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Papua new Guinea
Parish Nursing in Papua New Guinea took a significant step forward at the second Introduction to Pastoral Care Nursing course that concluded in Goroka on 31 August.

Nineteen people received their certificates during a service at St John’s Lutheran church that morning.  At the conclusion of the service the ‘graduates’ were introduced to the congregation, and they then lined up to be greeted by worshippers as they the left the church.

Students included lecturers from the Lutheran School of Nursing in Madang, the chairman of the school’s board (a former General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea), chairman of the St John’s congregation, a representative from Lutheran Health Services, as well as a pastor and vicar.

The course was coordinated by Pastor Robert and Mrs Lynette Wiebusch, and included input from local nurses, including Paula Pohonu, who had just returned from a Lutheran Parish Nurses International (LPNI) study tour to Germany.  Paula was the winner of the 2014 LPNI study tour scholarship.  She gave a report on the tour, both at the course and at the graduation service.

In the final session, class participants began to frame a strategy for developing Parish Nursing in PNG beyond Goroka.   Nurses from St John’s pioneered Parish Nursing in Papua New Guinea when, with encouragement from their pastor, Grahamme Baital, they formed Lutheran Nurses Outreach Ministry (LNOM) to extend the congregation’s ministry and mission.   It was noted that two of the other Lutheran congregations in Goroka, as well as the Roman Catholic church, are now enquiring about Parish Nursing.

It was agreed to ‘make haste slowly’, and that initially urban congregations should be targetted. The Madang participants are hoping to be able to establish a Parish Nurse ministry in the congregation adjacent to the school of nursing in the coming 12 months.  It was also agreed that an introductory course and seminar be offered in Madang next year.

The possibility of establishing Parish Nurse ministries at some of the church’s schools, and at Medical Outposts operated by the church, was warmly supported.  St John’s chairman Mr Himony Lapiso, who is a board member of the Asaroka Lutheran High School out of Goroka, spoke strongly in favour of equipping existing school nurses to take on the wider role of Pastoral Care Nursing.

A committee comprising members from both Goroka and Madang was formed to plan future development of Parish Nursing in PNG, including next year’s course.  Their first meeting is scheduled for Madang.

At the same time, consideration is to be given to the possibility of forming a national Lutheran nursing organisation similar to the Lutheran Nurses Association of Australia.

The course was followed by a short seminar, which was also attended by nurses who completed last year’s introductory course in Goroka.
 
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