WHO CAN BE A PARISH NURSE
Any registered nurse with a current license who embraces the concept that spiritual care is an important part of a person’s wellness can serve as a parish nurse. Licensed practical nurses, allied health professionals, and lay persons may serve in this ministry of health and wholeness, under the direction of a registered nurse. Special training in the relationship between faith and health is required.
WHAT DO PARISH NURSES DO?
Parish nurses are usually volunteers in their faith community but some are members of a paid church staff. All work closely with the pastoral staff and under the general direction of a congregational health council. Keeping the parish nurse roles in mind, congregational activities may include the following:
- Integrating faith and health: In all activities of the parish nurse, there is a focus on the intentional care of the spirit. Parish nursing is a ministry or calling. The parish nurse is always looking for ways to integrate faith and health within the belief system of their faith community.
- Health education: Facilitating group classes or individual teaching about health related issues, writing monthly articles for the church newsletter, and maintaining monthly bulletin board displays with health and wellness information.
- Health counseling: Blood pressure screenings; answering individuals’ questions; visiting homes, hospitals, or nursing homes to assess health care needs and provide physical, emotional or spiritual support.
- Referring agent: Referring parishioners to physicians; connecting individuals with congregational and community resources.
- Health advocacy: Facilitating discharge planning for hospitalized parishioners; helping individuals navigate our health care system.
- Training volunteers: Assisting and training lay visitors or those serving on the congregational health council; teaching Sunday school teachers/ushers about CPR, AED, first aid and/or emergency response.
- Developing support groups: Facilitating a widow or widower group; sponsoring regular meetings of people with diabetes or those who have experienced loss.
The activity of the parish nurse is often shaped by the needs of the congregation, the area of expertise of the parish nurse, and the amount of time that the parish nurse works or volunteers.
HOW DO I BECOME A PARISH NURSE?
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