New Jersey, and Annie Valerio, RN, FCN, director of the Faith Community Nursng Leadership Network of Atlantic County, presented a third workshop titled "Faith Community Nurses' Toolbox: Activities for Your Ministry." Participants exchanged resources, ideas and programs that had been useful in their settings.

What's Ahead?

The FCNLN plans to have two workshop meetings a year, Hurd said, with a goal of reaching more than 350 nurses who are listed as faith community nurses in New Jersey.

For more information about the Faith Community Nurse Leadership Network of New Jersey, contact Hurd at 908-206-6257, 732-560-9209 or khurd@somerset-health-care.com.