What’s a Parish Nurse?3 min read

Who am I? I am a daughter of Christ. I am a servant. I am a sinner. I am loved. I am forgiven. I am saved. I am a parish nurse.

How did I get to be a parish nurse? After a long journey through school and working my way up through the ranks, I accrued 20 years of hospital experience. Then, in 2006, a sweet woman in my church asked if I would be our Parish Nurse. I said, “Sure.” I was honored and blessed to be asked to serve my congregation, which I did for 8 years.

One day, I accidently called the District office, thinking I was calling our church’s insurance company. (I just love how God can get you to where you belong before you realize it!) After a few conversations, I found out that our Synod has lots of people just like me, “Parish Nurses.” We all may look different—different ages, different backgrounds, different educational levels, and different fields of nursing experience—but we all have a heart for service. I have met so many in the last two years that I sort of feel like I’m part of a really good, secret group in the church.

So what does a parish nurse do? We serve wherever, whenever, and whoever needs us in our day-to-day walk with Christ. We mostly do these things privately and quietly.

It seems that quite a lot of people think a “parish nurse” is some kind of second choice, but it’s not. It’s a calling. I can’t think of a better way to show Christ’s grace, mercy, and kindness than to help others. So that’s what I tell people when they ask, “Why did you want to do that kind of nursing?” I answer with, “I just want to help.” Helping can look so different from day to day. One minute it might be fielding a medication call, another day it might be someone showing up at my house asking me to look at a finger or a toe. It can be driving someone to the ER or visiting someone in the ER or hospital. It can involve educating, delegating, and organizing. It can be making, sharing, or taking a meal to someone. It’s listening and hoping you can be that vessel that God can use at that moment.

Let me jump back to when I accidentally connected with the District office. I met with Rev. Dr. Robert E. Kasper and with the kind lady who so many years earlier had asked me to be our Parish Nurse. It was a very informative meeting. I was introduced to a new world of education and opportunity. Then I was asked if I would consider being the Michigan District Parish Nurse Representative. I am amazed. I can see the hand of God in all of it—the highs and the lows—and I love sharing stories about this journey.

My goal for parish nursing in the Michigan District is to let others who have the same desire know that they are not alone. Let’s meet and see what we can do and how we can serve God together. My door is always open and I look forward to hearing from anyone who wants more information about parish nursing.

To learn more about Parish Nursing and contact Christie Hansard, click here.

Photo (c) sturti/iStock

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About the Author

Christie Hansard, RN, BSN, is the Mental Health Case Manager and the Parish Nurse Ministries representative for the Michigan District, LCMS. She is a member of Faith, Grand Blanc.

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