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What is Faith-Community Nursing?

Background on Faith Community Nursing

The changing demographics of aging membership in parishes throughout many dioceses in the country have prompted the growth of a faith-community nursing ministry. This ministry will continue to grow throughout the country and be a vital way that parish leadership cares for its members. Faith community nursing, also commonly referenced today as parish nursing, focuses on health promotion and care within the context of the values, beliefs, and practices of the faith community, family or individual served. It is not limited to elderly members, but to health promotion for the entire community. Since 1998 faith community nursing practice has been officially recognized and guided by standards of the American Nurses Association (ANA).

Many parishes are exploring options to provide holistic bodily care for its membership. Rooted in a theology of the body, this ministry appreciates that spiritual care is connected to bodily care and health. Some parishes are able to hire a registered nurse to serve on their ministry staff, while others organize health care promotion and ministries with existing staff or volunteer parish resources. In many parishes this is possible because of the generous service and commitment of nurses and other interested persons sharing their expertise and gift of leadership in this area.

What does a faith community nurse do?

The faith-based nurse maintains standards of care as demonstrated by the nursing process – assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation – to all members of the parish community.  Often the faith community nurse, because of his or her professional training, is a vital link for families and parishioners with other medical and health care professionals in the community.  As part of the ministerial staff, salaried or volunteer, the nurse often provides direct pastoral care to persons and typically organizes a ministry of health promotion and care in the parish or parish cluster.

Where does one receive training for this ministry and professional practice?

Clarke University is a recognized area leader in nursing care and pastoral ministry training. As a Catholic institution it desires to further support the development of this practice and ministry in service to the local Church. This annual conference is just one opportunity. Click here for more information on how to enroll in a Religious Studies course for $160 during the 2012-2013 academic year to receive 3 CEUs of continuing education. This education opportunity is arranged for ministry and care professionals with the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

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