For the past decade, Elaine Caldwell, R.N., ONC, has been called to expand her nursing practice to include a volunteer faith community nursing role at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville.
Elaine Caldwell, R.N., ONC, knew her career calling early in life.
“My mom said when I was 6 I told her I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up, so I did!” Elaine said.
Elaine has followed her clear career path for nearly 45 years, serving as a nurse at Norton Healthcare. For the past decade, she has been called to expand her nursing practice to include a volunteer faith community nursing role at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville.
With enthusiastic support of the church’s pastor, the Rev. Lori Miller-Price, Elaine and a small group of volunteers on St. Andrew’s health ministry team sponsored a Soup, Salad and Smoothie event in partnership with the Norton Faith & Health Ministries team. Nearly 30 members gathered to enjoy fellowship, homemade soups, salads and smoothies. Norton Faith & Health Ministries educators Kathy Bryant, RN-BC, and Regina Bratcher, R.N., demonstrated the art of making the perfect salad and quick and affordable ways to eat healthier. The evening ended with simple smoothie recipes and tastings.
Each health ministry is unique and can include an umbrella of services ranging from writing health-focused articles for the church newsletter to visiting members in the hospital or other care facility. However, what makes faith community nursing distinctly different is the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting whole-person health and wellness. The faith connection, emphasis on disease prevention and wide variety of service options attract many nurses to the specialty.
One of Elaine’s most memorable moments occurred while visiting a church member who was dying. Elaine and other visitors joined a music therapist to sing songs.
“Although I wasn’t giving her medicine or doing anything ‘nursey,’ I felt the singing was the best medication we could give her! The smile and love on her face is one I will never forget,” she said.
Elaine and other employees serving with their faith community’s health ministry connect with the Norton Faith & Health Ministries team for free education and resources to build healthier lives.