A Parish/Faith Community Nurse is a licensed registered nurse who ministers to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of a congregation. The nurse focuses on the promotion of health within the context for the beliefs, values and faith practices of the congregation. The mission and ministry is to meet the unique needs of the members and friend s in the church served. In 1997, The American Nurses’ Association recognized parish nursing as a specialty practice. In 2005, the name parish nurse was changed to faith community nurse so the focus of practice was more clearly identified and a greater variety of denominations could feel included in the title.
The roles of a Parish Nurse are flexible and independent and determined following a survey of member/friends to ascertain the unique healthcare need of a congregation/faith community.
- Integrator of Faith and Health is the key focus of ministry thru visits in home, hospital and nursing homes and all other activities so an understanding of relationship between faith and health is promoted
- Health Educator-providing health information on bulletin boards, in newsletters, and in classes
- Personal Health Counselor - discuss health concerns with individuals as appropriate
- Developer/Facilitator of Support Groups and Coordinator of Volunteers as needed
- Advocate and resource-referral agent for people to appropriately utilize health care resources.
A Parish/Faith Community Nurse is a colleague in ministry with other pastors and members, enhancing / supporting their work. The nurse is a paid or unpaid staff member and does not duplicate healthcare services that are available from healthcare professionals or that require a Doctor’s order. This ministry/program does not usually include "hands on" nursing like filling pills, bathing, changing wounds. The ministry does involve assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care which allows the Parish Nurse to focus on member’s strengths and areas for growth.