Faith Community Nursing is a
specialty practice and professional
model of health ministry.
Faith Community Nurses (FCN) (also know as Parish Nurses) are registered nurses prepared to assess the needs of the whole person - psychological, physical, sociological, and spiritual.
Their philosophy is to promote the health of a community by working with the religious leaders and staff to integrate the theological, sociological, physiological, and psychological components of health and healing into the lives of their congregations. Their healthcare focus is on screening & prevention programs and chronic disease management programs that could save millions of dollars.
An FCN facilitates positive lifestyle changes through health assessment, counseling, self-help groups, health education, and referrals to other health care providers and community resources. An FCN is a practitioner who works with people to resolve concerns such as interpersonal relationships, grief, guilt, stress, lifestyle, life changes, spiritual resources, and outlook on life, all of which affect the health status of individuals and families.
Many communities are realizing Faith Community Nurses are valuable, yet underused resources for providing services in clinics and community care centers, especially in under-served areas.
Faith Community Nurses can:
- Help increase access to the medical treatment, prescriptions, and social services people need to stay healthy by providing information about and collaborating with existing community agencies.
- Help decrease the number of uninsured residents going to the emergency room for treatment – unnecessarily taxing that critical work force and pushing healthcare costs higher by collaboration with community resources to improve access to existing non-emergency healthcare.
- Help decrease some of the nearly 80 percent of health care costs spent treating the complications of chronic diseases, many of which are preventable by collaboration with community resources to encourage compliance with existing medical treatment plans.
Faith Community Nursing is a specialty practice and professional model of health ministry distinguished by the following beliefs (IPNRC, 2005, used with permission):
- The Faith Community Nurse (FCN) reclaims the historical roots of health and healing found in many religious traditions focusing on the application of health promotion concepts specific to adults and families.
- Faith Community Nurses do not perform home health care or invasive procedures. Their focus of practice is to collaborate with other community resources to foster new and creative responses to health and wellness concerns. All nursing actions, policies, and procedures must follow Scope and Standards for Parish Nursing, American Nurses Association 2005.
- The FCN understands health to be a dynamic process, which embodies the spiritual, psychological, physical, and social dimension of the person. A sense of well-being can exist in the presence of disease, and healing can exist in the absence of cure.
- The spiritual dimension is central to faith community nursing practice holding that all persons are sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity.
Screening, prevention, and chronic disease management programs utilizing existing community services can save millions of dollars.
Ultimately, through Health Ministries, the health of our neighbors and our communities will be improved as we become more active in the stewardship of personal and community health resources.