The Department of Community Outreach and the Valley Parish Nurse (VPN) Program continues to serve as the hub of Griffin Hospital’s outreach activities, accounting for more than 40,000 community contacts in 2011. These contacts included fitting bike helmets, training adults and children in CPR, and providing health education and information at senior centers, shopping centers, neighborhoods, companies, and community events and fairs. This number also included more than 7,500 health screenings – which can help identify problems when they are most treatable – and nearly 11,000 referrals for follow up care.
However, the VPN program is just one of the ways Griffin strives to promote community health and wellness while closing racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic gaps in health status. The hospital collaborated with community partners to create new initiatives such as the Valley Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the Health Initiative for Men (HiM), Safe Kids, and the Valley Initiative to Advance Health & Learning in Schools (VITAHLS).
About the Valley Parish Nurse Program
Parish nurses are persons of faith who are experienced registered nurses, and who have received special education in holistic health care. They have skills in teaching and health counseling as well as knowledge of community resources. The Valley Parish Nurses serve as coordinators between the clergy, parish and resources in the community, such as hospitals and other social service agencies.
Why a Parish Nurse Program?
Having a qualified, registered nurse on the parish staff can enhance the Church's efforts to integrate Whole Person Health into its congregation. The parish nurse can assist those in need of healing and convey the parish's concerns for its parishioners.
The Role of a Parish Nurse
- Health Educator: Using health screenings, discussion groups, classes and other events to help the congregation recognize the interrelationship of mind, body and spirit.
- Health Counselor: Being available for personal consultations along with home, hospital and nursing home visits.
- Facilitator/Organizer: Recruiting and coordinating volunteers and support groups within the congregation.
- Referral Source: Acting as a liaison to community and religious resources and services.
Qualifications of a Parish Nurse
- Registered Nurse currently licensed in the State of Connecticut
- Three years nursing experience
- Knowledge of the sacramental and spiritual life of the Church
- Experience in teaching and health counseling
- Knowledge and practice of holistic health philosophy
- Ability to work with highly diverse types of individuals and groups
- Sincere, outgoing and empathetic
- Self-motivated, requiring little or no supervision