Becoming a Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse and the Role
A Different Kind of Nursing
What Is a Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse?
A FCN is a registered nurse with an active license in the state he/she has or has had a practice (or be covered by a licensing compact), who has taken a Faith Community Nurse preparation course 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.
Roles of a Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse
Parish Nurse is an Integrator of Faith and Health, reminding people to care for the body, mind, and spirit. The parish nurse fills many roles within a faith community. These roles may include:
Health Educator, providing programs in all formats from one-on-one to group seminars, encouraging the understanding of the connection between faith and well-being and the needs of the community at large. Educational programs may include all aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Coordinator of care, enlisting, training, and assisting volunteers within the faith community to support members with their health and wellness needs.
Resource person, assisting members in identifying and securing appropriate and available resources that address health and spiritual needs across the health care continuum.
Health advocate and counselor, aiding members in the understanding of health concerns and helping members access appropriate health care within the community. In this role, the parish nurse may assist members with life transforming issues.
Member of the pastoral team, collaborating with the spiritual leaders to provide faith education and worship offerings, comfort and support to members in need, and visitation to members in their homes or in various health care settings.
Westberg's Faith Community Nursing
CentraCare, St. Cloud, MN defines the Parish Nurse role as follows, accompanied by examples of how the role might be evidenced in practice. Used with Permission.
Faith Community Nursing Roles
Faith community nurses function under specific professional standards and a scope of practice developed by the American Nurses Association and the Health Ministries Association. Faith community nurses believe that the spiritual dimension is central to their practice and involves and incorporates it in their following functions. Not all faith community nurses will carry out each of these functions. The faith community nurses, in collaboration with the pastor, parish members and the health and wellness committee, will determine which functions best meet the needs of the parish.
Integrator of Faith and Health
Personal Health Counselor
Developer of Support Groups
Facilitator of Volunteers