WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Spiritual balm for faith community nurses

The holistic nature of faith community nursing was highlighted for 36 delegates at a recent conference on the subject with the exploration of a range of topics from care of the aged to spiritual aspects of mental illness and historical biblical models.

The New Zealand Faith Community Nurses Association (NZFCNA) conference theme, fresh balm for future practice, underpinned the events spiritual concepts of healing balm mingled with practical nursing issues.

Delegates to the four-day conference in Waikanae at the end of September were challenged to explore assessment of spiritual need.

The ecumenical chaplain for Mental Health in Christchurch, Wyatt Butcher, described times when he had been able to positively support severely compromised mental health clients within his role.

A member of the Mental Health Commission and cultural adviser to the Wairarapa DHB, Hineroa Hakiaha, discussed the spiritual dimensions of Māori whanau heritage.

She explained the development of whanau ora and how faith community nurses could achieve a better understanding of how Māori clients can access mental health services.

‘Empathising with our Māori clients involves taking into consideration their personal and group history to appropriately support them through our practice.

The chief executive of the Selwyn Foundation Anglican Elderly Care Ministry, Duncan Macdonald, challenged delegates to plan, strategise and ‘look long down the years’ to ensure that the FCN was relevant, ‘on the cutting edge of tomorrow’. He presented practical logistic guidelines to expand vision.

Professor Elaine Wainwright of the School of Theology at Auckland University gave an historical view of the role of women in healing from early Greco-Roman days to the New Testament times. She interpreted gospel healing from Mark’s gospel, seeing faith community nurses as following this model.

For more information about the NZFCNA, email cgwebster@xtra.co.nz or visit the web site: www.faithnursing.co.nz