Parish nurses commissioned in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID – In a Dedication Ceremony held at St. Margaret’s Convent Chapel in Lake Placid on April 22, Sister Catherine Cummings and Donna Beal, Mercy Care’s executive director, commissioned three parish nurses and a health minister who had completed the Foundations in Faith Community Nursing Workshop offered by Mercy Care for the Adirondacks.

The parish nurses and health minister commissioned included:

-St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church, Saranac Lake

-Church of St. Luke, the Beloved Physician, Saranac Lake

-St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Plattsburgh

-Paul D. Guerrette

-Barbara Touby

-Judy Baksi

-Joseph Szwed, health minister.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, has trained more than 40 parish nurses in northern New York since its establishment in 2007. There are currently 13 active volunteer parish nurses in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks, Mercy Care’s direct service area.

Parish nurses complete 36 contact hours of training based on the International Parish Nurse Resource Center curriculum. Cummings, RSM, Ed.D., R.N., directs Mercy Care’s Parish Nurse and Friendship Volunteer programs. She is qualified as a parish nurse educator.

“These volunteer nurses and health minister will use their nursing knowledge combined with spiritual care to help people,” Cummings said in a press release. “The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of a faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind and spirit.”

Parish nurses offer assistance in obtaining community services, help with understanding diagnoses, medications and diagnostic tests, provide blood pressure screening, health education programs and much more. The parish nurse does not do hands-on nursing or duplicate what is available through the public health nurse, but does bring his or her nursing experience and faith to the service of others.

Mercy Care’s role in the Parish Nurse Program assists churches and communities in the recruitment of volunteer parish nurses, provides education and training, provides networking opportunities for Mercy Care nurse and friendship volunteers, provides health education materials and program information suitable for use and publication by churches and community organizations, and serves as a resource and facilitator for parish nurses.

Mercy Care carries out its mission to extend mercy to elders in order to enhance the fullness of their lives through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Parish Nurse Program and an Education and Advocacy Program. In addition to its parish nurse volunteers, Mercy Care has more than 90 friendship volunteers assisting more than 100 elders in the Tri-Lakes. They have contributed more than 13,000 hours of service to their elder neighbors.