What makes a parish nurse different from other nurses? There may be other answers if you ask another parish nurse, but for me it is what draws me, drives me, and wraps around me. I have been a nurse in many familiar and specialized settings, but being a faith community nurse is unique in my experience. When Dr. Westberg started parish nursing in the 1970s, the nurse was called a “Parish Nurse.” It was soon changed to Faith Community Nurse as a specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as well as the promotion of holistic health. Holistic care covers physical, mental, social, environmental, and spiritual needs.
The American Nurse Association and the Health Ministry Association (of which I am a member) regulate the role of a FCN through the Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (2nd ed., 2012). My responsibilities include the following:
- Assess your health needs and provide appropriate interventions to promote health and disease prevention.
- Provide you with opportunities to participate in well-organized, educational programs covering a wide range of wellness and health topics such as diabetes and hypertension.
- Work with individuals, the faith community, and all available resources to provide what is in the best interest of holistic health.
- Match your needs with appropriate and available resources. Follow up with you about the effectiveness and satisfaction of services used.
- Collaborate with congregational volunteers and serve as a clinical resource.
- Develop a Health Cabinet of professional volunteers from the congregation to add their gifts to the Spirit’s work of healing in this space.
- Work with other ministries to meet your needs.
I will be available in the church office for blood pressure screenings and other health needs you might have the first Sunday of each month and every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I can be reached by email at ParishNurse@stphilipstucson.org. I am volunteering my time to serve St. Philip’s.
The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life. Proverbs 15:4
Peace and Wellness.