What is a Parish Nurse (Faith Community Nurse)?
A Parish Nurse (Faith Community Nurse) is an experienced registered nurse who has completed parish nurse training through schools that have adopted the International Parish Nurse Resource Center curriculum.
Blending faith with nursing, the Parish Nurse ministers through a faith community to individuals and families. The Parish Nurse holds the spiritual dimension to be central to the ministry, which encompasses the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. Following foundational principles, the program is customized to meet the needs of individual faith communities. The parish nurse concept can be applied to non-faith communities as well.
What are the Roles of a Parish Nurse?
- Integrator of faith and health
Health is a holistic way of living that embraces life in its fullness, including the pursuit of a healthy spiritual life and connection to God and God’s people.
- Health educator
Provides health education and opportunities for a congregation to learn about health issues, individually and in groups.
- Health counselor
Discusses health concerns, emphasizing early response to small problems and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes.
- Referral advisor
Provides referrals to healthcare and social services within the community upon request from a parishioner.
- Health advocate
Helps members of the congregation or community obtain needed health-related services.
- Developer of support groups
Facilitates the development of support groups for the faith community and others served.
Source: The Essential Parish Nurse ABC’s for Congregational Health Ministry, by Deborah L. Patterson
Carolyn Klaver, RN