Parish nursing in PNG

An Introduction to Pastoral Care Nursing course has been hosted by the Golden Grove Lutheran Church specially for six nurses from Goroka in the Papua New Guinea highlands. The course also attracted two Australians, both of whom had a connection with PNG.

Christiaan Hersevelt of Golden Grove had recently returned from Goroka after a short visit, and Lynette Hartwich from Hamilton, Victoria, had served in Wau for a number of years.

The Golden Grove Lutheran Church has forged a link with Lutherans at Asaroka. Congregation members hosted the PNG nurses in their homes, and arranged for them to visit the Women’s and Children’s and the Lyell McEwen hospitals in Adelaide, as well as the Hope Valley Lutheran Homes.

The nurses attended the LCA parish nurse seminar at Blair Athol, which focused on family matters, as well as the annual meeting of the Lutheran Nurses Association. They met with church leaders in the LCA national office, visited Adelaide’s Central Market and Cleland Wildlife Park, and had a day trip to the Barossa Valley.

The course was organised by LCA Parish Nursing Coordinator Lynette Wiebusch. Pastor Len Tscharke and Margaret Voigt, who both served in PNG, contributed to the program.

Some nurses from Goroka had heard about parish nursing when they visited Adelaide in 2008. Encouraged by their pastor, Grahamme Baital, they formed a body known as Lutheran Nurses Out-Reach Ministry (LNOM). LNOM involves 20 registered nurses who are prepared to undertake some special education, and who work in a hospital, health centre or at an aid post. They are active members of their church. Possible ways of helping the other fourteen nurses to attend an introductory course are now being explored.

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