Dianne Jackson, RN, is the Parish Nurse at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Owen Sound.
Luba Rascheff (LR): So what drew you to parish nursing?
Dianne Jackson (DJ): I didn’t want to work full time. I always had faith and wanted to contribute. Felt there was always a plan. I’m a two-time cancer survivor. What else do I have to prove? Coming to Owen Sound was like coming back home. I came back to the Lutheran church. I arrived, was welcomed, and discovered the parish nurse wanted to retire…
LR That was a clue.
DJ Yes. Like listening to the Spirit inside you. You listen. You try to make it happen. ICHM is the foundation. You can’t build on what you want to be unless you know where you’re starting from.
LR I’m writing. [There’s a pause in the conversation as I furiously write down Dianne’s quickly spoken words.]
DJ I’m talking.
LR So the parish nurse retired…
DJ Yes. But she’s still here. I am supported. She makes a phone call if she feels the need to share something with me, but I’m walking in my own direction.
LR So you discovered ICHM through her.
LR You’ve always had faith…
DJ Going to church is not what being a member of the congregation is all about. I want to be involved.
LR What is your involvement like?
DJ I lead a couple of Bible Study classes; visit clients at home; and do BP [Blood Pressure] Clinics. It took a while for people to use me as a sounding board. There must be good communication between the pastor and myself. We are not in competition; we work together.
Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Owen Sound.
LR Some pastors feel threatened by parish nurses. Why?
DJ Some ministers think…I don’t know. For example, RNs feel threatened by RPNs. We’re all part of a team, though. I’m not better than someone else. We’re all there as part of a team, working.
LR Who are you working for?
DJ Each other. And to reach out into the community. We sponsored a refugee family. So what’s next?
LR Tell me about the family.
DJ They’re from Aleppo. They lived in Turkey for two years. The last child was born in Turkey.
LR How are they doing?
DJ They arrived last Wednesday night. It’s pretty crazy. They are getting to know Owen Sound. Went shopping for snow suits and snow boots. They are so precious. Yesterday, they got their health cards. Today, immunizations.
LR How do you communicate with them?
DJ Lots of hand gestures. They use a Google app that translates English to Arabic.
LR That’s amazing.
DJ Technology is great. They knew who Santa was at the mall.
LR Is visiting the family part of your parish nursing duties?
DJ I’m on various committees and I wasn’t wearing my parish nursing hat on that occasion.
LR What would you say to bring someone into parish nursing?
DJ Personal life experience. You can tap into it. Like how you were treated as a child. You never know how you can help someone just by being there. This month, two members had to have cancer-related surgeries. You don’t know when you’ll be an inspiration to others.
LR Do they know you’re a cancer survivor?
DJ Oh, yes. Another person, a member of the congregation, was a cancer survivor. While she was waiting for surgery, a retired nurse volunteer, congregation member and also a cancer survivor, happened to be working at that time. She helped her through it.
DJ Yes, amazing.
LR Do you believe in coincidences?
DJ I don’t believe in coincidences. Things happen because we are placed in certain positions. You’ve got to listen for the Spirit to talk to you.
LR Thank you.
Luba Rascheff, ICHM Staff, interviewed Dianne Jackson, RN, Parish Nurse over Skype on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016.