Who knew there was such a thing as a parish nurse? St Goran with St Michael Caerhays did and have put plans in motion to fund one. The video above gives a great insight to the work a parish nurse does and the impact they can have on their community.

What is a parish nurse?

The name evokes a ‘Call the Midwife’ image of a woman in an old-fashioned nurse’s uniform on a bicycle rushing to administer kind words and fresh dressings. The reality is a registered nurse, male or female, who will most certainly offer kind words but not fresh dressings – a cup of tea would be more in order. A parish nurse does not replace whatever can be offered through the health service, but adds to it.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). And that’s what parish nursing is about.

Recognising that healthcare is so much more than injections, drugs and going to the doctors, parish nursing tends to the whole person, offering reassurance and, most importantly, time. Time to chat through things and time to listen.

Parish nursing and the NHS

The NHS is wonderful, but it can also be bewildering, overwhelming and daunting to navigate, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable. A parish nurse is medically trained and fully up to speed with the nuances of the health care system, so they are equipped to offer tremendous reassurance about, perhaps, an upcoming appointment, some advice that might be hard to follow or if someone is a bit muddled or lacking in confidence after, for example, having a baby or coming home from hospital.

A parish nurse doesn’t arrive with an evangelical agenda, but they are a great example of God’s love in action. They are very happy to pray with and for people if asked, but are available to those of any denomination, faith or no faith.

St Goran and St Michael Caerhays and their aspiration to employ a parish nurse

Supported, trained and accredited by Parish Nurse Ministry UK, a parish nurse could be a volunteer or employee of the local church. At St Goran and St Michael Caerhays, the pastoral team have identified that there is a need in their parish and, together with the PCC, have made the commitment to raise sufficient funds to employ a parish nurse for two days, for a minimum of three years.

They have discussed their plans with the local health care teams who are fully supportive, recognising the value of parish nursing and the wide-ranging benefits he or she would bring to the community. A parish nurse is also a fantastic example of loving thy neighbour, fulfilling one of Jesus’ greatest commands. It’s not just about physical well-being, but a holistic, whole-person approach that supports mental, social and spiritual health. It offers a very natural way of integrating spiritual care with everyday life.

The first parish nurse in Cornwall

A parish nurse at Goran would be the first in Cornwall. There are about 100 throughout the UK and, with an estimated 60,000 Christian nurses, plenty of scope to increase that. It’s a wonderful idea and not hard to imagine how a parish nurse could enrich a community. Imagine how the landscape of care would look like if every church had one!

The team at Goran need to raise almost £50,000 and they’ve hit the ground running with an offer of £10,500 if they can raise the full amount. But they still have a mountain to climb, so any offers of help and support would be gratefully received.

If you feel the call to explore becoming a parish nurse, or would like to have one in your parish, a good place to start would be to contact Parish Nursing Ministries UK. They offer advice, support and training for nurses, churches and health care profesionals.