Mind, Body, Spirit
The UCC Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter
November 2017, Volume 2, Issue 10
Occupational and Environmental Health - Part of our Ministry
One of our objectives as a faith community nurse is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities and prevention of illness and injury (ANA/HMA, 2017). After assessing the environmental health risks present within our facilities and the occupational health issues for ourselves and our colleagues we can act to reduce the risk of illness and injury. For complex environmental hazards nurses in occupational and environmental health nursing are a helpful resource.
Environmental health. The setting into which we invite people may pose a number of safety issues both inside and outside the facility. For example we can reduce the risk of injury by ensuring that handrails are secure, ice is cleared from walkways, floors are dry, rugs don’t slip, fire extinguishers are visible and work, and emergency exits are marked and not blocked. The health and wellbeing of individuals requires that: soap is available in lavatories, cleaning supplies are non-toxic and free of odor, allergens such as dust, mold, and mildew are eradicated, food that is served has been prepared and maintained in a sanitary manner, ingredients within food are clearly labeled so that those with allergies or diet restrictions may safely participate in the activities of the community. Surveying the work and worship environment of your faith community should be done periodically since change is constant.
Occupational health. Twenty-five years ago, ministers were among the healthiest of professionals, however as an aggregate our health has been declining ever since. Even after accounting for demographic differences clergy rates for diabetes, arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, and obesity are higher than the general population of those we serve. Mental illness is also an issue with ministers reporting depression rates double that of the general public. The findings are similar regardless of the denomination. Our health is challenged when responding to the constant urgency of other people’s needs causes an inbalance between the care of others and the care of self. Unfortunately, in this time of electronic connectedness some expect us to be available 24/7.
The Clergy Health Initiative begun in 2008 has identified interventions that have a positive influence on both the mental and physical health of ministers. Taken together they provide the basis of a “Foundation for Flourishing” in ministry. Information related specifically to Clergy Wellbeing in the UCC is available on the UCC website.
Programs to improve clergy health are successful when they address the multiple expectations and conditions that can affect a minister’s health. Realistically some conditions are amenable to change and some are not. A chart titled Approaching clergy health holistically visually separates those conditions that are static – less amenable to change and those that are dynamic – amenable to change.
Sacrificing the Body, an article published in The Leadership Journal, explores both the challenges and healthy adjustments that may be made in the pastoral lifestyle. The suggestions are theologically sound and rooted in scripture. The concepts of grace, Sabbath and stewardship of the body support the rational for healthy choices. Encouragement among colleagues to address issues of personal health and well-being motivates each of us to take appropriate action. Not surprisingly it has been found that when the minister(s) is/are healthy, the congregation benefits.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
RESOURCES FOR OUR PRACTICE
The “Be the Church” statement is defined with nine bold statements that describe what it means to be an unapologetically UCC Christian. You may have seen the infographic on the UCC’s Facebook page or on a banner hanging in your church. The Be The Church: A Mission Planning Guide for Congregations includes a Congregational Assessment Tool and Planning Worksheets. This toolkit can help create the means to identify the vitality of the congregation’s health ministry. The downloadable document provides guidance in strategic planning and how to measure outcomes/impacts. It can help determine the answer to the question, “Are you having an intended impact or an accidental impact?” The appendices provide Biblical references and additional resources. Additional pieces are being planned to further support this work.
Are you overdosing on over commitment? This is a question that Rev. Kirk Byron Jones ask in his book Rest in the Storm - Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers. Drawing from biblical, theological, and sociological sources Kirk explains the fundamental importance of self-care for professionals engaged in helping people. He identifies the factors that influence overload and provides creative and practical strategies to regain control. The book is a resource for personal discernment or staff group discussion. It is also a helpful for a book group to explore since over commitment is rampant within our society.
During the month of October, which was Domestic Violence Awareness month, some individuals may have confided about their situation and sought assistance. inner healing for Broken Vessels – a Domestic Violence Survival Guide was written by Rev. Linda H. Hollies and published by Pilgrim Press. Linda clearly outlines the seven steps of her healing process as she acted on the decision to move forward with her life after being a victim of childhood incest. She parallels the steps to lives of both biblical and modern-day women who have struggled with similar issues. Encouraging other women she states, “Inner Healing belongs to the people of God. Let your healing process begin. There is no better time than now!”
RESOURCES FOR OUR ONGOING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- If you offer blood pressure screening or you serve people who have hypertension learn more about how the 'MAP' Program Improves Hypertension Control (Medscape-Sept 19, 2017). MAP is an acronym that stands for: measure blood pressure accurately every time it’s measured, act rapidly to manage uncontrolled blood pressure, and partner with patients to promote blood-pressure self-management. We FCNs can partner with patients enrolled in these programs and support their self-management efforts. The MAP BP improvement program is a central part of Target BP, a joint initiative between the American Heart Asso. (AHA) and the American Medical Asso. (AMA) with the goal of reducing the number of adults who die each year from MI and stroke. On page two of the Fact Sheet there is information specific to how you can get involved and support the success of individuals.
- In the Oct. 12, 2017 UCC Daily Devotional titled – Ruinous Empathy Molly Baskette explains that when we care for others without challenging them directly to reach their potential, or we fail to acknowledge their failures, mistakes, or obnoxious aggression, we are “ruinously empathetic.” She explains how this characterizes a lot of how we relate to each other in church. The example she shares is not directly related to our ministry but provides insight into how we may unknowingly be part of a organization where leaders for one reason or another do not press too deeply into the personal lives of others. This type of “kindness” is actually not helpful. Thankfully she provides direction as to how we may change – or save – a life.
- Practicing as a faith community nurse we have skills in spiritual assessment and care that nurses in other specialties do not possess. We can offer to share our unique knowledge and gifts with local nursing education programs. Sharon Galloway, RN, M.Ed. explains what can be done and how to do it in a peer reviewed article Spiritual Immersion: Developing and Evaluating a Simulation Exercise to Teach Spiritual Care to Undergraduate Nursing Students, published in Nurse Educator. 42(4):199-203, July/August 2017.
- Information on Opioids for Faith and Community-based Leaders and Community Members. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 people in the United States died of an opioid overdose, that is an average of more than 90 people each day. This number includes people who have been prescribed opioids. Some of those who died today were members of a church community, maybe even yours. In addition, some who will come to worship this Sunday, sing in the choir, or teach Church School are currently addicted to opioids after having been given a prescription to mitigate pain. There are resources available to help.
- Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit - This toolkit, developed by the HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, contains practical steps you can take to bring hope and healing to those suffering the consequences of opioid abuse disorder.
- Understanding the Opioid Crisis: What's at the Heart of the Matter? Is the first part of this two part series with presenters from the CDC and SAMHSA.
- There is Hope: Treatment, Recovery, & Prevention explains how connecting people to treatment and recovery support has shown to be effective and can save lives. It also talks about getting ahead of the problem, the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the development of a substance use disorder, and how upstream preventative action can restore hope and a brighter, healthier future to generations to come.
How does your church compare with others within the UCC?
- The United Church of Christ - A Statistical Profile with Reflection/Discussion Questions for Church Leaders is a useful resource. “The United Church of Christ is a dynamic, evolving movement of people and institutions across location and time.” The statistics presented provide information that helps to illuminate our past, realize the present, and envision the future. The questions for reflections will help local church leaders such as you apply this data to your particular context for the purpose of visioning future possibilities.
*Announcement from the American Nurse Credentialing Center
Those who are currently certified by portfolio will be able to maintain their certification by meeting ANCC’s certification renewal requirements. Contact Kathy Chappell at Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org or (301)628-5231 with comments and questions. More information about the decision and a link to the actual memo is available.
DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
Some of these dates provide the opportunity to integrate health ministry activities with programming of other ministries. Direct links are provided when available
Nov. 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance - materials available
Dec.1st World AIDS Day
Dec. 10th Human Rights Day
Jan.28th Health & Human Services Sunday
Feb. 11th Racial Justice Sunday
March 4th Women’s Week
Have something you want to share with your colleagues?
Are you looking for something to assist you in your ministry?
That which we share with others multiplies immeasurably.
Contact Peggy Matteson
NEED ASSISTANCE SEARCHING PAST NEWSLETTERS?
Looking for something you remember reading last year but you don’t remember in which issue of 2016 it occurred?
A topical Index now is posted on the UCC website with the list of those newsletters so that you may more easily find the information!