For Parish Nurses

Parish Nurse Research Update

Dear Parish Nurses - 2020 is a year none of us will every forget.  While we can list numerous negative events, there are some positive ones - Zoom is now recognized as a way of connecting with others and you can sign up for a free account! A year ago, how many of us would have know about Zoom or even be proficient on it? We have now identified ways to worship via YouTube and direct on-line, attend meetings from the comfort of our homes, talked with friends many miles from us, developed programs in our congregations to connect members, enlisted more members to the prayer teams, and . . . you name some for yourself and while you are at it, ask yourselves - would this have happened anyway?   Here are a few studies that will help in your ministry.

  1. Dubex, S., el al. (2020). Psychosocial impact of COVID-19. Diabetes Metab Syndr, 14(5), 779-788.  Pandemics cause psychosocial impacts on everyone including depression, loneliness, anxiety, PTSD, panic, hording but others have also been identified: economic burden, financial loss, hysteria, quarantine, varying health information messags on social platforms, to name a few.  The research authors investigated published articles using key words to look at this issue.  The results indicated that, in addition to the above mentioned, there were also outburts of racism, stigmatization, and xenophobia against particuar communities.  Key groups were identified as "at risk" were frontline healthecare professionals, elderly and children. They concluded psychosocial crisis prevention and intervention models must be developed by governmental and healthcare agencies and stakeholders.  A table was included that listed psychosocial issues and interventions for the various strata of our population.  

Parish Nurses:  Due to publishing restrictions, the table can not be included but here are some specific issues and interventions that may impact members of your congregation (please note that this is not the entire table, just a few particular to our ministry):

  • Those exposed/quarantined - loneliness, anxiety, panic, depression: communication channels between person/family; daily connecting with another member; needed services such as meal, grocery shopping; computer assistance to view on-line worship services.
  • Healthcare providers - guilt, burnout, fear of worthlessness, work-pressure: Prayer circles for them and let them know; support for their families during their work time; letter campaign of thank-you notes.
  • Children - boredom, anxiety, irritability, development issues: Parental assistance; educate proper hygiene practices and sleep practices; connecting through on-line platforms (i.e. Sunday school via zoom); information appropriate to age group about the pandemic; encouraging daily exercise.
  • Elderly - irritaility, anger, fear, difficulty accessing medical care/drugs: Connecting with another church member via phone or computer platforms; help from church members in providing grocery and drug assistance/delivery; letter campaign from Sunday school children; computer assistance to help them connect with family, friends, and church activities.
  • Marginalized community - depression, stress, financial insecurity, discrimination:  Conduct a food drive for food centers that assist this group; eduate about social distancing and hygiene; have a coat drive to collect un-used/out grown coats and cold weather items for homeless shelters.

2. Patrician, P.A. Peterson, C., McGuinness, T. M. (2020).  Suicide among RNs:  An analysis of 2015 data from the National Death Reporting System. AJN, 120(10), 23-28.  This study investigated the suicide death rate of nurses comparing it to the death rate among adults between the ages of 16 to 64 years of age.  Little research has isolated, specifically, nurses from data on suicides of healthcare professionals.  The researches used data from the 2015 CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System to investigate this issue.  Suicide rates were calculated by dividing the number of RN suicide deaths by the working population of RNs, than multiplying that result by 100,000.  Findings:  The overall estimated suicide rate was 13 per 100,000 RNs; female nurses rate was 11.4/100,000 and male rate was 29.3/100,000. (Compared to the national suicide rate for civilians between 16 and 64 yoa: female rate of 8.2/100,000 and male rate of 26.1/100,000.)  "The study's findings speak directly to the importance of addressing suicide risk among nursing professionals. (p.28).

Parish nurses: you are probabling wondering why I included research with data 5 years old, but considering the current pandemic, I wanted  you to have foundational information about suicide rates before the current pandemic to compare any increase that has occurred as a result of COVID-19. Healthcare professionals are greatly impacted by a variety of issues realted to delivering the best healthcare possible.   If  you currently have healthcare professionals in your congregation, reach out to them - include them on the prayer list - check to see if they need child support- ask members if they are willing to run errands for them -start a grief support group for them -  the list could go on but I think you have the idea.

3.  Amour, M., el al. (2019). Exercise for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 9:CO004142.   Dysmenorrhea is a condition we all have probably experienced at one time or another.  These authors investigated whether exercise is a better treatment that other possible interventions.  The data was collected using a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials with a total 754 women between tha ages of 15 and 49 years of age.  " Nine of the 10 studies compared exercise with no treatment, and one compared exercise with NSAIDs" (p.21).  The authors concluded that exercise (there was a variety of different exercises from low intensity to high intensity) had an likely significant effect on reducing pain intensity compared with no treatment; there were uncertain effects when exercise was compared with NSAIDs.  The authors suggested additional research by conducted on this topic to include: "type of exercise intensity affect on quality of life, affect on time taken from work or school, and exercise versus oran contraceptive outcomes" (p.21).  <This information was taken from the COCHRAN CORNER, written by Elizabeth Scruth, AJN, 120(8), 21.>

Parish nurses - I realize that you  may not be thinking about education programs for this year, but know that the pandemic will come to an end and this information would be helpful for girls just beginning this journey into adulthood as well as other women incompacited with mensural discomfort.  Do  you have a packet developed to give to girls on the cuspid of puberty and their mothers? Might be something to consider if your congregation has lots of children.  Plus, this is another reason for women to develop a long term exercise program. 

While I realize that you don't have time to read numerous research studies or don't have access to research, I hope these articles provide you some helpful ideas for your ministry.  I'm stepping down from authoring this section to retire from some of my responsibilities and I am very happy to tell you that Jean Bokinskie will be leading this discussion in the future.  Thank you Jean for taking this over.

Andrea West, FCN

January 30, 2021