“It was a calling for me from the Lord,” she said.
For 46 years, she has been in nursing and now leads a Faith Community Nursing ministry at Holy Trinity and Historic St. Patrick parishes in Bloomington. Faith Community Nursing is one of many initiatives within Faith Community Health under the leadership of Gregory Scott, RN Manager.
Redding, along with two other nurses, worked in collaboration with the pastor to begin health and wellness ministries at two parishes in 2014. With the other two nurses retiring, Redding now handles the faith community nursing responsibilities by herself and there is a need for nurse volunteers to step forward.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to work for Jesus and get paid with grace,” Redding said.
Since 2014 more than 550 nurses heard that calling and took on training from Carle Health to bring Faith Community Nursing to their congregations. Registered nurses must complete the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing coursework to receive continuing education hours as well as resources necessary to begin a health ministry in their congregations. Those who complete the coursework receive a custom pin during a dedication ceremony with family and friends. Nurses within the Carle Faith Community Nursing Network receive professional liability insurance for their health and wellness ministry.
Redding said the role is that of a case manager in the parishes who also makes home visits to ensure resources are in place for situations as diverse as the parishioners. When there were three of them volunteering, they divided the responsibilities with one doing education, one focused on AED and CPR and Donna’s role focusing on older adult care.
Faith Community Nursing gave her the opportunity to help parishioners use the online messaging system, assist a parishioner with learning disabilities cope with cancer, provide free blood pressure screenings, conduct educational seminars on topics such as end of life care or home and fire safety, offer grief counseling, make hospital visits, conduct CPR classes and respond to an emergency when a parishioner lost consciousness during Mass. Some relationships are brief and others last longer.
Carle Health has many nurses who also volunteer in their own faith communities as part of the Faith Community Nursing ministry, funded through Carle Health Center for Philanthropy. Faith Community Nursing provides Carle nurses with an opportunity to serve in a community volunteer role.
“Several nurses in the ministry are retired or have moved on to other roles and we would love to increase our numbers throughout the Carle Health service area as it continues to grow,” Danna Williamson, RN, with Faith Community Health said.
Any nurse interested in being part of Faith Community Nursing at Carle Health, may contact: FaithCommunityHealth@carle.org or call (217) 902-3160.
Faith Community nurses in the photo: Danna Williamson; Shelly Burke (Carle RN); Gregory Scott (Faith Community Health nursing manager); Karen Thomas; and Ronna Benoit, (Carle RN).