Parish Nurse to provide healthcare and spiritual support

Catriona Logan
(Left to right) Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong, Rev David Logan, Parish Nurse Catriona Logan, Rev Dr Helen Wordsworth, founder and director of Parish Nursing in the UK. Loftus Brown

A Parish Nurse has been recruited to provide holistic healthcare and spiritual support to people in Dumfries.

Catriona Logan is the first practitioner of this kind in the south of Scotland and will be based in St Mary’s Greyfriars’ Church of Scotland.

The 57-year-old, who was a senior charge nurse at Royal Dundee Liff Hospital until she retired, will spend most of her time in the community, providing assistance to people, particularly those who feel isolated, two days a week. (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Mrs Logan, who officially started her new role on Sunday after undergoing training with charity, Parish Nursing UK, said she was really looking forward to providing a “listening and supportive ear” to people.

Oliver Mundell, MSP for Dumfriesshire, said he was delighted that the Church was taking "practical action of great value".

He predicted that the role would make a "real difference" in the area.

Faith and health integration

Parish Nursing seeks to provide whole person health care through a local church community.

Based on Christ’s teaching and ministry, as demonstrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Parish Nurses provide support for the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of individuals.

Registered nurses work from their churches offering individuals and communities personal health advice, advocacy support and health education.

They offer support groups, training and supporting volunteers and helping people of all ages and backgrounds to integrate their faith and their health.

Mrs Logan, who is working on a voluntary basis,was commissioned to lead the parish nursing service, one of only ten in Scotland, at St Mary’s Greyfriars’ Church on Sunday.

She said: “I am very much looking forward to my new role – it really is a super idea.

“Parish nursing adopts a holistic approach to whole person health care which includes the spiritual needs of the client.

“We are all registered nurses who are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and are fully insured as well as being PVG checked with the church authorities."

Catrionia Logan
Parish Nurse Catriona Logan checks a patient's blood pressure.

Mrs Logan, who worked for NHS Tayside for more than 30 years,said it was part of the Parish Nurse's role to identify areas that the NHS is struggling with and "try and focus our resources" there.

"I believe the health promotion work that we do is very important," she added.

"People who are reluctant to go to their GP come up to me and get their blood pressure checked.

"I then refer them on to their GP practice nurse if I have any concerns, or indeed their GP if I think it is necessary."

Mrs Logan said she hoped she would be able to help tackle loneliness.

“We hear so much in the news that nurses who go into houses do not have time to properly speak to people," she added.

“It is a major problem but the role of a Parish Nurse will help address that.”

Tackling isolation

Mrs Logan lived in Broughty Ferry near Dundee before moving to Dumfries last year when her husband David took up the role as minister at St Mary’s Greyfriars’ Church.

He said the congregation was delighted to have a Parish Nurse.

Mr Logan, a former Tayside Police inspector, said: “The role, supported by funding from the Church of Scotland’s Go For It Fund, will bring a new dimension to our pastoral care provision."

Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong, Rev Dr Helen Wordsworth, founder and director of Parish Nursing in the UK, which trained Mrs Logan, and Mr Mundell, attended the special service.

The MSP said: “I am delighted to see a parish nursing service established here and believe that Catriona Logan's appointment will make a real difference to the wider community in Dumfries.

"When people are facing illness and health problems it often presents challenges for their faith and can be very isolating.

“Having a parish nurse with both medical expertise and an interest in people's spiritual health is of great value and comfort to many.

“It's very welcome to see the church taking action in this area and taking practical steps to help those in need."

The Parish Nurse post at Mary’s Greyfriars’ Church was subject to a six-month pilot before being rolled out.

The Church of Scotland also has Parish Nurses in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.