EXCELLENT Resources for Parish Nursing

by VickyRN VickyRN, MSN, DNP, RN

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Faith-based nursing = parish nursing = congregational nursing pra

EXCELLENT Resources for Parish Nursing


Faith-based nursing practice is also known as parish or congregational nursing practice. Regardless of the name used by a faith community to identify the nurse who serves on its ministry staff, the nurse and the practice are guided by the Scope and Standards of Parish Nursing Practice published by the American Nurses Association (ANA) . The American Nurses Association is the recognized professional organization for nurses in the United States. ANA sets universal standard for nursing care and professional performance common to all nurses engaged in clinical practice - Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice (1991). Based on the generic standards, the American Nurses Association recognizes specialty nursing practice by identifying the specialty and delineating its unique scope and standards of practice. The Scope and Standards of Parish Nursing Practice were developed from the generic standards in cooperation with the Health Ministries Association, Inc., adopted and officially recognized by the ANA in 1998.

Faith-based nursing practice is an independent practice of professional nursing. It is defined by the jurisdiction's (Florida) nursing practice act, and focuses on health promotion within the context of the client's (faith community, family or individual) values, beliefs and faith practices. Based on the Scope and Standards of Parish Nursing Practice, the faith-based nurse maintains standards of care as demonstrated by the nursing process - assessment, diagnosis, planning (outcomes), implementation, and evaluation - to all members of the faith and extended community. And, s/he practices according to the standards of professional performance that describe competencies in a variety of behaviors within the parish nurse role: quality of care, performance appraisal, education, collegiality, ethics, collaboration, research, and resource utilization. Together the standard of care and professional practice define faith-based nursing practice

As part of its mission, Interfaith Health & Wellness Association (IHWA) is committed to providing programming needs for faith-based (parish) nurses in southeastern Florida. Through an assessment of educational needs, offerings will include programs for practicing faith-based (parish) nurses and individuals interested in furthering their understanding of a parish nursing practice. Examples of programming include: the standard curriculum for parish nursing, faith-based nurse networking events, "train the trainer" sessions in preparation for health ministry programs in synagogues, churches and mosques, holistic nursing practice, etc.

Standard Curriculum for Parish Nursing

Programs leading to a certificate in Parish Nursing are offered through partnerships with the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida; the International Parish Nurse Resource Center in St. Louis, Missouri; and IHWA. The standard curriculum for parish nursing is provided in a variety of formats: week-long retreats (summer 2005), modular learning (completing all one-day modules) and/or internet learning.

Interfaith Health & Wellness Association

VickyRN, PhD, RN, is a certified nurse educator (NLN) and certified gerontology nurse (ANCC). Her research interests include: the special health and social needs of the vulnerable older adult population; registered nurse staffing and resident outcomes in intermediate care nursing facilities; and, innovations in avoiding institutionalization of frail elderly clients by providing long-term care services and supports in the community. She is a Professor in a large baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.

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Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Rx for Compassion Fatigue


Compassion fatigue describes the emotional, physical, social and spiritual exhaustion that overtakes a person and causes a pervasive decline in his or her desire, ability and energy to feel and care for others. Such fatigue causes the sufferer to lose the ability to experience satisfaction or joy professionally or personally. Compassion fatigue is not pathological in the sense of mental illness, but is considered a natural behavioral and emotional response that results from helping or desiring to help another person suffering trauma or pain.


Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Faqs in spiritual care: time for spiritual care?

Here are ideas that do not require much time, but can improve spiritual care:
  • Be present. the concept of presence means a self-giving to the other person at the moment. it means being available for that time. presencing also involves listening in a meaningful way and "being there." being where you are in both mind and body also may bring a presence of calmness and peace to the situation.
  • Be watchful. scripture talks about "being watchful" and on guard for christ's return (mk 13:32-27). i think this also applies to spiritual care. although it may be unrealistic to do a thirty-minute spiritual assessment or life review, although these are very helpful tools, we can be alert for cues from our patients. often, spiritual needs are not planned for, but come as a surprise, and we can be watching for them.
  • Enlist help. prayer support is a big part of our lives as nurses. ask christian groups to which you belong to pray for you and your patients. the extra grace can help with setting priorities and making work days flow better. hands-on help, when needed, can come from the pastoral care department. although we shouldn't always call on pastoral care, pastors usually have more time to talk with patients.
  • Be informed. in patricia benner's book, the primacy of caring, she shares a case study of a nurse who was doing interviews with select rheumatoid arthritis patients for a clinical trial for the national institutes of health. the interview questions showed empathy for what it meant to have this disease. she asked key questions that cut to the core of what the patient was feeling because she had knowledge about the disease, how the disease progressed and what it was like to live with the disease. one woman interviewed for the study went away from her interview with hope because she had been understood. in this short encounter, a spiritual need was met.
  • Smile. mother teresa often reminded her sisters to show their joy. she said, "a joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. we may never know all the good a simple smile can do, but we show our love by a smile." mother teresa encouraged her sisters never to let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of christ risen!


Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Parish Nursing is a congregational ministry shaped by Christ's concern for all aspects of the human condition and directed to the service of the whole person. This E-Learning model will enable the congregation-nurse, pastor, and laity-to commit to a wholistic ministry, addressing body, mind, spirit, that contributes to it unique Biblical mission. The distance model will serve you as a nurse in developing a parish nurse ministry in your own church. Similar to on-the-job training, we will ask you to initiate a health and wellness task force and committee, conduct assessments, develop budgets, faith based lesson plans, and other projects. This E-Learning program provides guidelines as to how a parish nurse functions in a congregational setting, where the nurse initiates the program, working with the pastor and congregation. The steps in these modules give clear direction to what we feel must happen in order to build a successful program.


Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Engaging patients with dementia in familiar rituals of faith elicits positive cognitive, behavioral and spiritual responses. What's going on physiologically in alzheimer's and other dementias? Why are spiritual rituals effective, and how do these symbolic acts help?

Liddle Noodnik

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep.. Has 30 years experience. 4 Articles; 3,789 Posts

Used to take care of a lady in a nursing home who was really "out there", had just about no concept of reality - unless you took her to her bible, religious literature, religious pictures and artifacts - and her face would light right up.

I am interested in working in a pregnancy clinic near me that helps moms make informed decisions about abortion, hopefully deciding for life. They are trying to get an ultrasound machine in there too.

God bless you!


Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

NCF began in the early 1940's when small groups of christian nurses in several cities began meeting to pray and support each other. They began reaching out to colleagues and to nursing students on clinical rotations in their hospitals. These groups eventually joined together, and became a national ministry of intervarsity christian fellowship in 1948. We continue to encourage students, faculty and nurses to explore and connect christian faith and nursing, and provide resources that help nurses practice nursing from a christian



Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Community disaster strains all of the resources - the human, spiritual and the economic - of a community. Church leaders find themselves coping with a traumatic event while struggling with its impact on their church and church members, their lives, their families and their friends. This is a time when the church must be the refuge - the safety net for the congregational community of believers, and a beacon to the wider community, for often the it is the spiritual losses that people first feel and express. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, when the day is most bleak, questions about hope and meaning are the most immediate questions, and the loss of hope and faith elicits some of the deepest pain.

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg. 156 Articles; 5,915 Posts

Thanks VickyRN for posting these resources. These are excellent and I'm sure will prove very helpful for Parish Nurses as well as any nurse interested in providing spiritual care or care to those in the faith community.