Interview with the Director of Christian Science Nursing at the BA — Part 1

Kathy Glover shares her unique perspective

Kathy Glover

For almost a century the BA has provided Christian Science nursing care and a refuge for those seeking healing and renewal.  Do you ever wonder if you should call for care from a Christian Science nurse? Many of us may know about the BA and that it has Christian Science nursing services – but often there’s a reluctance to seek that Christian Science nursing care.  Recently, the BA’s Paul Woodsum sat down with Kathy Glover, Director of Christian Science Nursing at the BA, to find out what she witnesses each day as she manages many Christian Science nurses working around the clock. Kathy is a Journal-listed Christian Science nurse, has served as a soloist in branch churches, and you can hear her perform on the inspirational songs CD Inhabiting Eternity.

November 2011

PART 1

Paul: Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with me Kathy. As Director of Christian Science Nursing at the BA, you must have a unique perspective on the daily healing activity here. Can you describe what a typical week is like for you?

Kathy: Actually, there is no typical week here.  Every day is unique and every week is unique.  Every part of my work is for the purpose of supporting and witnessing healing. A big part of my day is being on the Christian Science nursing care floor overseeing patient care and working with Christian Science nurses on duty  to see how I can help them to feel supported throughout their shift.  We might share ideas that would make it easier for a patient to take some nourishment, or ideas on how to help someone find a way to read and study more comfortably. Each CS nurse is assigned different patients on different days, and the care is individualized to the particular needs of the patient.    They’re always thinking about how they can help to lift the atmosphere in the patient’s room.

Sometimes when there may be a particularly challenging case, I’ll see one of the CS nurses taking a moment to pray and get on top of things, and she’ll go into that room ready to help uplift and inspire. And often they’ll be working with someone who is well on their way to healing and has made great progress — and that’s such a joyful thing to witness too.

Many of my days are full of meetings where we’re thinking about how to best support the BA in general, and how Christian Science nursing can be supported by the various departments that make up the BA. It’s a daily coordination with Housekeeping and Dining Services – finding the best way to prepare food depending on the particular needs of each patient. Our kitchen staff does such a great job of modifying menus as needed. It is a wonderful support to CS nursing.

Part of my work is to take calls for admission to the BA which come at all hours of the day and night. My work is to respond to those calls and to evaluate how the needs of the individual needing care can best be met, whether it be as an outpatient, through our visiting service, or by having someone come onto the Christian Science nursing care floor. Frequently I’ll ask our Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service (VCSNS) to go out on the road and do a friendly call to check on someone.  When someone calls and tells me they aren’t sure if they should come to the BA, that’s a perfect time for a visiting Christian Science nurse to visit the home and get a sense of the need at  home. Many people don’t realize that we can do that.

Paul: So there isn’t really much difference between what goes on at the BA and what the Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service is doing on the road?

Kathy: Well, you’re right in that the standard of Christian Science nursing is the same for inpatient care and for care through the VCSNS, but there’s quite a unique niche for each.  The VCSNS can be such a perfect answer for someone who may have a need that can be met with a short visit every day or a couple of times a week while they carry on with their activities at home and in the community.  And our inpatient care gives such a strong, protected refuge for someone who may need to step aside from the demands of home and daily activities.  Many of our staff who work here on the floor also work in the VCSNS, and vice versa.  We have versatility and a Christian Science nursing standard that enables us to do effective Christian Science nursing in this location as well as in an individual’s home.

Paul: Sometimes you might have more demands depending on how many patients are here at any particular time, how do you make sure that you meet all the needs?

There may be times that you have to stretch to meet all the different needs, and sometimes that may include bringing in Christian Science nurses from our Field. We’ll ask private duty CS nurses to come in and work as a staff CS nurse. We have a few CS nurses in the area that we can call when there is a need for more CS nurses, and we’re really grateful for them.  It’s interesting; recently we had 3 or 4 admissions to our CS nursing care floor in a one-to-two-day period, plus a number of new admission calls.  The needs on the floor did not permit us to admit everyone all at once so I called one of the individuals to discuss providing care in their home as we worked to be able to have them come here.  It turns out that the need was such that  family was able to help with some care for a while. When I called them a couple days later I learned that the individual was doing much better. They were so grateful that we had called to be sure they were getting the needed care and assured us that they were.

Paul: What would you say to someone who calls you and has a physical challenge but isn’t sure if they really need to come to the BA? How do you respond when it seems that someone has resisted the idea of calling for help?

Kathy: Often when people call they’re in a situation where they may have needed to call quite a while earlier. People can be reluctant to call. In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy talks about an “unnatural reluctance” to call for Christian Science treatment. There seems to be a similar reluctance to call a Christian Science nurse for help.

When someone calls me I ask them to tell me what their needs are, to see how we might be able to meet the needs at that moment. The need may be as simple as being in the healing atmosphere here, having meals prepared for them, not having the worries of daily chores. At other times there is a great need where family members have been caring for an individual for some time and they don’t know what else to do.

So many times I’ve heard people say “If I had known how much it would have relieved my thought — to know that you were able to make things so much easier, and that despite the challenge I was dealing with that the CS nurses were able to help me focus in on my prayer and study. If I had known all of this I would have come here a long time ago.” We hear that a lot.

Our Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service cares for individuals in the home, but there may be some instances where the individual would benefit by being cared for at the BA’s facility. When they come here they see some of the practical aids we have– such as adjustable beds and chairs and special mattresses that meet the individual need. We have easy-access showers, and all of our facilities are on one floor, which helps when someone is challenged with mobility. On top of that there are CS nurses and volunteers who can read to them, a PA system that plays the audio Bible Lesson, audio Science and Health, and hymns. In the middle of the night there’s always a CS nurse awake and available to care for you – whereas if you were home you might hesitate to call on a family member.

One of the misconceptions about coming to the BA is that it’s going to be very institutional – that they’ll be woken up at 6 AM sharp and that they have to have breakfast at a certain time, or in a certain room, or that they won’t have any say in their schedule. That’s not the way it is here at all! The Christian Science nursing care here is so individualized. For instance, if an individual needs to sleep in a bit because they were up during the night – they can request to have their breakfast at the time that works for them. Or if they’re used to having a shower or a bath at a certain time of the day – that’s just fine. If they want vegetarian meals, we have those. If they want some quiet study time and need a specific kind of chair to make it comfortable for them, we’ll provide it. We’re always making that extra effort to find a way to meet each individual’s need.

Paul: It sounds like the BA offers the opposite of an institutional type care. You really offer more of a homelike and flexible kind of atmosphere – with a focus on healing and tender, loving care.

Kathy: Yes, and sometimes providing that homelike atmosphere means making certain that patients can have their loved ones with them.  Sometimes a patient will have family members who live a distance from the BA. We  have wonderful Rest & Study rooms here where family may stay or sometimes a  family member has stayed right in the patient’s room with them because of the particular need. Our visiting hours are totally flexible and based on the patient’s needs and wishes. In some cases a patient will tell us they don’t want visitors – so we provide that protection and will honor that request to not have visitors. We really are here to support the right thing for each person, which is very individual.

To be continued — Be sure to look for Part 2 in the December e-newsletter.  Kathy shares inspiring healings and more of the metaphysical support Christian Science nurses bring to their work.

 

3 Responses to Interview with the Director of Christian Science Nursing at the BA — Part 1

  1. Mussa Tongori says:

    Thanks Kathy, the cs nursing staff and the entire BA family and friends for such a wonderful uplifting thought and enviroment for refuge you all are providing at the BA! Your love for cs nursing and ideas you are expessing with such a deep love and expectancy of healing is remakable, Whether you work full time, volunteer just a few hours,days or weeks reading to the patients,marking Books for the Bible Lesson, volunteering to read in our informal Sunday Church Service and Testimony meeting or just praying from you home whenever you are for the receptivity of Christian Science, your loving care and support is always felt and have blessed countless individuals!

    How loving to know the worldwide family and members of The Mother Church can always have a home at the BA while supporting their dear fellow Church members either by caring for them or being cared for. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful ways in which the BA is supporting the healing mission of Christian Science.

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