These nurses spent decades in hospitals. Now they give health-spiritual care to aging parish congregants – CBC

There are approximately 60 certified parish nurses in Canada

Apr 10, 2023

Jan Linner has been a nurse for close to five decades, starting in 1973 and working in intensive care and critical care units at Victoria and St. Joseph’s hospitals in London, Ont.

When she retired from hospital nursing 10 years ago, she didn’t slow down. Instead, she began working as the parish nurse at Lambeth United Church, a role that links her experience in health care with tending to the spiritual needs of congregants.

There are about 60 certified parish nurses in Canada. Registered nurses can take on the role by completing special courses offered through some universities and seminary programs.

“We focus on holistic health, and we help people with preventing disease and helping tolerate their diseases,” Linner said. “We take what the doctor tells the patient and what the minister tells the patient, and we combine all of that together for our clients and bring in the spiritual care as well.”

Linner retired as the parish nurse at the end of 2022 and Lambeth United hired a second congregant to take over  — retired nurse Barb Sutherland, who worked for St. Joseph’s Hospital for close to 40 years, in neurology, family medicine and palliative care.

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