What is a Parish Nurse?

Parish nursing is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition and the historic practice of professional nursing. It is based on the belief that we “care for self and others as an expression of God’s love. The practice of parish nursing combines professional nursing with health ministry. “Healing is the process of taking care of the body, mind, and spirit to create wholeness, health, and a sense of well-being during illness.”

As your parish nurse I will:

  • Work 10-15 hours a week depending upon the needs of our church.
  • Coordinate visits from Father Nixon, Pastoral Care Ministers or Companions of Christ upon request. 
  • Review with Father Nixon, those I have seen and those who have requested to see him.
  • Visit those in the hospital and nursing homes; make home visits to the sick, elderly, and homebound. 
  • During home visits I will make a brief safety assessment of motor skills, walker or cane usage, check throw rugs and other obstacles that may be a danger and suggest ways to minimize these threats. Provide spiritual, emotional and time for prayer with parishioner and their families. 
  • Interact with caregivers, spouses and family and convey any difficulties or things I may observe such as “Mom seems less aware of her surroundings today or did not recognize me or follow the conversation as in previous visits.”
  • Suggest referral of patients to the hospital, assisted care facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies, physicians, counselors, support groups or hospice, as needs arise.
  • Visit patients who are terminal, if the patient/family desires, and prepare them for what to expect.  Can give direction and assist in fill out living wills/advance directives, and answer questions about medical terms as needed. 
  • Educate on the disease process, medications and other health concerns. 
  • Upon specific request, I can go with patients to doctor visits or to the hospital to be an advocate for the patient and family.
  • Most of all I will pray with and provide comfort to all those I will serve. 

As your parish nurse I cannot:

  • Give medications or adjust medications
  • Change bandages
  • Make changes to medical equipment such as oxygen adjustments.

Other Roles: 

  • Develop Bulletin board with health information and resources.
  • Provide education through the parish bulletin and other formats

Contact information: 

Email me at [email protected] or call my home at 434-525-2385, leave a message if there is no answer and I will return your call as soon as possible. Feel free to speak with me before after Church. 

I look forward to serving the parish in this ministry. May God bless all of you.

Tina Ptakowski, RN, MSN

My Professional Bio

I have been a registered nurse for 36 years.  I have my Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and my Master of Science Degree in Nursing Administration.  My experience in nursing includes: medical, surgical, cardiac, respiratory, oncology, intensive care nursing, pediatrics, school nursing, case management, clinical instructor and other supervisory/ management roles.  

I retired from Centra Specialty Hospital in November of 2014. I became the volunteer Parish Nurse at Holy Name of Mary in June of 2015. I completed a 50-hour course on Faith Community Nursing which is a specialty recognized by the American Nurses Association. In addition to the parish nursing role, I am the coordinator of Pastoral care.