Congregational Health Ministry

Our Congregational Nurse (Donna Rutherford, RN) provides a healing ministry that helps support and fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our congregation. She is a volunteer on staff, our nurse minister.

Health MinistryNotes from the Congregational Nurse

Congregational Health
May, 2015

TIA, transient ischemic attack, is sometimes referred to as a “mini stroke.”  A TIA originates in the same manner as a stroke but does not cause permanent brain damage.

Both stroke and TIA occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain.  Sometimes the blocked artery reopens in time to avoid permanent damage.   This explains why a TIA is of short duration and does not cause long-term brain dysfunction.

Recent studies have shown that life expectancy for those who have experienced a TIA was lower than that of the general population.  Studies also have shown that the mortality rate for older patients who have experienced a TIA was higher than for the general population.

TIAs like strokes are a medical emergency requiring prompt attention.

Symptoms of a TIA include:

-     Confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.

-     Numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.

-     Abrupt loss of vision in one or both eyes.

-     Trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.

-     Sudden headache without a known cause.

Risk factors include:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).  Atrial fib, congestive heart failure and hospitalizations for stroke play the biggest role in the risk of early death after a TIA.  Aspirin therapy can reduce the risk for TIA and stroke.  If you think you are at risk for a TIA, talk with your health care provider about starting ASA therapy.  Do not start daily aspirin without medical guidance.

TIA should always be taken very seriously and requires the same emergency evaluation as a stroke.  Getting to the hospital ER as soon as symptoms are noticed is critical.

Love and Blessings,


Praying for light

Looking back in thankfulness

Praying into the heart of the day

Letting go and holding on

The Prayer of Examen

Services and Duties of the Congregational Nurse

Healthy Living

Donna serves our congregation as:

- a health and wellness educator
- a health and wellness counselor
- a community liaison and personal advocate
- a member of the Pastoral Care Team

All conversations and records are strictly confidential. All records are secure. No one else has access to the records of the congregational nurse.

Her duties include:

  • Meeting individually with clients in the home, church, or hospital to provide holistic care and support.
  • Advocating for clients in the health system.
  • Promoting health education.
  • Providing health screening and monitoring, as with our First Sunday Blood Pressure Screenings.
  • Assessing the needs of the congregation and establishing programs to meet these needs.
  • Assisting in locating resources for the community.

The Congregational Nurse does not give direct hands-on treatment but helps to empower and enable clients in their healing journey.

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