Nursing group forms a new chapter in SC

COLUMBIA—Catholic nurses can now connect with each other, share their faith and work together to help the community thanks to a new organization in the Diocese of Charleston. 

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone granted permission for a chapter of the National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA to form here. 

Nurses were introduced to the organization at two meetings held Dec. 13 at Cardinal Newman School. They were led by Michelle Law from the diocesan Office of Family Life.   

The association’s roots date to the early 1930s, when Catholic nurses from many nations met in Lourdes, France, and founded the International Catholic Committee for Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants. 

The committee, recognized by Rome, dedicates itself to promoting Christian and professional values in nursing. 

The National Council of Catholic Nurses in the U.S. formed soon after and were active for many years before disbanding in 1970. There was a resurgence of interest in the early ’90s, and it reformed as the National Association of Catholic Nurses in the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., in 1994. 

It is a voting member of the international committee, so all U.S. members are also part of that organization. 

At the Columbia meetings, Law described various affiliate activities. In Tennessee, for example, the group has organized health fairs, offered health education opportunities, and helped priests who needed transportation to medical appointments. 

Law said the association is a good source of support and information for nurses, and can help advocate for ethical end-of-life and palliative care and other health issues. 

Nancy McGrath, a registered nurse and fertility care practitioner from the Upstate, said she hopes members will learn how to be instructors for natural family planning. She believes the new organization will offer a much-needed network that hasn’t been present in the state before. 

“It’s important to have this in today’s climate with all the moral and ethical issues our nurses are facing,” McGrath said. 

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Photo provided: Participants learn more about the National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA during introductory meetings at Cardinal Newman School.