Wesley Nurses Present at Church Health Center’s Westberg Symposium

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. recently supported the Church Health Center's 30th annual Westberg Symposium, which exhibited two poster presentations by Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurses. Faith-based community nurses from all over the country convened in Chicago April 7-10 to cover areas such as theology, clinical pastoral education and whole person health care.

"We're proud to have taken part in the Westberg Symposium," said Jennifer Knoulton, director of nursing at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. "At Methodist Healthcare Ministries, we have adopted a faith-based community nursing approach to health ministry, carried out through our Wesley Nurse Program, which now spans 80 sites throughout South Texas."

Knoulton co-presented at the pre-conference session with a colleague from the Church Health Center. She spoke on the importance of helping faith community nurses incorporate asset-based community development (ABCD) into their practice, a strategy for sustainable community-driven development concerned with how to link micro-assets to the macro-environment. The premise of ABCD is that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying existing, but often unrecognized assets, and thereby responding to and creating local economic opportunity. ABCD builds on the assets that are already found in the community and mobilizes individuals, associations, and institutions to come together to build on their assets, not concentrate on their needs, to begin to use what is already in the community. View presentation.

Wesley Nurses Cynthia Bishop, RN, BSN, MACM, and Angela Gonzalez, RN presented on preceptor-guided preparation for Wesley Nurse faith community nurses. They discussed that the Wesley Nurse program began using the faith community nurse model almost 20 years ago and that Wesley Nurses have shown great fortitude as they have adapted to ongoing changes in this specialized profession. Their poster presentation reflected the development of a preceptor-guided orientation tool that incorporates the competencies outlined in the American Nurses Association's Scope and Standards of Practice. View presentation.

Wesley Nurse Patricia Cisneros, RN, BSN demonstrated how the faith community nurse can advocate, facilitate, and coordinate resources for the least-served and bring awareness to rally the support of other nonprofits to assist in humanitarian relief. Her presentation, Finding A Way: Laredo Humanitarian Relief Team, discussed how the efforts of asset-based community development (ABCD) helped an ecumenical set of community partners show persistence despite not getting help from local officials to collaborate to provide humanitarian relief for travelers in a mass migration of women and children fleeing violence in their country. View presentation.

The Westberg Symposium focused on the ways faith-based community nurses make their mission more resilient through continuing to explore relationships between faith and health in their lives and ministries.

"From a primary care perspective, faith-based nurses like our Wesley Nurses, are instrumental in connecting people, congregations and community members to health and wellness," said Knoulton.

According to the Church Health Center – a faith-based nonprofit that provides affordable health care to working uninsured people – resilience in faith community nursing sustains belief in a better way of caring for people. Whether the need is for basic health education for a new diagnosis, or advocacy and support during a major life transition, faith community nurses foster strength in members of the faith community or the wider community.

To learn more about the Westberg Symposium, visit http://www.churchhealthcenter.org/westberg2016. To learn more about the Wesley Nurse program, visit http://www.mhm.org/programs/health-ministries