Julie Pfannenstein

Great River Faith in Action

Choosing the Faith Community Nurse Course That Fits

Julie Pfannenstein, RN, Faith Community Nurse, Great River Faith in Action Case Consultant for Living Well at Home Program

Great River Faith in Action recently obtained a grant to collaborate with Faith Community Nurses in the Great River FIA geographical area and the Department of Human Services and MN Board on Aging, Living Well at Home Program. More on that as it develops! Julie P. will be the GRFIA person we connect with. I recently interviewed Julie because as part of her role there, she took an On-Line Faith Community Nurse Class thru Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD.

Julie went to college and achieved a business degree. While in college she worked as a nursing assistant and felt that calling her to a nursing career. She went to NDSU for Nursing Pre-requisites and then spent two years at Concordia to complete her BSN. Her nursing career led her to work in a Urology Clinic and in a Nursing Home as an evening supervisor and then Nurse Manager in MDS (Minimum Data Set) or as a Medicare qualifier or level of care qualifier. She was drawn to an ad for a job with Great River Faith in Action, wanting to do more direct work with people, rather than the indirect work she was doing with MDS. She accepted the job to serve the St. Cloud Area and became a Case Consultant for the Live Well at Home Program and then Case Coordinator with the goal of helping people stay in their homes with volunteer services and all resources available to them.

Julie in her role uses the Rapid Screen Assessment from the Living Well at Home Program. This is done on the initial visit, six months, and one year. The scoring helps evaluate the need for resources. If a score is three or under, resources may not be needed, and a review at a later date can reassess needs. If the Rapid Screen has a score of three or more, a review at three months is done. Julie provides resource recommendations based on needs.

As part of her role, Julie was asked by her employer to take the Faith Community Nursing Course. Heather Van Cleave, Assistant Coordinator at GRFIA is also a trained FCN. Julie researched courses based in a 5 day class option from two programs that are available in our area and on line classes. She says the cost between the site based and online class is similar. One includes transportation, meals, and cost of staying at a site for four to five nights. Because of her family needs and time constraints, she choose to take the online class from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD.

As part of her course, Julie spent two days at Avera in Sioux Falls, SD, completing the course. She said the course offered nice flexibility for her. She spent a couple of hours per week doing reading and assignments, keeping up with the class. More time was needed at the beginning to get accustomed to how it worked with computer time. She read assigned readings and all posts and comments and questions by others in the class and was able to ask questions on line, as well as speak with instructors. She also had a family need to attend to so with the on line class she was able to take needed time do this and then catch up. She met her classmates and instructors in the two days at Avera and was really stimulated by all the interaction, listening to speakers, and the sharing of books and other resources. At the end of the last day, the class was commissioned as Faith Community Nurses. Because she interacted with classmates over time on line, she felt like she got to know them well and meeting them was comfortable and easy.

Julie said Faith Community Nursing as a philosophy was not new at Great River Faith in Action, and it enhanced her work with clients. It was the asset that made her more “present” to them.

Julie’s comment on adding the role of FCN to her job at GRFIA: “Faith Community Nursing enriches the whole program”.