FAQs - Evangelical Lutheran Parish Nurse Association

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 web-site. 

What is a Faith Community Nurse (FCN)?

A FCN is a registered nurse with an active license in the state he/she has or has had a practice, who has taken the Foundations for Faith Community Nurse training to promote and practice Health Ministry. Whereas most health disciplines are trained in our aspect of medical care, FCNs are trained 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.
  FCN's are a recognized specialized practice with the American Nurses Association and work in concert with the Scope and Standards of Practice through the ANA.
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. The ministry of health and wellness can be molded to fit the needs of each individual congregation, influenced by the size of the congregation, the ages of the members, the already established ministries in the church, as well as the local community programs.

Does a Parish Nurse/FCN get paid or is she volunteer?

Parish Nurses can be either a paid or un-paid staff member of the church. Financial demands on the church often influences if a Parish Nurse is paid or un-paid. Parish Nurses are professionals in their ministry and are respected with their knowledge and expertise. The ELPNA does encourage paying Parish Nurses whenever possible..

What are sources of financial support for start-up of a Parish Nurse, Faith Community Nurse or Health Ministry program?

It is common for a health care system to assist in a start up of a parish nurse program in the church. When the Parish Nurse ministry first began, the hospital paid 75% of the nurse’s salary and the church paid for 25%. Each year the hospital went down 25%, until the church was paying 100% of the income. A medical system, such as a hospital or nursing home community may be offering this method of assistance in many areas of the United States.

Examples of Twin City, Minneapolis and St. Paul sources include:

For information about the other 8 Regions,and local areas,  please contact the Regional Directors.. Need to find 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 3-4 grants of up to $500 each year for start up programs.  Check under your ELCA Region or call your Regional Representative for more information.
Click here
to find your Regional Directors.

National grant possibilities include:

Church foundations have often supported start-up costs and salary for Parish Nurses in their congregations.