Parish Nurse

Mission Statement for the Parish Nursing Ministry of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church:

The Presbyterian Church (USA) believes that Parish Nursing is a faithful response to Christ’s call to the ministry of health, healing and wholeness, therefore, as St. Andrew Presbyterian Church continues to grow Parish Nursing can play an important role in the physical, emotional, and spiritual growth of its members.

Jesus Christ provided a model for care by his concern for the physical, emotional, and spiritual healing of people. Parish Health Ministries can help us to care for one another and meet our needs by:

  • Focusing on wellness and disease prevention through education.
  • Moving from dependent to involved care of our health.
  • Creating a whole-person approach to health involving body, mind, and spirit.

Who Is the Parish Nurse?

Elyse Detwiler, RN, MS, A-CCC

Elyse has been attending St. Andrew since 1965 and has been a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church since 1966. She graduated with an RN degree from Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA., has a BS in Sociology and Applied Social Relations from ECSU and an MS in Health Care Management from Rensselaer at Hartford. She also has Advanced Certification in Continuity of Care and a Certificate in Parish Nursing from the International Parish Nurse Resource Center.  Elyse has worked in long-term care, acute-care, critical-care nursing and in case management.

Elyse recognizes the valuable contribution churches can make toward health promotion in our community and the unique opportunity to combine healthcare and spiritual ministry to enhance the well being of our parishioners.

Please feel free to contact the parish nurse at home (phone number located in the church directory) or see her at church anytime you have a health-related question or need information about medical resources in our area.

What Is Parish Nursing?

Parish Nursing is the promotion of health within the context of the values, beliefs, and practices of a faith community. The fundamental difference between parish nursing and other types of nursing is the belief in the relationship between spirituality and health. Caring for the body and the soul promotes wellness of the whole person.

In 1984, the Reverend Granger Westberg introduced the concept of parish nursing at the Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL. The experiment of six nurses providing non-invasive nursing services to church congregations proved to be very effective toward health promotion and disease prevention. This ecumenical ministry has spread quickly throughout the USA and Canada.

The primary interest in this ministry is to help people assume responsibility for their own health and develop insight into the many causes of illness. Providing information and making people aware of health risks is a key function of a parish nurse. In other words, to understand that health care is part of the stewardship of one’s life.

The parish nurse (PN) does not provide health care, but enhances the systems already in place. There are no duplication or replacement efforts of church services or medical services. Parish Nursing is designed to build on and strengthen capacities of individuals, families, and congregations to understand and care for one another in light of their relationship to God.
Parish Nurses are registered nurses committed to helping parishioners meet their whole health needs of body, mind, and spirit by being a:

  • Health Educator – provides wellness information, acts as resource person, and teaches volunteers.
  • Health Advocate – communicates for an individual as needed, works closely with the pastor, and assists congregation members in finding their way through healthcare systems.
  • Health Counselor – listens to concerns, discusses health issues.
  • Health Support Facilitator – acts as a referral source, has knowledge of community resources and faith community resources, promotes new or existing resources.

Any member or regular attendee of the congregation may contact the Parish Nurse for health information or health counseling.