Leaders of the Piedmont Park Church recently dedicated Tammy Adams as their faith community nurse. This is the first ministry of its kind at Piedmont and possibly within the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.
The North American Division Health Ministries Department describes faith community nurses as trained nurses who serve a church or congregation to improve the health of its members. Faith community nursing, previously called parish nursing, is a growing specialty recognized by the American Nurses Association. The NAD officially trained Tammy in April 2023, but Tammy feels she has been in training for this position for her entire professional life. “I have experienced God preparing me for each step of my journey and know He will provide abundantly,” Tammy shares. Before this position, Tammy was the Union College campus nurse, retiring in 2021. Tammy graduated from Union College with her BSN in May 1989, and passed her RN licensure in June one month later.
As Piedmont’s FCN, her role will consist of being a health advocate, educator, counselor, referral agent, volunteer facilitator and coordinator. Tammy wants to help members focus on their health from a faith-based perspective and will work collaboratively with the Piedmont pastoral team.
Tammy said that the FCN idea was brought to her attention in January 2019 at an NAD Health Summit. “The idea had seemed interesting. I recall briefly conversing with Dr. Eric Johnson, an elder at Piedmont Park, and Pastor Michael [Halfhill] very briefly upon my return from the Health Summit. Then in September of 2022, our congregation lost a single, middle-aged man who lived alone after undergoing a surgery that the health community would usually classify as “routine.” My heart was stirred even more to actively consider what our church could do to support members of our congregations in times of health concern: post-surgery, post-hospitalization.”
Tammy believes that a faith community nurse should be a familiar person that a church member could turn to for support and explore with individuals their next steps, whether mental, physical, or spiritual.
Tammy submitted an initial proposal to the church board in February 2023. The board asked questions and provided suggestions for Tammy to consider. Overall, the church supported the idea and voted to turn it into reality with dedicated funds. The next step was for Tammy to attend the NAD Health Summit for training and lay the foundation for operating the program at Piedmont.
However, Tammy won’t do this alone; she will partner with other health professionals in the faith community, the pastoral team, and a health and wellness committee team. The NAD Health Ministries team will provide mentoring and continuing medical education credit opportunities.
Tammy plans on seeking church input on health topics and their perceived needs via a survey. She would like to implement a “nurse in the lobby” program in which a nurse would be available during a specific time each Sabbath to discuss health concerns or have prayer together. Tammy is already scheduling member visits and making plans to support the pastoral team in specific ways.
During the dedication, Tammy stated, “As a nurse, I will consecrate myself to the gospel ministry as a conduit of love being the feet, hands, heart, voice, eyes, ears, mind and face of Jesus. He is calling me to serve others with purpose and intention. To offer a trusting space to connect and encourage someone in their next steps toward wholeness of mind, body and spirit for the glory of God.”
Tammy has a servant’s heart, demonstrated when she and her family cared for Virginia Myers, a senior member of the Piedmont congregation, for some years. The love and support Virginia received from the church and Tammy led her to donate funds to the church after her passing. The board thought it was fitting to use those funds to support this ministry, allowing other individuals to receive the care and attention she received from. Tammy. Tammy shared part of a poem that Virginia shared with her.
So I say let me walk with those on the road. Let me seek out the burdens that crush. Let me speak a kind word of good cheer to the weak who are falling behind in the rush. There are wounds to be healed. There are breaks we must mend. There’s a cup of cold water to give. And the one on the road by the side of their friend is the one who has learned to live.”
At the dedication, pastor Michael said, “It is exciting to see new ministries begin. We are grateful that Tammy humbly and confidently answered the call that God has placed on her life. She has been trained and learned how to conduct this ministry. Now we pray that the Lord guide her, give her ideas that are needed to help it flourish, and be a blessing to the members here and maybe even other churches and congregations.”