ICHM Continuing Education

A core value of InterChurch Health Ministries (ICHM) Canada is a commitment to ongoing educational opportunities for church health committees, interested congregational members and parish nurses. Each year there is a schedule of educational opportunities offered in person, online and through teleconferencing.

The one constant is the Parish Nursing Education program held at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. The program is currently being re-designed as a one-week program/retreat. It is known as The Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Education Program. ICHM Canada is in partnership with the Church Health Centre in Memphis, TN. This allows us to utilize their education program, a highly researched program written by a committee of highly qualified clinicians and clergy, which is updated every five years.

 Date  Location / Modality  Topic  Speaker
*Note: Our 2017 program is being re-designed as a one-week program/retreat with new dates to be announced.* Emmanuel College, University of Toronto Parish Nursing Education Program See curriculum for list of instructors.
September 24, 2016
from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.*EVENT CANCELED*
Continuing Education Day | Peoples Church, 374 Sheppard Ave East, North York, ON M2N 3B6 ‘INTO THE LIGHT: Walking with Nurses Toward Better Mental Health Outcomes.’ Click here for more.  


May 14, 2016, from 12 noon – 3:00 p.m. Education Day | Peoples Church, 374 Sheppard Ave East, North York, ON M2N 3B6 Thanh Campbell, “Orphan 32,” part of the last flight out of Saigon in 1975, will speak about his amazing life and journey to Canada. | For details and to register, click here. Thanh Campbell
April 28, 2016 Interactive Webinar | Online | All you need is a computer and a telephone The Church as a Place of Health & Healing | for details and to register click here. Led by Rev Henry Fischer.

Practicum and Mentor Relationship

Classroom theoretical content is followed by a six-month practical experience within the congregational setting for each parish nurse taking the program. During this practicum, each student has access to an experienced parish nurse who acts as their mentor. This support is key to the student having a meaningful, positive experience as expressed by former parish nursing students themselves. This relationships is effective in collaborative problem solving and the day-to-day ‘how to build a trust relationship with members of the nurse’s congregation.’

The mentor and mentee meet as often as necessary. Frequently, these partnerships continue after the student completes her parish nursing program.

Professional Practice Group

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario recognizes parish nursing as a specialty form of nursing. Thus, Parish nurses and student nurses in the education program attend geographically-based Parish Nurse Professional Practice Group (PNPPG) monthly meetings. These groups provide ongoing professional support, are an avenue for resource sharing, problem solving, offer spiritual support and are an integral component of each nurse’s parish nursing practice.

Skype Meetings

Parish nurses who are geographically dispersed attend a monthly meeting via Skype meeting technology.

Program Delivery Models

The configuration of program delivery varies with our affiliates across the country. Some programs deliver three modules per weekend (i.e., Friday evening and all day Saturday). This is the format in Saskatchewan.

In Ontario, the program is delivered at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, over four Saturdays in October-November each year. The general format remains the same at each site with a practicum, a mentor-mentee relationship, followed by a service of recognition and blessing at the completion of the program.

Learning through the Use of Technology

In an effort to render the education program more accessible to students living at a distance from the Toronto program, the Ontario program has been offered for the last two years via computer technology. Thus far, two thirds of the modules are now available by video-conferencing techniques. Students distant from Toronto have access to simultaneous transmission of the classroom teaching and discussions.

The documentation module is offered online making it convenient for students to take it at a suitable time.

Phase One

Following Phase One, the nurse participates in a six-month practicum experience of at least four hours per week. The first initiative is usually to work with the church’s health committee to begin establishing the ministry. It is very helpful if clergy and health committee members have attended some of the classes. After this first phase, the tasks are clear and the work of analyzing the needs of the congregation and creating a profile for the ministry can begin. This is when the parish nurse candidate benefits from advice from her mentor on how she approached the beginning of her work with her Health Committee.

Phase Two, Phase Three

In the second phase, the parish nurse candidate works effectively with her: mentor, clergy and health committee members. She continues to seek support and guidance from her mentor and specific professional practice group members. ICHM staff is also available for support and problem solving to individual students. Staff connections can be made through ICHM across professional practice groups for idea sharing, support and for specific, possibly unique, situations that a parish nurse may encounter.

The clergy, health committee and congregation have access to the resources and consultative support of ICHM staff throughout the education program and beyond.