Parish nurses focus on the whole person, emphasizing disease prevention, health promotion and healthy spirituality.
Parish nursing and health ministries programs encourage others to become active partners in their personal health. Care centers on the relationship of mind, body and spirit, recognizing that health is not merely the absence of disease. Through this involvement, nurses empower communities and foster an environment of understanding and support.
See a sample job description for a parish nurse.
Parish nurses serve many roles, including:
- Integrator of faith and health.
- Health educator, providing educational programs, health screenings and illness prevention education.
- Health counselor, providing individual health counseling services in the home, long-term care facility or church.
- Health advocate, helping others navigate through healthcare systems.
- Referral agent, finding resources and making referrals to agencies, organizations and support services to improve the member’s quality of life.
- Developer of support groups, organizing groups designed to assist the participants with a specific issue.
- Volunteer coordinator, organizing, recruiting and training volunteers to provide assistance.
Each nurse has the opportunity to evaluate the unique needs of the congregation he or she serves and seek the means to meet them. These community assessments often lead to, but are not limited to the following programs:
- Blood pressure, cholesterol and other health screenings
- Health fairs
- Weight management and fitness programs
- Seminars on health topics
- Wellness information in weekly bulletins
- Support for hospitalized or homebound parish members and their families
- One-on-one health counseling.
Parish Nursing does not involve "hands on" medical care such as giving medications, dressing changes, or drawing blood. Parish nurses do not replace physicians or other primary health care providers.