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Faith Community Nursing Roles

Faith community nurses function under specific professional standards and a scope of practice developed by the American Nurses Association and the Health Ministries Association. Faith community nurses believe that the spiritual dimension is central to their practice and involves and incorporates it in their following functions. Not all faith community nurses will carry out each of these functions. The faith community nurses, in collaboration with the pastor, parish members and the health and wellness committee, will determine which functions best meet the needs of the parish.

Possible roles include:

IIntegrator of Faith and Health

Promotes an understanding of the relationship of body, mind and spirit and the role of values, attitudes, lifestyle and faith. Examples include:

  • Prayer, presence and active listening
  • Spiritual Assessments
  • Referral to other members of the ministerial team
  • Reframing, encouragement, reassurance
  • Visitation to homes, hospitals and nursing homes

Health Educator

Focuses on a variety of health promotion activities for all ages with the parish. Examples include:

  • Sponsors health fairs
  • Makes health information available in the bulletin and displays
  • Works with other ministries in the parish such as the school, youth groups, women and men’s group to promote health
  • Develops group education programs related to health

Personal Health Counselor

Discusses health issues and concerns with individuals and families. As a health counselor, a parish nurse can help parishioners explore ways to cope more effectively with:

  • Physical problems, emotional struggles and safety concerns
  • Stressful life transitions
  • Referral to appropriate healthcare providers or the healthcare system
  • Assists parishioners in understanding diagnoses, lab results and medications

Referral Advisor

  • Serves as a liaison between parishioners and resources within the parish, community and healthcare system
  • Promotes community supported food shelf services for everyone, such as local food shelves and Fare For All
  • Assists the uninsured and underinsured to available health options
  • Refers parish members to available social support options

Advocacy

Promotes local, state and national endeavors related to health issues such as smoking, pandemic flu preparation, cancer awareness.

  • Participates in parish activities to address social justice issues
  • Accompanies parish members to health and social support systems as an advocate.
  • Reports abuse and neglect issues to the appropriate social service agency
  • Assists with values clarification around important decisions such as end-of-life issues.

Developer of Support Groups

Assesses the needs of various groups within the parish who would benefit from support options. Examples include:

  • Arranges for qualified individuals to facilitate support groups
  • Provides evidence based support groups such as Chronic Disease Management and A Matter of Balance.
  • Facilitates disease specific support groups and grief/loss groups

Facilitator of Volunteers

Recruits, trains and supervises volunteers for various activities within the parish. Examples include:

  • Blood Mobile coordination
  • First Aid Training for Ushers
  • Education for Parish Home Visitor Volunteers
  • Clinics and screenings within the parish