Faith Community Nurse training allows public health nurse to expand healthcare outreach

ELKINS, W.Va. – Kassie Swecker, a WVU School of Nursing-trained Faith Community Nurse, has been working to improve the health in her local church and community.

After 10 years as a public health nurse for the Randolph County Health Department, Swecker had become comfortable with her job and wanted to see if she could do more for her community.

Seeing a student’s Facebook post about a Faith Community Nursing course offered by WVU inspired Swecker to take the course and start her work. Becoming a Faith Community Nurse has allowed her to do more in her role while staying in the Barbour and Randolph County area.

Swecker started working in the Good Shepherd Assembly of God church and has been a member of the church for the last 20 years. Her familiarity with the congregation has opened more opportunities due to the trust between them.

The first event Swecker hosted was a flu vaccine clinic at the church's annual Harvest party. During the event, she was also able to educate congregants on breast cancer screenings and perform blood sugar checks.

Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are prevalent across West Virginia, so Swecker wants church members to know that their struggles are valid and connect them with support resources.

“I know nursing is my calling; I get so much joy and satisfaction,” Swecker said. “It doesn’t feel like a job for me.”

The church’s proximity to the Lighthouse Rehabilitation Center for Men has also allowed Swecker to help those who are in substance abuse recovery.

“It feels like a blessing to do this type of work,” Swecker said. “Anytime you can educate someone about their health or bring them some hope or joy, that's always a good thing.”

“The work of the nurse within faith community settings across West Virginia is proving successful in connecting community members with needed resources,” said Dr. Angel Smothers, Associate Dean for Community Engagement at the WVU School of Nursing.

Swecker’s efforts have been supported by funding from the Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon, which was awarded via the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.


CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing