Brenda Kozak works at First Presbyterian Church 10 to 15 hours a week. Her regular office hours are Tuesdays 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. and Thursdays 10:00 to 11:30 A.M. You can see her at other times by making an appointment. You can reach Brenda by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church office at 434-384-6231. Brenda makes home, hospital, and nursing home visits and helps coordinate patient care on discharge from these facilities.
Brenda has her RN BSN degree from The University of South Carolina. Her background includes nursing positions in ICU, Skilled Care, and Hospice. She enjoys bike riding and horseback riding and is very active in her church. Brenda and her husband enjoy raising their five children. She looks forward to working with the families at First Presbyterian.
Parish Nursing is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, consistent with the basic assumptions of all faiths that we care for self and others as an expression of God’s love. The concept was born out of the understanding of the healing ministry of the church and the need for the church to return to its once active health role.
A Parish Nurse is a registered nurse with additional health training who serves members of the congregation. Parish Nurses do not administer medications, do not give shots and do not do any medical procedures. But these limitations highlight their essential role: providers of health care that focuses on the whole person and emphasizes wellness, disease prevention and health promotion.
The mission of Parish Nursing is the intentional attention to spirit and to the integration of the practice of faith with the practice of nursing so that people can achieve wholeness in, with, and through the community of faith in which Parish Nurses serve.
The purpose of Parish Nursing is to challenge the nursing profession to reclaim the spiritual dimension of nursing care, to challenge the health care system to provide whole person care and to challenge the faith community to restore its healing mission.
Our partnership with Centra Health affords our Parish Nurse and our congregation many benefits from access to Centra’s resources and to the ideas and programs of other local congregational health ministries.
A Primer on Parish Nursing is available at the Presbyterian Church (USA) website.
The Parish Nurse functions under the auspices of the Health Ministry Team and roles of the Parish Nurse include:
- Personal Health Counselor
- Health Educator
- Health Advocate
- Referral Agent and Liaison with Congregational and Community Resources
- Teacher and Facilitator of Volunteers
- Interpreter of the Relationship between Faith and Health
- Developer of Support Groups
So, when might you call on the Parish Nurse?
- When you are discharged from the hospital and have questions about how to cope at home with your illness
- When you are having difficulty dealing with a new or complex diagnosis
- When your blood pressure readings have been high and you want to have them checked and recorded before your next doctor visit
- When you decide to make lifestyle changes such as weight control and exercise and you need some resources and encouragement
- When a family member has a chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s and you are looking for information and community resources to help you
- When you have concerns about a family member and are not sure if they need a health referral
- When you have an idea for an educational program that you think the church would benefit from
What is the Parish Nurse not? The Parish Nurse is not a substitute for your regular health provider, but rather a supplement to him/her. The Parish Nurse does not perform any medical procedures. It is a sort of return to the roots of nursing where the emphasis is on touch and caring, rather than technology.
The Health Ministry Team and Parish Nurse Program at First Presbyterian Church
The Health Ministry Team promotes the integration of all aspects of health: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—as it creates opportunities for church members in all phases of life to enhance their total health, well-being and sense of community within the church.
Interest in a health ministry began when the Care and Nurture Committee sought to find ways to help church members confront medical problems of their own and of their parents. In early 2003, Parish Nurses from area churches met with the Care and Nurture Committee. An exploratory subcommittee on Parish Nursing was formed. The committee researched Parish Nursing and Health Ministries.
Several studies document that faith and participation in a faith community benefit health. Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University is a leader in this field and is the head of the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health. Dr. Koenig spoke at First Presbyterian Church. In 2005, the exploratory committee evolved into the Health Ministry Team and joined with the Centra Health as a Congregational Health Partner. In January 2007, a Parish Nurse was hired part time.
The Health Ministry Team informs, educates and involves church members in a variety of ways. Through our partnership with Centra Health, we have access to health resources throughout the community.
The Health Ministry Team coordinates its efforts with its parent committee, Care and Nurture, and the various other Care and Nurture sub-committees.
The Health Ministry Team is chaired by the Parish Nurse.
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