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Hanover Hiring Community Nurse

Hanover — Hanover is advertising a part-time community nurse position in hopes of filling some health care gaps in town, especially among seniors who wish to remain in their homes.

“It’s really incumbent upon towns and churches — any really decent-sized community — to appoint someone to oversee and coordinate health care needs,” Joyce Hinsley, a retired geriatric nurse who helped implement the program, said in an interview on Tuesday.

The role is meant less to provide direct medical services than to help residents, especially seniors, make sense of their health regimens, Town Manager Julia Griffin said.

“It’s a function that churches have provided over the years that’s really as much social worker for the parishioners as it is a medical nurse,” Griffin said. “It’s geared for the most part to help seniors remain in their homes.”

Hinsley, who provides some of the same services in an unofficial capacity, as well as Ann Bradley, the former parish nurse for the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, joined a committee that convinced the Selectboard to add the new position to this fiscal year’s budget.

Voters in May approved the spending plan, which anticipates that grant money will fund the beginnings of the community nurse program.

The community nurse, according to a town advertisement, will be responsible for checking on residents with health care issues and helping them to coordinate their care.

Griffin said town officials were hoping to secure funds from a trust established by the late Ann and Lou Bressett, of Lou’s Restaurant, which supports the establishment of new community programs.

Betsy McClain, the town’s director of administrative services, was chairwoman of the community nurse committee. She said a cousin of hers recently had clued her in to the community’s needs for home health services.

The cousin, a traveling hospice nurse, came to live with McClain in Hanover while serving nearby patients. During those six months, McClain said, she was convinced of the need for community nursing.

“I just had no idea what kind of issues were going on in homes up and down our blocks,” she said.

McClain added that she found it “incredible” the range of issues that her cousin confronted at people’s homes — whether medical, emotional, mental health or even pet-related needs.

Bradley, the former parish nurse for the Church of Christ, noted that the community nurse primarily provides advice and information, rather than medical care.

“Things are so fragmented for people these days,” she said, “and the community nurse would be a resource where people would go and see, ‘Where do I go for this, or where do I find this resource, or where do I go for a walker?’ ”

As a parish nurse, Bradley helped people book appointments, travel to those appointments and find resources to make personal decisions. She said the community nurse could help an individual decide whether he or she could safely stay at home and help work out the logistics of that decision.

Hanover’s new program had help in its founding from the Upper Valley Community Nursing Project, which aims to create similar positions around the region.

Lyme and Lebanon have community nurses already, according to Bradley, and Thetford this spring approved an appropriation for its own at Town Meeting.

The new health care worker will start at $23.22 an hour, depending on qualifications and experience, according to the listings, and McClain said town officials anticipated he or she will work between 12 and 15 hours weekly — at least to start.

“We’re dipping our toe in the water with this part-time position, looking to see should it be bigger, smaller, and then that will drive how we look to fund it,” McClain said.

Applications for the job can be found on the town website at under the “Employment” link.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at or 603-727-3242.

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