HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF PARISH NURSING IN CANADA - revised June 2010
The concept of parish nursing began in Europe, arriving in the United States in the mid. 1980’s, and spreading to Canada less than a decade later, as early as 1992. Thousands of nurses are currently active in the ministry. As interest in this ministry began to grow across Canada and as parish nursing began to be practiced in various locations, there was a need to bring the people and organizations involved together for the purpose of networking and establishing common purposes and strategies.
- 1998 March 27 - A conference call, organized by the Salvation Army and the Catholic Health Association of Canada, was held with 12 persons involved in parish nursing from across Canada. The topic of the meeting was: Parish Nursing: Is it time to look at it from a National Perspective? The group discussed how to further parish nursing nationally as a way for the church to be involved in developing healthier communities. It was agreed that those attending the Bethany Care Society Parish Nurse meeting in Calgary, AB in May would meet to continue the dialogue.
- 1998 May 15 - A meeting was held the day after the conference in Calgary, AB. The representatives from The Salvation Army and the Catholic Health Association of Canada facilitated the meeting. Eleven people were in attendance. The group formed itself into the Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Steering Committee to oversee the organization of a national symposium in Toronto for August 1998. An invitation to known shareholders to attend the symposium was sent out.
- 1998 August 21-23 - An Invitational National Symposium on Parish Nursing held in Toronto. ON. Approximately forty persons, representing parish nurses, nurse educators, theological educators, faith communities and other interested organizations from across the country, participated in what is now recognized as the founding meeting for this national organization. At this meeting, discussion groups on Identity, Standards, Education, Structure, and Sponsorship/Funding were held. Fundamental initiatives were set into motion as a result of this founding meeting. The Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum was established with a Coordinating Committee of eight persons elected for a one year term. This committee was mandated to:
- pursue the feasibility of establishing national education guidelines for parish nursing education
- pursue the feasibility of establishing national standards of practice for parish nursing
- formulate a proposed structure for the governance of a new organization.
- 1999 April 26-28 - The Second Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum, held in Calgary, AB. The same topics and issues discussed at the first forum were further developed and updated. Thirty one participants attended the forum. The forum defined and approved the mission statement, vision statement, guiding principles, and goals of the Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum. It articulated a definition of the parish nurse, and the role of the parish nurse. It was decided that the forum would be represented by a six member coordinating committee.
- 2000 June 23-25 - Annual Convention at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, NB. There were 51 participants. This convention finalized the work on Identity, and continued the work on Education, Standards of Practice, and Funding. In addition, draft by-laws were reviewed. The annual gathering would henceforth be called the annual convention of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.
- 2001 May 5-6 - Annual Convention in Calgary, AB. By-laws for a new corporation were approved by the membership in attendance at Nakoda Lodge north of the city of Calgary. There were 45 in attendance. The Education Committee identified and presented the core learning competencies necessary for parish nurses. After discussion they were accepted and presented to the board as a working document for two (2) years. Standards of practice continued to be developed within these committees and further sharing and discussion followed.
- 2001 December 24 - The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry (CAPNM) becomes incorporated.
- 2002 May 24-26 - Annual Convention and General Meeting in Ottawa, ON. There were 88 in attendance at the Ottawa City Hall. Work completed to date on Education and Standards of Practice guidelines was reviewed and will continue to be developed. A Membership committee and an Archive committee were formed. Application has been made for Charitable Status.
- 2003 May 30, 31, June 1 - Annual Convention and General Meeting in Moncton, NB. There were 60 in attendance at the School of Nursing, Jacqueline Bouchard building.
The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry has been granted charitable status and is now a registered charity. A draft Standards of Practice for Parish Nurses document was received by the membership. Information packages were given to members to promote membership in CAPNM.
- 2004 May 28 to 30th - Annual Convention and General meeting in Saskatoon, SK. There were 87 in attendance at the Quality Inn. The annual report package sent to the membership early in May included The Core Learning Competencies and Standards of Practice for Parish Nursing, audited statements, and reports from the committee. Membership has risen to more than 140 members. The web page at www.capnm.ca continues to be developed.
- 2005 May 27th to 29th - Annual Convention and General Meeting was held at the 89 Chestnut St. Residence of the University of Toronto beginning with a Thursday evening Labyrinth walk followed by Friday and Saturday sessions. Our theme was “Celebrating: Unity in Diversity!” Worship, closing and sending forth were held in the Chapel and Hall of Trinity College of the University of Toronto. There were 95 in attendance. Our membership is now at 190 with 22 organizations included in that number.
Dr. Lynn McDonald was our Keynote Speaker, educating us about Florence Nightingale, and Dr. Anne Simmonds led us in spiritual renewal. Florence Nightingale herself visited us at our Florence Nightingale Tea for Two on Saturday afternoon.
- 2006 May 26th to 28th - Annual Convention and General Meeting was held at the Maison N.D.A., Religieuses Hospitalières de St. Joseph, Bathurst, New Brunswick. There were 62 in attendance. The theme was “Navigating the Course of Parish Nursing Ministry: Love in Action”. Membership is at 166 members with 24 organizations included in that number. Dr. Megan McKenna, storyteller and world traveler, was our keynote speaker. A panel discussed having an effective Ministry Team. Gail Brimbecom presented on Documentation and Elsie Millerd led a session on Standards and Learning Competencies. Fundraising events included Tea for Two and Silent Auction held during the meetings. Committees met for work sessions to continue with the goals of each committee. Delegates chose one of Research, Visibility and Partnership, Interfaith Dialogue, Funding, Membership and Education and then met to discuss furthering their work.
Priorities and future directions for Committees and Board for 2006-07 will be as follows:
- Review definitions and statements
- Develop easy to use official statement of who we are as parish nurses
- Clarify definitions
- Research – Who are we? Are we making a difference?
- Establish links with Parish Nurse Education programs
Delegates were treated to a Historic Fashion Show, A lobster dinner, Acadian Village Tour, Nepisiquit Museum Tour, and wonderful meals at the Maison N.D.A., Sacred Heart Cathedral and Central United Church in Clifton, NB.
- 2007 May 25 to 27th - One hundred delegates to the 9th Annual Conference and General Meeting of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry met in Edmonton at the University of Alberta, Lister Conference Centre, May 25th to 27th, 2007. The theme was “Parish Nursing: Harvests of Compassion”. Wheat was used as a symbol of the theme. Successful fund-raising events included our 3rd annual silent auction and our 3rd annual Tea for two. Provincial delegates met for lunch in table groups according to province to get to know each other and to assist in forming provincial networks. Our current membership is 195; which includes 24 organizations. At five times during the meetings time was devoted to the Annual General Meeting of CAPNM, the election of Board members and also focus work by the committees planning for the coming year.
As a result of the committee work the focus for the work of the CAPNM Board of Directors for 2007-2008 will be:
To continue to affirm who we are as The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry through the work of all our committees,
- Continue research
- Review Standards and Competencies and the CAPNM Bylaws
- Increase membership and visibility
- Explore and implement methods that will achieve sustainable funding
- Translate our documents into French
- Encourage provincial interest groups
- Communicate with schools of nursing and denominations
Keynote Speakers were Dr. Joanne Olson, Parish Nurse at Riverbend United Church Edmonton and Dr. Margaret Clark, authors of “Nursing Within a Faith Community”. Their theme was “Seeds of Compassion in the Springtime of Harvest.” Plenary Session One with speakers Karen Bridges, Riverbend United Church, Edmonton and Pastor Dalton Grant, McLaurin Memorial Baptist Church, spoke on “Rituals of Healing and Healing Services”. Plenary Session Two with Dr. Allan Effa, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Taylor University College spoke on “Reclaiming the Healing Mission of the Church” Breakout Sessions included Dr. John Taylor, MD, Medical Services, Workers’ Compensation Board, Alberta speaking on Pandemic Flu Preparedness, and Pastor Lee Woolery, Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Calgary, AB with Ms Diana Kemp RN MN Chair Health Ministry Committee, Riverbend United Church talking about the Role of Health Ministry Committees in the Development of Parish Nurse Ministry Programs.
Closing Worship on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007 centred on the theme “Harvest of Compassion Going Forth”. Rt. Rev.Victoria Matthews, Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Edmonton led this service of peace and healing with Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, United Church of Christ assisting. CAPNM has been accepted as an Associate Member of the Canadian Nurses Association in May 2007.
- 2008 May 29th to June 1st - One hundred delegates to the 10th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry met at the Elmhurst Inn and Country Spa in Ingersoll, Ontario. The theme was Parish Nursing – Healing ‘Art’. Successful fund-raising events included our 4th annual silent auction and our 4th annual Tea for Two. Provincial delegates met for lunch in table groups according to province to get to know each other and to assist in forming provincial networks. Our current membership is 195; which includes 23 organizations. At five times during the meetings, time was devoted to the Annual General Meeting of CAPNM, the election of Board Members, several bylaw changes, and also focus work by the committees to plan for the coming year.As a result of the committee work the focus for the work of the CAPNM Board of Directors for 2008-2009 will be:
To continue to affirm who we are as The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry through the work of all our committees,￼
- Continue research
- ￼Increase membership and visibility￼
- Explore and implement methods that will achieve sustainable funding
- ￼Continue to Translate and distribute our French documents￼
- Encourage provincial interest groups￼
- Continue to communicate with all schools of nursing and denominations
Keynote Speakers Dr. David and Juliet Benner, Victoria BC, were inspiring to all as they presented their workshop on- “Paintings and Texts”, Spirituality and Health in Healers and the Healing Arts – David, Healing Art –Juliet- an experiential session---Look & Live—looking at paintings in a posture of relaxed openness and learning to see God in it. God carries us and enables us to carry others; and Four Spiritual Practices that Nourish Life- Awareness of God, Wonder – take time to see, Embrace reality.
Inspiring Saturday breakout sessions included:
- Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, St. Louis MI -The Art of Writing
- Rev. Dr. Lonnie Atkinson, Ingersoll, ON - The Art of Music
- Sharon Barrick, London, ON - Prayer Shawl Ministry©
- Mary Jane Bissett, Goderich, ON - Creating a Spirituality Centre
- Karen Marks, Claremont, ON - The Labyrinth as Healing Art
Spiritually uplifting pictures presented by photographer Carl Hiebert at the Elmhurst Inn on Friday evening, and a moving concert by Glen Soderholm on Saturday evening at St. Paul’s Presbyterian restored our souls.
Healing worship at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Ingersoll on Sunday morning June 1 was led by Rev. Dr. Lonnie Atkinson, assisted by Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, Karen Marks and Fran Hudson. Ritual hand-washing cleansed and prepared us for our return to our ministries across the country.
- 2009 May 21st to 24th - Ninety-five Parish Nurses, interested individuals and clergy met at the Park Town Hotel on the South Saskatchewan River in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The theme for this year was “Bridging Spirituality and Health”. The worship team consisted of Bob Williston, Rev. David Tyler, and Rev. David Hunter. Deacon Bob Williston, Mission Educator, Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan, wrote the conference Hymn called “We’ll Build a Bridge”. Opportunities for visiting and fellowship were welcomed by all. Worship was deep and moving led by Rev. Harold Hesje, Rev. David Hunter, Rev. Dave Tyler, Bob Williston, and Margaret Hundeby. Parish Nurse Stories were told by Mary Tyler, Sr. Carol Borreson, Carol Kostiuk, Judy Johnson, Deb Bauche and Ethna Martin, and Judy Hertlein, members of the Saskatoon Parish Nurse Group. Joyce Beckett and Judy Johnson were co chairs for the conference planning group. Activities included Poster Presentations, Tea for Two, identifying graduation pictures of the parish nurses – not an easy task!, and a raffle of a beautiful painting of one of the seven bridges in Saskatoon, a hand knitted Aran sweater were two of the items. The Silent Auction was successful again this year. Our current membership is 156 members including 16 member organizations.
The conference objectives were:
Through exciting and expert presenters, participation in thought-provoking concurrent sessions and networking in a spiritually caring environment, to:
- ￼Explore together the bridge between spirituality, health and healing both in worship and theological reflection.￼
- Share innovative ideas and excellence in the practice of parish nursing.￼
- Provide opportunities for parish nurses, clergy, congregational members and others to network.
- ￼Provide time for self care through fun, laughter and fellowship.
- ￼Enable participants to appreciate different developmental states of parish nurse ministry in Canada and world wide.￼
- Appreciate cultural diversity as it relates to spirituality and healing.￼
- Discuss roles of parish nurses.
Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R, the provincial leader of Edmonton Toronto Redemptorists Community, ‘Bridges to Healing Ministry’
Jeff Christianson, B. Psych & Rel.St., M.Th, spoke on ‘Bridges to the Community’.
Don and Pat Peake, B.Th. & R.N. ‘Bridges to Parish Nursing’
Participating in the Panel Discussion were Fr. Michael Brehl, and Jeff Christianson. Some key thoughts were:
- The last step in the ministry of presence is to disappear.
- Parish nursing provides the space where you can meet the people. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
- The ‘church’ is the body of Christ, not the institution….language is critical. Narrative about inclusion and abundant love. Then we will enter the healing space.
- Parish Nurse Clergy Team Ministry – Don and Pat Peake
- Ethical Issues: Father Mark Miller, Toronto, ON
- Stories that Heal: Megan McKenna
- Building Global Bridges for Sharing: Promising Practices in Health Ministries, with Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, IPNRC, St. Louis, MOABC’s of Parish Nursing: Dr. Gail Brimbecom
- Complementary Care for Survivors: Carol Kostiuk
- Bridging Across Generations: Candace Laing, Director People Strategies SIAST
Our first “Parish Nurse Walk” was by the Saskatchewan River on lovely landscaped trails and raised more than $6900 to support Parish Nursing in Saskatchewan and The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.
On Sunday May 24, 2009 morning worship was led by Pastor Dave Hunter, the theme-
Planted in God, Growing in Christ, and Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. The Parish Nursing Prayer was shared and the Meditation was given by Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson. Gathered prayers of the community…written on sheets of paper over the conference worship times by members of the community were offered up. This was followed by the Blessing of the Hands for all present. Worship closed with the Hymn: “Go My children with my Blessing”
“Go in Peace and Serve the Lord”
- 2010 May 6th to 8th - Fifty – two parish nurses, clergy and interested individuals travelled to the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia to participate in the 12th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.For the first time in our history we partnered with Providence Health Care in their third biennial spirituality conference. The theme was ‘Spirituality, The Invisible Ingredient in Health and Healing’. It was an excellent opportunity to hear international speakers and provided a wonderful learning environment. Keynote Speaker: Larry R. Churchill, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN spoke about his research study of 50 face to face interviews with professionals and patients (2006 – 2007) on the eight key ingredients that promote healing. We learned that the essence of healing is presence. Kirby Kranabetter, BA, MA, Bruyere Continuing Care, Ottawa, ON – ‘Lord my life is too easy—famous last words and what I’ve learned journeying from a hospital bed to a hospital chaplain’ was an inspiring motivational speaker.
Marion Briggs, Providence Health Care, Vancouver, BC presented ‘The Spirit of Leadership’, with many inspiring comments on leading a critical care team in downtown Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital.
There were nineteen concurrent sessions to choose from on Thursday, May 6 and Friday, May 7, 2010. Five members of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry presented breakout sessions as follows:
- Janine Ballingall Scotten, Winnipeg, MB: It IS all about you! The Art of Self-Care
- Vicky Knight Baby Boomers, Fredericton, NB: Health and Spirituality
- Michelle O’Rourke, Chatham, ON: Befriending Death: A Spirituality of Dying
- Dr. Paul Schoepp, Edmonton, AB: Parish Nursing: Linking Faith and Health for Wholeness
In the evening on Thursday we met for the first part of our AGM welcoming members from across Canada, including Whitehorse YT and New Brunswick too. A PowerPoint presentation on the history of Parish Nursing in Canada over the past twelve years was presented by Darlene Dawson, Calgary AB, the chair of the CAPNM Board of Directors. Our slate of nominations for 2010 2011 was presented by Sr. Ernestine LaPlante, Bathurst, NB. Delicious finger foods were a welcome feature as we met on the 35th floor of the Coast Plaza Hotel, enjoying a marvellous view of Vancouver and English Bay.
On Friday evening after the close of the Providence Health Care Spirituality Conference we joined together at the ‘A – Mazing Laughter Statues’ for our second annual “Walk for Parish Nursing” along the edge of English Bay.
Before our banquet we enjoyed greetings from ten different representatives from parish nursing organizations and individuals, including Dick Cathell from St. Joseph’s Heath Care in Bellingham, Washington.
Ray Blyth presented a historical scrap book to Darlene Dawson featuring pictures and programs from the 11 previous Annual General Meetings and conferences of CAPNM. We will display this at our annual conferences.
The Silent Auction was a great opportunity to view the many items from across Canada and to bid on them in support of our organization. A really wonderful buffet dinner was enjoyed by all.
The ‘NoshitShirleys’ entertained us following the dinner. The Shirleys are an all-female acapella septet that pack a real punch that fight back against injustice, intolerance, hopelessness and despair, singing everything from Cuban Carnival music and tragic Russian Love songs to sweet Mandarin flirtations and wrenching Appalachian protests. Their mission is to promote joy, love, and happiness through singing and –if possible – to save the world.
Saturday was a full day of Annual General Meeting with new board of directors: Rev. Lee Woolery, Darlene Dawson, Carol Rose Kudelka, Vicky Knight, and Judy McIntosh installed by Sr. Ernestine LaPlante, and two outgoing directors recognized: Betty Behm and Heather Cushing. The Standards Committee position paper “The Parish Nurse is a Registered Nurse’ was thoroughly discussed and passed by a vote of the membership present. Work Groups were formed and the work of our committees and direction for the Board of Directors for the year ahead was formulated.
Meaningful and reverent worship was led by Rev. Norm Pettersson and Bruce Harding, Music Minister at Crossroads United Church, Delta, BC led us in music and song. We ended our meetings renewed and refreshed and anxious to return to our ministries.
- 2011 June 17-19 - Moncton, New Brunswick - 65 parish nurses and interested individuals gathered at Crandall University for the 13th Annual General Meeting and Conference. The theme was ‘The Power of Caring Through Shifting Tides’, exploring the tides of life and the impact of caring through prayer, sharing and stories. Our keynote speakers were Reverend Dr. Deborah Patterson, ‘Navigating the Tides of Change’ and Nancy Nason-Clark spoke ‘Shattering the Holy Hush on Domestic Violence: Harnessing the Power of Caring in Faith Communities’. Morning concurrent sessions included guided question and discussion with Dr. Deb Patterson, ‘Keeping Afloat: Compassionate Self-Care within the Tides of Life’ with Lid Haugen-Strand, ‘True Presence with People Living with Depression’ with Karen Ursel, The Caring Journey in Final Days with Yvonne Reicker, and ‘Formation de Benevoles Compatissantes avec Jacqueline LeBlanc.
A second set of concurrent sessions followed in the afternoon: ‘Support and Advocacy for Lone Mothers after Leaving Intimate Partner Violence’ with Lynne Duffy, ‘the Caring Journey in Final Days’, with Yvonne Reicker, and ‘Training the Caring Volunteer’ with Jacqueline LeBlanc.
Although Saturday was a rainy day many of the members participated in the 3rd annual Walk for Parish Nursing at a nearby natural park. The walk was followed by a royal Tea For Two with Dr. Angela Bardeesy dressed as the Queen and Sr. Ernestine LaPlante as Jeanne Mance and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Silent Auction was once more a resounding success with many interesting items from members across Canada.
Recognition was given by Darlene Dawson, outgoing chair, to the past Coordinator Fran Hudson for her work on behalf of CAPNM over the past 10 years and good wishes for her retirement from the position.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday. Work Group meetings were an opportunity for each of the committees to discuss their future planning for the work in the year ahead. The elections were held and the Board installed. Recognition was given to the outgoing board members, and the elected members were installed as follows: Mary Shaw - Organizational Director, Kathy Matusiak - Parish Nurse, Sister Ernestine LaPlante was appointed Director at Large. An invitation was received from the organizing committee to attend the 14th AGM and Conference in Ottawa, Ontario May 9 to 11, 2012, ‘Parish Nursing and Social Justice, a Capital Idea’.
The work of the board for 2011-2012 was established from the work group future directions: increase membership, work on sustainable funding projects, ensure awareness of standards and competencies, continue and develop research on parish nursing, review the bylaws for any updates for next AGM in Ottawa, update the educational resource on the website and maintain contact with the various schools of nursing and parish nursing programs are some general directions for the work of the board and committees.
Meaningful worship was conducted during the conference and was inspiring to all. We all left for home and some for vacation with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to parish nursing.