Parish Nursing at The Steeple started up in 2008, as is an integral part of The Steeple’s missional service in our city. Our overarching aim is to support people to achieve and enjoy good health and wellbeing. Gradually awareness grew of the needs of many people around the centre of the city whose lives were far from healthy. Dundee has a tragically high rate of drug-related deaths, made worse by the increasing availability of more diverse drugs. Each of the people who have died has parents, families and friends who have therefore lost a loved one. Many of the folk who attend our service have developed long-term problems related to all sorts of substance use. Their lives are broken, and they are often without hope of that ever improving in any meaningful way. They often have difficulty engaging effectively with statutory services, and the easily ‘fall through the cracks’ into a downward spiral of chaos and misery. Dundee has very few ‘rough sleepers’ but many people living in poor or unsafe situations.
Our role as Parish Nurses is to reach out, through street outreach work, drop-in clinic sessions and one-to-one meetings to support folk, to walk with them on the often long and lonely road towards recovery of whole-person health and wellbeing, including body, mind and spirit. Our approach is person-centred. We don’t do any invasive treatments, but we can provide first aid; we don’t provide counselling, but we are good listeners; we don’t prescribe or dispense any medicines at all, but we treat folk with respect, impartiality, dignity, and lovingkindness. We don’t try to ‘convert’ people to Christianity; our calling is to reflect God’s love into people’s lives by the way we live and work. We work with folk of all faiths and none, always respecting the values that they may be clinging on to in their troubles. We offer to pray with and for folk if that is what they want, and that does often happen.
Right from the beginning we have worked closely with the local NHS Homeless Health Outreach Nursing Team (HHOT), with other Dundee homeless drop-in facilities and with multiple local statutory and voluntary agencies. Through the ‘Building Bridges of Hope’ meetings we have brought multiple services together, building greater respect and recognition of each other’s contribution towards making Dundee a heathier and better place to be.
There are three Parish Nurses in our team:
Rachel McReady joined the team in 2014; she also works part-time with NHS Tayside HHOT. Rachel set up the Building Bridges group as part of the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland programme in 2017, and also developed the highly respected and widely-used Dundee Recovery Road Map. The map was launched as a mobile app at the end of December 2020. Click here to access the app. Click here to access the Apple version.
Kirsty Nelson joined us in 2017. She is also a District Nurse in Perthshire, and has for years been involved with another local charity caring for very needy folk (but not in a nursing role). She brings lots of clinical nursing experience and wisdom, and also good IT skills, which is something we’ve been needing for a long time!
Our work is supported by a team of about 15 volunteers who come along to the drop-in sessions and provide a warm welcome and serve good food to those who attend (anything between 20 and 50 people at any session). Some of our volunteers are people who came along to us for support and are moving on with their lives. We simply could not do our work as Nurses without the support of this brilliant and very lovely and loving team.
We are in the process of developing a more detailed website of our own, and as soon as possible the link to that will appear here. It will also give information about how you can find out more about Parish Nursing in general, and how you may give donations to support our work. It will also include our email addresses and work phone numbers so that you may contact us for more information. You can also find us on social media – Facebook and Twitter so far.