Parish Nurse Ministry
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Parish Nursing or Faith Community Nursing?
It is a specialty practice in nursing and professional model of health ministry:
- The historic roots of health and healing come from the Judeo-Christian tradition.
- The parish nurse uses her/his knowledge to promote wellness of body, mind and spirit.
- The parish nurse works in the faith community and helps individuals and families.
- The roles of the parish nurse are: Integrator of Faith and Health, Health Educator, Personal Health Counselor, Referral Agent, Trainer of Volunteers, Developer of Support Groups, and Health Advocate.
Who can be a Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse?
A parish nurse is a currently licensed registered nurse (RN). Others (LPN/LVNs, retired RNs, social workers, health educators) may volunteer to assist with the health ministry but the activities of this team would be under the direction/supervision of the parish nurse. Every nurse who uses the title "parish nurse" must have completed an internationally recognized basic parish nurse preparation course.What are Examples of Parish Nurse Ministries?
- Refers parishioners to various support services, including older adult programs or grief support.
- Involves congregational members in health ministry through a Health Cabinet/Wellness Council.
- Offers comfort and prayer during times of crisis and celebration.
- Offers tips related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the parish newsletter.
- Coordinates seminars on stress management, infant massage and screening for hypertension.
Parish nurses do not provide "hands on" nursing care or perform invasive treatments. It is not a substitute for pastoral care, medical assistance, community health nursing or social services. Parish nurses work in partnership with others to advocate for the health and well being of the congregation.What is the congregation's role?
A parish nurse requires the ongoing support from the congregation, health cabinet/wellness council and clergy. Keys to success include: well-prepared nurses educated in parish nursing and committed to wholistic health, clergy eager to work on a team, an active health cabinet/wellness council, congregations willing to become involved in the care/support of individual congregants, and finally, support - financial, spiritual and emotional. Do these guarantee success? Not necessarily, but they provide a solid foundation for a successful parish nurse ministry.