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Faith Community Nursing

Welcome to the resource location for Faith Community/Parish Nursing in the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

Al Jones

Photo from Celebration of Blessing of Hands in May 2016.
From left to right; Back row: Barb Kotsmith, Ellen Ellickson,
Joyce Simones, Marjorie Henkemeyer, Deb Thomalla,
Pat Seavert, Rosemary Weiser. Middle row: Kari Nelson,
Annette Jesh, Chris Jones, Bev Wiehoff, Karen Reinholz.
Front Row: Jan Johnson, Jeanne Dirksen, Kay Sime

What is Faith Community Nursing?

Faith community nursing* is the specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community. It is a part of a broader outreach – health ministry. With parish nursing and a structured health ministry program, the parishioners find connectedness, encouragement, hope and love.

Faith community nursing is an independent practice of professional nursing and is defined by the Minnesota Nurse Practice Act. Faith community nursing focuses on health promotion within the parish as a whole, a family or an individual, based on standards of care and performance outlined by the American Nurses Association.

* Faith community nursing also is known as parish community nursing, or congregational nursing.

What do Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) do?

  • FCNs assess the needs in their own church and some provide home visits for confidential listening, prayer, and referral to community health resources.
  • FCNs go to hospitals and other facilities to provide confidential listening, presence and prayer while discussing health issues related to mind, body, and spirit.
  • FCNs facilitate educational programs and provide materials for individuals or groups to promote a better understanding of the relationship of one’s lifestyle, attitudes and faith to wholeness.

The Faith Community Nurse Partnership

The St. Cloud Hospital, Diocese of Saint Cloud, Health Ministries of Central Minnesota, area churches, service agencies, and faith community nurses are working together to promote health and wellness in Central Minnesota. This partnership assists congregations in establishing and maintaining faith community nurse ministries and supporting all health ministries that promote spiritual, emotional and physical wellness for members of faith communities.

The Faith Community Nurse Partnership Provides:

  • A committee which supports development of faith community nurse ministries in Central Minnesota.
  • Opportunities for networking with other health resources and agencies.
  • A unique relationship between healing communities – the hospital and faith communities.
  • Introduction and orientation of the faith community nurse ministry to congregation leaders.
  • Opportunities for continuing education for pastors, nurses and others concerned with health ministry in congregations.
  • Human resources and education material.
  • Regular meetings for faith community nurses involved in the Central Minnesota Faith Community Nurse Ministry
  • Brochures and media relations support

Group Meetings Information

Central Minnesota Parish Nurse Ministry Committee

All parish nurses are welcome. Speakers come every other month to share information on community resources and networking and sharing by the FCNs present is done monthly.

  • President, Rosemary Weiser, FCN at St. Francis Xavier, Sartell, 320-259-5794
  • Vice-President, Chris Jones, FCN at Riverside Evangelical Church, Sartell (member EPC, Evangelical Presbyterian Church)
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Karen Reinholz, FCN at St. Francis Xavier, Sartell, 320-260-6158

2016 Meeting Dates: September 14, October 12 and November 9. No meeting in December.

Location: St. Cloud Hospital Conference Center, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Minutes From Previous Meetings:

Alexandria Area Parish Nurse Group

Val Trumm & Kathy Fischer meet as needed. Others are welcome to join them.

Recap of Recent Meetings

Celebration of Blessings of Hands

The Central MN Parish Nurse Group Annual Blessing of Hands and Brunch was held on May 11, 2016 to celebrate National Nurses Week for Registered Nurses in the Specialty of Faith Community Nursing. Thanks and Blessings for Bret Reuter, Susan Putzke and Sharon Schlangen and all who planned from the St. Cloud Hospital Department of Spiritual Care & Mission and the Office of Vice President of Operations, Acute Division and Chief Nursing Officer.

Those present shared how they were called to become a Parish/Faith Community Nurse.

  • “I and a friend wanted to find out what it was and went to St. Ben’s College to hear about it before they offered the class and then we took it. My friend takes soup, bread and cookies to those on the Prayer List at her church, she just calls those on the prayer list and offers it and delivers it to them and I became a Parish Nurse at my church”
  • “The Priest begged for a Parish Nurse for three years and I answered the call”
  • "The Pastoral Minister approached me and invited me”
  • “I was on the Health & Wellness Committee and two Parish Nurses at my church asked me to join them in the ministry”
  • “I met with one of the first Parish Nurses, Marge Kalinowski, to hear about parish nursing and then I took the class”
  • “My Pastor asked me to be the Parish Nurse”
  • “I thought I would not have anything to do in retirement and took the class but did not think God had called me and am still doing it”
  • "My Pastor asked me to be the PN and I received a scholarship for the class from my nursing school and took it in 2005 at St. Ben’s”
  • “I took the class after three friends took it and people from my church heard and before I even talked to the Priest they thought I was the new PN and I had not planned to do it then but felt called by the members”
  • “I had a dream about parish nursing and talked to my pastor and he had been praying for a Parish Nurse for three years”

What is your story? Of becoming a Registered Nurse, then a Parish/Faith Community Nurse? How can sharing your story inspire others? When we are employed as a RN we have rewards such a wage, insurance, more educational opportunities, a life of service, etc. Since ours is the only professional practice in nursing that does not generally receive a salary and may or may not be considered a staff position in a church, why do we do it? This leads me to a bigger question and one of extending this ministry after we leave it, carrying on the ministry that can and does contribute so much to our faith communities. A group of us recently called all the PN’s on the PN list we have kept since Parish Nursing started in our area, 20 years ago, to update it. New people have been added and subtracted over those years. We found that many on the list have retired or moved. Some have had others carry on in parish nursing after they left. Many churches are left without someone to carry on the ministry, a void where a lot of special care was taken, by our parish nurses, of their church family. Do you and your church consider a plan to continue the PN Ministry? Are you and they looking to call others to help and continue? Many of our new parish nurses are working women and men, in hospitals, clinics, public health, hospice care, and other specialties for RN’s. They have decided to combine their registered nursing skills with their strong and growing faith. How do we fold new faith community nurses into our church ministry, call RN’s to faith community nursing, start and continue the ministry on?

Future Topic: What does the role of Parish/Faith Community Nurse look like in a paid, staff position?

I have come that you may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10.

Questions?

Email the St. Cloud Hospital Parish Health Ministries Program.