Did you receive training or are you considering being trained through the Parish Nurse program at Roberts? Is that program associated with a medical facility?
Perhaps the director of that program could meet with the governing board of your church to explain the scope of practice of a Parish Nurse including liability issues, benefits to the parishoners, etc. Perhaps you have already done this.
As far as liabilty goes......there have never been any lawsuits involving Parish Nurses that I am aware of. A couple of years ago I attended a class at the International Parish Nurse Symposium called Legal Issues and the Parish Nurse. The absence of lawsuits was discussed. This, however, does not rule out the need for personal malpractice insurance
. You can get an excellent policy for around $100 per year.
Congregations considering a parish nursing ministry must make decisions about insurance coverage for both the church and for the parish nurse. As a professional working independent of any type of medical facility (which might provide certain insurance coverage), parish nurses working with churches should obtain professional malpractice insurance and be certain that the liability coverage for the church includes the activities contained within the parish nurse scope of practice. Non-coverage of liability and/or personal malpractice insurance coverage could create a serious liability gap for the protection of the Parish Nurse.
Parish Nurse practice must be within the constraints of their state professional nurse license, meaning that the Parish Nurse can function in health education, counseling, hospital visitation, etc. but cannot
perform invasive treatments—injections, medication administration, dressing changes, etc. Parish nurses are not to be involved with anything that needs a medical order to be implemented.
If the parish nurse is working with health ministry volunteers, clear policies and procedures as to what these persons can do and how they are being supervised and supported should be written for the protection of all involved. The church needs to consider these persons and their activies and discuss with their insurance agent how they are or are not covered by the church's insurance policy—i.e. transportation, accidents, falls, etc.—and policies and procedures should be written accordingly.
I applaud your efforts and your desire to start a Parish Nurse ministry in your church. Hopefully, the benefits of this ministry will be realized by the church staff and congregation. Good luck in your endeavors!
Let me know if you have further questions.