Eight Advocacy Roles for Parish Nurses
In May 2003, the Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that nearly one-fourth of all American children and working age adults did not have health insurance coverage during at least part of the year. Individual congregations can help address this problem with access to health care and other health related issues by partnering with a parish nurse who serves as a health advocate for the congregation.
A mission statement developed in 2002 at the International Parish Nurse Symposium states that "parish nursing is the intentional integration of the practice of faith with the practice of nursing so that people can achieve wholeness in, with, and through the community of faith in which parish nurses serve".
Services that parish nurses provide to the congregation and the community include health education, health assessment, advocacy, resource referral, coordination of volunteers, and development of support groups. The parish nurse usually has a wide area of practice, responding to the vast needs of the congregation and community. Advocacy is a very important piece of that response.
There are many ways the parish nurse serves as an advocate.
- Help to obtain access to care
- Serve as a health navigator
- Serve as a patient advocate in the healthcare system
- Work to acquire needed services in a community
- Mobilize for the health of neighbors
- Raise awareness of legislative issues related to health
- Advocate for environmental health concerns
- Work for others in developing countries