Because the Lutheran tradition has used the term Parish Nurse more extensively, for now we are continuing to use this term, while recognizing that the term Faith Community Nurse is becoming more widely used. We will use both Parish Nurse and Faith Community Nurse interchangeably in this website.
A FCN is a registered nurse with an active license in the state he/she has or has had a practice, who has taken an educational course, such as a Foundations for Faith Community Nurse course. FCNs are educated to nurture the whole person — body, mind and spirit. FCNs work in partnership with pastors, churches, hospitals, social service agencies, and the community. FCNs focus on prevention, wholeness, and wellness. In many communities of faith, the FCN is the Health Ministry team leader.
Faith community Nursing is a recognized nursing specialty practice, working in concert with the current ANA Nursing Standards, Code of Ethics for Nurses, and Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice.
In addition, an ELCA Parish Nurse/FCN endorses and promotes the theological definition of the ELCA.
Why would a church need a Parish Nurse/FCN?
A Parish Nurse/FCN Ministry is unique because it serves all members of the church community. God came, "that we might have life and have it abundantly." Parish Nurse/FCN helps promote abundant life through spiritual, physical, and emotional/behavioral well being, which is also known as wholistic health.
Parish Nurses can be either a paid or un-paid professional. ELPNA does encourage paying Parish Nurses whenever possible. The church can support the unpaid parish nurse through paying for gas mileage for visits, membership dues for the ELPNA, helping to buy equipment like blood pressure cuffs, locked file cabinet for records, office space, and liability insurance.
There are some health care systems that will assist in the start up of a parish nurse or health ministry program in the church. A medical system, hospital, or continuing care community may be offering this method of assistance in many areas of the United States.
For information about your Region, and local areas, please contact your Regional Directors. If you are not sure of your Region, click on "Find your Region" on the top of this page, right side. Some of the Regions have funds that might be able to be tapped for a small contribution toward start up funds.
Grants are another method of starting up a Parish Nurse program in a church community Region 3 awards 2-3 grants of up to $500 each year for start up programs. Check under your ELCA Region or call your Regional Representative for more information.
National grant possibilities include:
Church foundations have often supported start-up costs and salary for Parish Nurses in their congregations.