Parish Nurse Ministry
Steps to Develop an Effective Parish Nurse Ministry
1. Gather and share information
Read books on parish nursing/faith community nursing by Granger Westberg, Dr. Deb Patterson, Ann Solari-Twadell & Mary Ann McDermott, and Carol Smucker.
Visit with parish nurses, clergy and lay leaders who are already involved with parish nurse ministries and health & healing ministries.
2. Gain support of the clergy
Clergy are vital in the development and ongoing support of the program. Encourage clergy to provide homilies and sermons on health and healing. Clergy may help select members for task force or initial committee.
3. Inform and involve the congregation
Survey for individuals interested in program assistance (they do not have to be involved in health care!). Show videos related to parish nursing (program development and sustaining ministries). Good examples are Health Partners in the Red River Valley and Starting & Sustaining a Parish Nurse Ministry available from the Concordia College Parish Nurse Ministry program.
4. Develop a Health Cabinet/Wellness Council/Health Ministry Committee This group consists of 6-12 members: health care providers, social workers, educators, dieticians, parents, health educators, potential care recipients, etc.
5. Establish a link with the local health care agency (optional). This relationship provides support and credibility. They may serve as formal or informal partners.
6. Select one or more parish nurses
Registered nurse currently licensed in the state in which she/he will practice; generally from within the congregation, but may choose from outside to increase confidentiality
Type of experience less important than personal faith and warm, caring presence
7. Offer initial education
The nurse should attend an INPRC-sponsored parish nurse/faith community nurse preparation course.
8. Introduce the new parish nurse
Commissioning at all worship services. On-going visibility is helpful to develop and sustain the role.
9. Clarify expectations of the parish nurse
A position description is necessary - regardless if the individual is a paid or unpaid staff member. Consider reimbursement for travel and expenses if a salary is not available. Provide an adequate amount of time, space and equipment to support the program.
10. Encourage spiritual growth, self-care and continuing education for the parish nurse Networking with other parish nurses on a monthly/quarterly basis is helpful through annual symposiums, conferences, workshops - informative and educational