Joann Arneberg, Faith Community Nurse
Augustana Lutheran Church, West St Paul, Minnesota
Community Health and Education, Missionaries, Church
Joann’s interest in public health led her to earn her MPH degree from the University of Minnesota in Community Health and Education. She eventually became a licensed nurse in 2008. However, her experience was already deep and broad. Or abroad as the case was.
In 1993 Joann and her husband ventured to Africa to minister as missionaries in Tanzania. Together they spent eight years there providing discipleship and guiding community development efforts. After returning in 2001 they were stateside until 2007 when Joann’s husband’s job took him to China.
Upon completing her training and nursing licensure Joann joined her husband in China in 2008. She studied Chinese medicine for one year until they returned home.
Public Health Delivery Both Home and Away
Upon returning home from China Joann picked up where she left off by joining Boynton Health at the University of Minnesota. There she developed her skills in public health for the next five years. Then her husband’s work led them back to China in 2014.
Ministry and public health began to meld for Joann. While her work had to be referred to as International Fellowship(religious expression in China is fraught) it would be recognized as “church” here.
For four years Joann’s efforts included voluntarily teaching English and first aid to teachers and students. She also worked on planning events and other leadership efforts. There was also no shortage of international students needing basic care and guidance while studying.
Faith Community Nursing Raises Up Those Who Need and Those Who Provide
Upon returning home in June of 2018, Joann’s career direction wasn’t exactly clear given the rich but winding path of her work to that point. Then a pastor friend suggested Faith Community Nursing and suddenly her stars aligned! All her previous experiences she could then see braided together in this work. “It feels as though I have been called to do this. It is a calling, not a job” Joann emphasized.
The variety of Joann’s background lines up well with the various activities of fulfilling the Faith Community Nurse’s mission. That is to care for the mind, body, and spirit of all those within and around Augustana. Joann’s work is directed by her collaboration with Pastor and Deacon.
Joann’s work is carried out many ways. Some of those include overseeing prayer requests, Befrienders, service referrals, hospital visits and home follow ups, managing Augustana’s medical equipment lending program, overseing blood drives, flu shots and blood pressure screenings, as well as presenting educational sessions.
Education topics include falls prevention, chronic conditions, mental health and more. Educating goes beyond Augustana. Neighboring communities are served as well. Collaborating with other resources like NAMI and MHealth’s Interfaith Health Collaborative further enhances the mission.