The recent pandemic has been very challenging for St. Joseph’s Hospitals Foundation and the South Florida Baptist Hospital faith community nurses working at the San Jose Mission clinic in Dover and La Esperanza Clinic in Wimauma.
For almost 20 years, St. Joseph’s Hospital has partnered with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg to serve the needs of migrant farm workers. Together, the clinics serve more than 2,000 clients each year, offering free medical services to underserved individuals residing in Hillsborough County who are not covered by another program or insurance.
The faith community nurses began offering their services at mobile medical clinics that were set up at San Jose Mission and La Esperanza Clinic.
“When the pandemic hit, the clinics continued to see clients, they have just had to move most of the services outdoors,” said Linda Wilkerson, Faith Community Nursing manager.
Faith Community Nursing is a recognized specialty by the American Nurses Association. Faith community nurses are pastoral, spiritually mature and licensed, registered nurses. Focusing on the intentional care of the spirit, the nurses blend the community members’ faith and definition of living well with the science of medicine to enhance quality of life. This opportunity is available to all faith communities and all licensed nurses, whether employed or retired.
The clinics do not perform coronavirus testing but provide masks for clients and referrals to testing sites. The nurses suit up in personal protective equipment, register clients outdoors and perform as many services as possible outside to allow for social distancing.
La Esperanza Clinic sees clients on the Catholic Charities Mobile Medical Clinic bus at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission, located at 16650 US Hwy. 301 S. in Wimauma for routine medical visits every Tuesday and for diabetic and hypertensive patients the third Thursday each month.
San Jose Mission, located at 3228 San Jose Mission Dr. in Dover has routine clinics on Mondays and sees diabetics/hypertensive patients on the first Friday of each month. On clinic days, both clinics register patients between 5 and 7 p.m. They begin seeing patients at 6 p.m. and continue until all have been seen. For more information on these mobile clinics, call 707-7376.
To learn more about faith community nurses, visit BayCare’s website at www.baycare.org/about-us/faith-community-nursing.