Pittsburgh Mercy Health System

Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program

Education & Resources

23rd Annual Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Symposium to Focus on Wholistic Health and Spiritual Care:
“A Spiritual Journey: Opening Mind and Heart”

Presented by the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and Trinity Health, serving tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015
8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sister M. Ferdinand Clark Auditorium
UPMC Mercy
1400 Locust Street, Level 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Uptown)

Symposium Overview

“There are not wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” – Mark Nepo

Health care in the United States continues to be evolving in ways that are very unplanned and complex. The shortage of professional nurses and nursing faculty only complicates the health care delivery system. More than ever before, health care professionals are asked to do more with fewer resources as the acute and chronically ill have more needs with limited social support. Due to these challenges, registered nurses are turning to the specialty of faith community nursing in order to learn more about spiritual health and whole person care.

The faith community nurse intentionally cares for the spirit of the one he/she is called to serve. The heart of ministry is based on the faith community nurse “walking the walk” and “talking the talk” as one journeys closer to building a trusting, binding relationship with God.

Those who participate in faith community ministry know how taxing it is in time and energy as they assist in meeting the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of others. So in order to grow in our relationship with God, we must begin taking care of our own needs and then progress into sharing with others along our path.

At this symposium, we will creatively look at what spirituality means to us along with some practical tools we can explore on our journey. The practical tools vary greatly in how transparent we are willing to be in such areas of prayer, meditation, gratitude, etc. The speaker and participants will be sharing parts of their story as examples of what being on the path looks like. The goal as we mature is to intentionally seek the path of spiritual growth as we seek closeness with God.

Who Should Attend

Parish and faith community nurses; clergy; health, pastoral, and social ministers; health and social service professionals; nursing students; family caregivers; and laypersons who are interested in promoting whole-person health are encouraged to attend. This interactive symposium lets participants take part in fellowship, storytelling, prayer, meditation, music, and more.

About Our Keynote Speaker

JoVeta Wescott, RN, MSHA, PCSG, began her nursing career after graduating from St. Francis School of Nursing, Wichita, Kan. She furthered her education by graduating from St. Joseph College, North Windham, Maine, and by earning a master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Her call to faith community nursing began in 1997. She has served in such roles as parish nurse in a congregation, coordinator, consultant, educator, faculty for preparing educators, and grant writer. She is an author of articles and book chapters of interest to faith community nurse peers. She has published on topics of spirituality, grant writing, parish nursing, chronic illness, older adults, advance directives, and research. Her book, titled “Because I Care … I Am a Parish Nurse … Becoming An Agent of Hope and Healing,” embraces her love story of parish nursing and how it continues to make a difference in our world.

Currently, she serves as executive director of Kansas Parish Nurse Ministry, Inc., which she founded in 2005. She has conducted local, state, national, and international presentations on parish nursing, end-of-life issues, grief support, self-care, diversity, cultural awareness and sensitivity, aging, chronic illness, funding, servant leadership and more. In addition, JoVeta received her professional certificate as a spiritual strengths healing coach in 2012. She most recently received her professional certificate in spiritual gerontology.

JoVeta has held and presently holds board membership in a variety of organizations, such as Health Ministries Association, Kansas Ecumenical Ministries, Agape Care Cradle, New Orleans Community Advisory Board, Senior Companion Program, Australian Parish Nurse Resource Center, to name only a few.

For more information about JoVeta Wescott, visit www.kansasparishnurseministry.com.

Symposium Objectives

Through hearing personal stories, research, and other information, participants will be able to:

  • Define spirituality.
  • Describe a personal plan for one’s own spiritual journey incorporating two to three practical tools of interest.
  • Explain why silence and solitude are important parts of one’s spiritual journey.
  • Describe to others one’s spiritual journey and the experience of God speaking to one’s heart and mind.

Continuing Education Credits

Three continuing education (CE) credits will be provided to registered nurses who attend.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Participants who attend the entire session and complete an evaluation form will be awarded a certificate and three (3) contact hours for the symposium attended. UPMC and ANCC do not endorse any commercial products as a result of the CE activity.


  • Financial: JoVeta Wescott receives a speaking honorarium from the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program.
  • Nonfinancial: JoVeta Westcott has no relevant nonfinancial relationships to disclose.


  • $40 for registered nurses who wish to receive continuing education credits
  • $30 for those who do not wish to receive continuing education credits
  • $20 for individuals who have never attended the annual Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program symposium, ordained pastors/clergy, and undergraduate nursing students.
  • Brunch and free parking in the Locust Street Parking Garage, located at Locust and Stevenson streets, will be provided to all participants.

Registration & Payment

Registration is accepted by U.S. mail only. Seating capacity is limited. Early registration is encouraged. The deadline to register is Saturday, October 17, 2015.

Mail completed registration form and a check made payable to the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program by Saturday, October 17, 2015.

For more information, contact the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program at 412.232.5815 or email ParishNurse@pmhs.org.


“God does speak—sometimes one way and sometimes another—even though people may not understand it.” – Job 33:14 NCV

"Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Curriculum"
Faith Community Nurse and Health Minister Preparation Course

The Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, is an approved provider of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center’s “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing" curriculum, a preparation course for faith community nurses and health ministers. This 38-hour, five-day course is designed for registered nurses, other health care professionals, and laypersons who are interested in promoting health, wellness, and spirituality; coordinating volunteers; or starting a visitation ministry in their faith communities.

The Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program will offer the course on the following dates:

  • Fall Session: September 11, 12 and 26, 2015; October 2-3, 2015 (times vary)

UPMC Mercy
Sister M. Ferdinand Clark Auditorium, Level 2
1400 Locust Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5154 (Uptown Pittsburgh)

Designed for individuals who are interested in faith community nursing and health ministry, the course covers the seven main roles of the faith community nurse (FCN):

  • Health educator
  • Health counselor
  • Health advocate
  • Developer of support groups
  • Integrator of faith and health
  • Coordinator of volunteers
  • Resource and referral agent

Additional course modules include prayer; self care; healing and wholeness; ethics; documenting practices; legal aspects; communication and collaboration; family violence; suffering, grief, and loss; advocacy; care coordination; and more. Course modules are taught by qualified faith community nurse educators and subject matter experts in the respective fields of practice.

Upon successful completion of the five-day course, nurses are commissioned as faith community nurses and receive a pin and 38 hours of continuing education credits. Note: In order to receive continuing education credits, participants must attend all five dates during the session for which they register. Laypersons receive a pin and are commissioned as health ministers.

The course is limited to the first 20 participants who register.

The cost is $395 per person and includes course materials, 38 continuing education credits for nurses, and free parking in the hospital parking garage. Limited scholarship funds are available. Registration and payment are due two weeks prior to the start of each session. Apply early. Postmark by August 14, 2015 for a $50 discount.

Mail the completed course application and a check made payable to the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program to:

Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program
Mercy Health Center
1515 Locust Street, Suite 705
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5154

For more information, contact the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program at ParishNurse@pmhs.org or Call 412.232.5815 for further information.

Health Ministry Training

Health Ministry Training offered at your church. This training is for both laypersons and health professionals who want to serve their churches as health ministers.

The Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program staff will conduct the training at your church. Average cost is $150 for two workshops (six hours) and handouts for 10 participants. Contact us to design a workshop that will meet the needs of your congregation. Workshop topics include:

  • Building a Health Ministry Team
  • Promoting Health and Wellness in Your Church
  • Coordinating Volunteers
  • Visitation Ministry
Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program
Electronic Documentation System

We invite you to try the demonstration (demo) version of our newly upgraded, user-friendly charting system, designed especially for those interested in documenting parish nurse and health ministry activities.

This demo is fully functional, except that the user cannot add or change clients. Users can, however, add new contacts and/or interventions to the existing clients.

  • The database provides users with a comprehensive array of options for data collection.
  • Select only the options you wish to use or that pertain to your ministry; disregard the rest.
  • The opening screen illustrates the scope of data that can be collected on clients and community outreach activities.
  • Get started by clicking on the box 'Individual Clients.'
  • Open the various pages of the chart: Demographics, Contacts, Interventions, Medications, Medical Conditions, and Allergies.
  • Note: Clicking on any box with blue text will open up another form.
  • Reports can be generated with ease to show the impact of your ministry. Simply click on the Reports button on the opening screen and then click on the report you want.
  • Data for Blood Pressure Screenings and Small Group Activities can be efficiently entered via the buttons on the opening screen. To view sample data that has been entered for a blood pressure screening, type in the Date: 101012 (October 10, 2012), Site: SC (Senior Center), and Hours: 1.

Note how the parish nurse can document using a wholistic approach:

  • Client problems can be documented under the following categories: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social, Financial, and Relational.
  • Details of client problems are expressed in lay terms so clergy and church council members can readily understand.
  • Rate client problems and client progress on a 1-5 scale, from Emergency to Problem Resolved.
  • Client outcomes can easily be identified.
  • Parish nurse interventions can be documented under the following categories: Assess, Advocate, Counsel, Educate, Refer, and Support.
  • Spiritual care and client problem examples are built into the database. Simply select one or add your own.

To view the demo, your computer must have MS Access 2000 or later. To try the demo, click Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program Electronic Documentation System and "Save" the file to your computer.

To purchase the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program Electronic Documentation System, click here. Purchase includes a detailed user's manual, online training, and ongoing customer support. The cost is $400 each for health systems, $200 each for churches and/or faith community nurses. (Note: this is a one-time cost.) Ask about pricing for organizations with parish nurses at multiple sites.

For more information about the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program Electronic Documentation System, contact the Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program at 412.232.5815 or email ParishNurse@pmhs.org.

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Education, News, and Resources for Faith Community Nurses
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Pittsburgh Mercy - A Heritage of Hope Parish Nurse Program
Contact Us
Parish Nurse and
Health Ministry Program

Mercy Health Center
Work 1515 Locust Street, Suite 705
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5154
Work 412.232.5815

Fax 412.232.8711