Lutherans name first area faith community nurse

The Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries, representing more than 20 Lutheran churches in Shenandoah County, announced it has selected a local registered nurse as its first faith community nurse.

The ministries, in conjunction with the Shenandoah County Health Ministry Coalition, announced Jeannie Coffman, of Shenandoah County, would be the county’s first faith community nurse.

Coffman has served for 34 years in the area, 17 of which were spent at Shenandoah County Memorial Hospital and the other 17 at Valley Health Systems. She is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jerome and is taking classes at Shenandoah University to become certified in faith community nursing.

Connie Fauber, chair of the Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries, said faith community nursing is a “holistic approach” to serving patients’ needs.

“She will be somebody who can educate people about health issues, blood pressure checks, sugar monitoring and things that come with age and, with permission, be a go-between for a doctor and a member of the congregation she would be working with,” Fauber said.

Fauber added, “She will not only be ministering to the body, but the mind and the soul at the same time, so it comes at it from a different perspective than a regular, clinical RN.”

Coffman will be working part time for five Lutheran churches in the county, starting May 1. Fauber said the ministry is still trying to determine what congregations Coffman will be serving.

“She will work closely with the ministers in those churches,” Fauber said. “They would make her aware of people that may be hospitalized or recently released from the hospital … she’ll work with expecting mothers, newborns and so forth.”

Fauber added, “We’re going to set it up for her to cover as much territory as possible … she’ll be working up and down the county, hopefully.”

Fauber said the ministry will be working slowly and methodically to determine how much of a need there is for faith-based community nursing in the area.

“I consider this a pilot program that will educate people about faith-based community nursing and what it means,” she said. “We need to get it out into the community, build it and educate people to get it into the community to see if it will be accepted.”

A Lutheran bishop will commission Coffman May 31 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jerome.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com