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Mercy Care offers training for volunteer parish nurses

A parish nurse visits a patient. (Provided photo — Mercy Care for the Adirondacks)

LAKE PLACID — If you’re a registered nurse and want to volunteer to help people on the side, a local charity organization is eager to train you and put you to work.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, a mission sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, will offer the Foundations Course for Faith Community Nursing on April 9, 16 and 30 (Fridays) from 1 to 5 p.m., and April 10, 17 and May 1 (Saturdays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendance at all six sessions is required.

The course is offered to registered nurses of all faiths, or other people interested in volunteer health ministry in a church or community. Mercy Care provides the training at no cost to participants, but pre-registration is required. The course is supported by a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, a charity fund founded by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York in 2018. The training will be held at St. Marguerite D’Youville Academy, 315 Gates St., Ogdensburg. The classroom is large enough to provide for social distancing. To register, contact Holly Huber at hhuber@adkmercy.org or 518-523-5583.

Faith Community nurses, aka parish nurses, provide health education, advocate for clients connecting them with resources in the community, listen and provide support in times of illness. Their focus is on the whole person with special emphasis on the spiritual. The parish nurse does not do hands-on nursing or duplicate what is available through the public health nurse, but does bring his or her nursing experience and faith to the service of others. Volunteer parish nurses can choose the number of hours they are able to give.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks has trained more than 50 parish nurses throughout the North Country.

The Rev. John Yonkovig, pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Lake Placid, said, “Our Parish Nurses have been invaluable during this time of COVID-19.”

The Rev. Bill Cooper, priest in charge of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Tupper Lake, said, “We are blessed to have a parish nurse assisting the members of our congregation.”

In addition to Mercy Care Mission Director Sr. Catherine Cummings, RSM, Ed.D., R.N.; guest faculty include Sister Bethany Fitzgerald, SSJ, faith formation educator, sister of St. Joseph of Watertown; Angela Sheehan, RN, MS, NPP, psychiatric nurse practitioner, private mental health practice, faith community nurse educator, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties; Kasey Stewart, Ph.D., coordinator, North Country Hub Enhanced-Multidisciplinary Team, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Ogdensburg; the Rev. Steven T. Rocker, pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Potsdam; and Jane Stratton, MS, RN-BC, director of professional practice and magnet program, Saratoga Hospital.

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