A Faith Community Nurse explains Mary’s story

‘Mary’ was 60 years old and living with multiple health issues the most troubling to her was her chronic abdominal pain and her utter lack of energy. Mary had a long-term issue with alcohol misuse. Her doctor told her she must “stop drinking’ but gave her no suggestions on how that could be done. No paid health professional had even bothered to ask her about when and why she had started drinking. Her GP had suggested she make contact with a local church ‘because they might be able to help’.

The FCN journeyed with her to help her understand and manage her abdominal health issues and her mental health struggles. She linked Mary into her church’s craft group and arranged transport for her to the group.  The FCN empowered Mary to disconnect from a live-in partner with whom she shared a house, who was also misusing alcohol. Leaving this relationship was challenging for Mary but as her support network of friends within the church community grew Mary felt accepted and her connections deepened and she made natural friendships that were not related to alcohol use. Mary began to feel stronger and her outlook on life became more positive. Mary wanted to re-establish contact with her two adult sons. This was achieved through setting careful goals with the FCN who helped her think through the possible consequences of her choices so she made considered steps toward reconciliation. Her eldest son began to help Mary with her garden and some minor home maintenance.

Over the next three years later, Mary got her Driver’s licence. That enabled her to move around more easily. She moved out of her shared home into a smaller private rental from another person in the church who believed Mary was ready to take on this responsibility. Mary volunteered in the church café where she learnt barista skills and after several years was given casual paid work in a local café. That was Mary’s first paid employment in fourty years!

Mary was recently baptised and in the church and in her testimony Mary remarked how the loving care of her community had been instrumental in her recovery journey. She added that the FCN had played a pivotal role in her transforming life saying “She believed in me, she loved me, she cared for me and helped me to find the right help. She patiently coached me when I was learning to live a new life. She listened to me when I thought it was all too hard and I would never be able to sustain sobriety. She helped me with my health issues and I am learning to manage them myself. She helped me find a family in this church and reunite with my son.”  Mary ended her testimony saying “I’ve moved from the pit to the palace, because I know I’m a daughter of the KING [God] and a sister of His son [JESUS]. I’m part of the kingdom of God!” 

If you are a nurse who wants to provide care for the whole person – body, mind, spirit and relationships, and you are interested in knowing more about the Faith Community Nurse role then speak to us afcna@outlook.com

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/elderly-woman-laughing-13871054/