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Parish Nursing/Faith Community Nursing

Academics / Departments & Programs / Nursing / Parish Nursing/Faith Community Nursing

A parish/faith community nurse is a licensed registered nurse who ministers to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a congregation.

Make a difference within a faith community

Parish/faith community nursing is an opportunity to serve God in a faith-based setting by caring for members and neighbors. Parish/Faith community nurses focus on the promotion of health within the context of the beliefs, values, and practices of a particular congregation.

The mission and ministry is to meet the unique needs of the members and friends 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, independent, and determined after a survey of member/friends to determines the unique healthcare needs of a congregation/faith community.

  • Integrator of Faith and Health is the key focus of ministry through visits in home, hospital, and nursing homes, promoting an understanding of faith and health's relationship.
  • Health Educator—Providing health information on bulletin boards, in newsletters, and in classes
  • Personal Health Counselor—Discussing 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, 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, and 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.


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Katherine Kunnen

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