Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – October 2016




October 2016, Volume 1, Issue 10

Mind, Body, Spirit:
Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

The month of January, a relative calm period between major events on our church calendar, presents opportunities for life saving health education activities.  The national epidemic of the often deadly use of legal and illegal drugs calls for us to respond.  Here are three companion health education programs you could implement that will benefit families in your congregation and community.

01a-NatlDrugAlcoholWeek.png2017 NATIONAL DRUG & ALCOHOL FACTS WEEK (January 23rd-January 29th) links students with scientists and other experts to Shatter the Myths,℠about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, social media, TV, movies, or from friends.  Looking nation-wide at reported past month drug use among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol.  When teens are given the scientific facts about drugs, they can be better prepared to make good decisions for themselves and they can share that information with others.    An online guide, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, gives you everything you need to plan, promote, and host a program, including free materials for teens.

The home page also provides links to partner organizations and activities. Under the Partner Spotlight area there is a listing of Our Partners – 46 other organizations working together to address this problem.  All have resources!   

One partner organization that I know makes a difference is The Herren Project [THP]. Their Project Purple Initiative empowers youth to stand up to substance abuse, promotes positive decision making, and encourages them to make a difference in their communities.  The program has grown out of the life experience of Chris Herren, a kid who grew-up as a star basketball player and then went on to play college and professional basketball, marry and have children.  The continuing use of alcohol and then drugs became the focus of his life and he lost everything.  Chris regained sobriety 8 years ago and has rebuilt his life with a passion to alert others to the dangers and provide them with assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety.  If you watch his Note to Self that was shown on CBS This Morning or Chris Herren – Unguarded you will understand why his telling of his story has such a powerful effect on youth, as well as adults.

01b-Rx.pngBrown Bag Medicine Reviews

A Brown Bag Review of medicines encourages people to put all of their medicines and herbal supplements into a bag and bring them to you for review. The goal is to determine what medicines a person is taking, what he or she knows about the medicine, and how they are taking them. The process can identify medicine errors and misunderstandings that have a possible negative effect on health. Information is available on how to conduct a Brown Bag Medicine Review. You could plan it as a special event, part of another event such as a health fair, and/or as an ongoing service. Another tool to Help Patients Remember How and When to Take Their Medicine assists the person to stay on track and provides documentation to carry with them as they move between their health care providers, including you.

Safeguarding Medicine in the Home A third step is to provide information on how to Safeguard Medicine in the Home. Two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances.  Parents and Grandparents can play a powerful role in preventing teens from obtaining these medicinal drugs.  Provide them with a list of sites in your community where they can safely dispose of unused medications. 


“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”  Psalm 98:4   Are you familiar with the Joyful Noiseletter?  Each issue provides funny religious stories free of profanity and blasphemy, plus a page of cartoons that can be used in sermons, church programs, and church bulletins.   In 2014 the newsletter published an article titled The Physically Fit Messiah.  Reading the article will bring a smile to your face as the author reminds us that “Jesus, the healer, was supremely healthy, robust, loving, and joyful”, he walked everywhere and ate primarily a vegetarian diet, and that “Jesus came to us with a message of salvation through both spiritual and physical fitness”.


Health Education

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.  In addition to various types of individual and communal violence, dangerous and dramatic weather events have also created traumatic situations.  Information on PTSD is available from the National Institute of Mental Health that will help parishioners understand the occurrence of and treatment for PTSD.  Similar information specific to PTSD in Children and Teens is available from the National Center for PTSD.


03-AdmitOne.pngAdmit One: What You Must Know When Going to the Hospital – But No One Actually Tells You! by Kati Kleber, BSN, RN, CCRN. Kati draws from both the perspective of her experience as a patient and her perspective as a nurse to speak to both providers and potential patients.  She discusses what patients should be aware of and what kind of questions they should ask during pre-hospitalization visits.  This book can help you guide the people you are in ministry with as they face any planned hospitalization.


03-PackUpYourSorrows.pngPack Up Your Sorrows: A story of illness, hope, and transformation is the story of singer, songwriter Meg Hutchinson’s journey as she explores the reality of living a healthy life while coping with mental illness. Meg weaves her personal experience with Bipolar Disorder between conversations with researchers, advocates and leaders in the field of mental health including Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr, Nassir Ghaemi.  View the trailer to see if your congregation and community would benefit from seeing this movie.


Continuing Education
Health Ministers Guide (HMG) – Connecting Science and Community Health provides, in 5 languages, need-to-know information and community interventions. The HMG series provides written information, posters, and variety of materials to get the topical information shared.  It is part of a larger effort to build resilient communities.  Some topics are:  Health Minister’s Guide on Zika and the Zika Action Guide for Health Ministers, Viral Hepatitis – The Silent Epidemic, Bladder Health: What Health Ministers Need to Know, and Seasonal Flu Guide for Faith-Based and Community Organizations.

This resource has been created because the Partnership Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships “recognizes that Health Ministers are first responders, trusted messengers, accompaniers, and cultural key holders”. We are viewed as “vital actors in an integrated-prevention focused health delivery system”.  It is wonderful to have the importance of this work recognized and supported with materials!!

04-USAMentalHealthFirstAid.pngMental Health First Aid is a face-to-face public education program that helps parents, first responders, faith leaders, and other people identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use conditions.  There are two 8-hour courses available. One focuses on the care of adults and one focuses on the care of youth ages between the ages of 12 and 18.  Federal grants are now enabling recipients to offer this training at a reduced rate.  Contact Mental Health First Aid instructors in your area for information.  Locate a course near you and ask about rates for faith leaders including you.


05-StoneSoupfortheCommunity.pngStone Soup for the Community – The Story of a Faith-Based Health Coalition, written by Karen Jo Hahn,  describes the process followed by the Fifth Ward Congregational Health Coalition to Bring “Healing of the Body and Spirit to the Community”.  Formed by three pastors and a faith community nurse in 2000, the Coalition now includes dedicated community leaders and volunteers from 35 different churches and organizations that provide free health and social services for persons in need.   The story of this 15 year journey is both heartwarming and inspiring.  Perhaps it will give you some ideas.  The book may be purchased in paperback for $13.95, in Kindle format for $2.99 or downloaded as a free pdf at the Shalom Path Press bookstore. 

Informatics: Empowering ePatients to Drive Health Care Reform  explains the phenomenon of the empowered e-patient and the empowered e-caregivers, provides examples, and suggests how we may best assist the people in our congregations as they explore the internet for information.  The equipped, enabled, empowered, and engaged patient (anyone with access to the internet) is becoming a peer, working together with us and other healthcare providers in identifying their healthcare needs and deciding how these needs might best be met.  The article, written by Ramona Nelson, PhD, BC-RN, ANEF, FAAN, was published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 21, No.3.


The Frailty Syndrome: Definition and Natural History  reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the epidemiology of frailty.  It explains the current understanding of the aging process and the severe impact of frailty on older adults, their caregivers, and on society as a whole.  The information will help you identify high-risk individuals, their vulnerabilities and propensity for adverse health outcomes.


Have questions? Contributions? Ideas for future Issues?

Please share them with Peggy Matteson, editor of our newsletter.