IFLC Health and Healthcare Committee Working to Expand Faith Community Nursing

altenburg_bruderkirche_diakonie-fenster_krankenpflegeThe IFLC Health and Healthcare Committee, first convened in July 2015, is working to serve as a bridge between the IFLC and the southeastern Michigan healthcare community. Its goal is to leverage partnership opportunities for improved cultural competency in healthcare and focused community health improvement. The committee includes membership representing all major health systems in metro Detroit as well as Authority Health and the Greater Detroit Area Health Council.

After two months of concerted, thoughtful consideration and best practice review, the committee elected to first apply their collective expertise and collaborative conviction to explore development of an interfaith framework for Faith Community Nursing that reaches beyond the Christian roots of this evidence-based, preventive approach to health and wellness.

Faith Community Nurses, originally known as Parish Nurses, are “Licensed, registered nurses who practice holistic health for self, individuals and the community using nursing knowledge combined with spiritual care. They function in paid and unpaid positions as members of the pastoral team in a variety of religious faiths, cultures, and countries. The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of the faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.”

The goal of the IFLC Health and Healthcare Committee’s project is to determine a strategy for developing a culturally competent, spiritually sensitive interfaith curricula series for faith community nursing, along with a component for congregational health ministers who are not registered nurses.

The plan is to first develop and pilot a Muslim Faith Community Nursing curriculum supplement, then investigate funding to expand to other faiths. To measure success, they will use the nationally renowned online metrics developed by Ameldia Brown at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. Nurses from other faiths are welcome to join the committee at any time.

Committee members include Dennis Archambault, Authority Health; Beverly Beltramo, D. Min., BCC, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland; Fr. Richard Bartoszek, Beaumont Health; Karen Gray Sheffield, St. John Providence; Katrina McCree, Detroit Medical Center; Lisa Mason, Greater Detroit Area Health Council; Raman Singh, president, IFLC; and Nancy Combs, of Henry Ford Health System, chair. Since focusing our efforts on the current project, a panel of respected experts in Faith Community Nursing have joined our group: Ameldia Brown, M. Div., BSN, R.N., and Janet McElrath, BSN, MA, both from Henry Ford Health System; and Deborah Dixon, RN, BSN, of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. We are also fortunate to welcome to our committee internationally noted transcultural nurse Najah Bazzy, RN, BSN, founder and CEO of Zaman International – Hope for Humanity, who has accepted our invitation to lead development and piloting of a Muslim version of the existing Faith Community Nursing curriculum.