(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is InterChurch Health Ministries Canada?
InterChurch Health Ministries Canada (ICHM Canada) is a non-profit organization established in 1994 on an inter-church basis to foster the development of Parish Nursing Ministry – a health and healing ministry that is theologically based, mission and ministry focused and congregationally driven.
Beginning in 1995 with a pilot project in five central Ontario congregations, ICHM Canada now works in partnership with 15 denominations in over 60 congregations across Ontario as well as ICHM Canada affiliate organizations in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
Today, ICHM Canada’s innovative congregational development model through partnership makes it a leader in the promotion of health and healing through parish nursing ministries in Canada and around the world.
2. Why must a Parish Nurse be a Registered Nurse?
A parish nurse is a Registered Nurse with current registration in the province in which the nurse practices. Nursing is a regulated profession, and current registration ensures that the public is receiving safe and competent care. The registered nurse, who carries out the initial contact with the parishioner, is educated to comprehensively assess and define holistic health needs, teach, support and direct parishioners to the most appropriate care providers. While assisting the parishioner to achieve an optimum level of functioning, the Parish Nurse, with her mature faith, is in the unique position to promote the understanding of the connection between health and faith. By incorporating professional nursing skills the parish nurse, as a member of the ministerial team, is able to provide new opportunities for the parishioner to strive towards wholeness of mind, body and spirit which is grounded in both the spirituality of healing and the science of medicine.
3. What special education must a Parish Nurse have?
A parish nurse is more than a registered nurse hired by a congregation. The parish nurse must have specialized knowledge that meets the criteria of the core learning competencies developed by the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry (www.capnm.ca). The Parish Nursing Core Competencies for Basic Parish Nurse Education Programs are met by the curriculum used by ICHM Canada, including the practicum requirement.
4. Why Partnership with ICHM Canada?
The ICHM Canada model is built upon the concept of mutual ministry through partnership.
At ICHM Canada, we believe that together we are stronger than we are individually and that we mutually benefit from each other’s strengths.
- Partnership with ICHM Canada ensures that your parish nurse, health committee and clergy do not work in isolation as they develop the ministry of health and healing in the church.
- ICHM Canada’s inter-church partnership structure, including many diverse Christian denominations, encourages ecumenical relationships whose common vision is the church as a healing place.
Through partnership fees, congregations and agencies participate and share in the innovative ministry of ICHM Canada as it delivers its Parish Nursing Ministry Education Program, provides support services and continues its developmental work.
Partnership with ICHM Canada makes the following resources available:
- a respected and approved Parish Nursing Ministry Education Program for parish nurses, clergy, members of health committees and other interested parishioners/agency personnel on an ongoing basis. As new members come to the health committee, they are encouraged to attend all of the classes. They return to the congregation/agency with renewed energy and vision for the ministry;
- on-site visits, consultation, support and presentations upon request for parish nurses, clergy, health committees and parishioners;
- regional parish nurse support group meetings, annual parish nurse retreats and Education Days, joint health committee workshops and seminars, website resources, library and video resources & newsletters.
5. Why continue in partnership?
The ICHM Canada model, based on the strength of mutual ministry, means that congregations and agencies benefit from the pioneering work done in partnership with ICHM Canada and have an opportunity to share what has been received with others. They are partners in a ministry that continues to expand in its support for the health and healing ministries of additional congregations and agencies across Canada. At the same time, the benefits for partners continue as new people in congregations and agencies are continuously exposed to the education and support resources provided by ICHM Canada.
Together, we can continue to “foster healthy communities through Christ’s healing ministry.”
6. Why continue in partnership after your parish nurse graduates from the education program?
- To prevent burn-out of volunteer resources, congregations encourage health committee members to serve a specific number of years and then to take a break. Continually sending new health committee members and others from the congregation to the annual parish nurse education program is a way to sustain the health and healing ministry by providing for constant renewal of the health committee’s membership.
- Congregations will receive the benefit of continued access to parish nurse supports. Parish nurses in non-partnership congregations do not have access to ICHM Canada parish nurse support groups, parish nurse retreats and continuing education opportunities offered at the annual education day and at the annual parish nursing education program.
- Through the partnership fee, congregations can also continue to support the growth of parish nursing ministry and Christ’s healing ministry in other congregations.