Budgeting a parsh nursing program

  1. I have been asked to develop a budget for a PN at my church. I want to be inclusive, but realistic. Does anyone have any advice?
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    About southernmimi

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 3


  3. by   tnbutterfly
    Is your church trying to decide whether or not to start a Parish Nurse ministry at your church?
  4. by   southernmimi
    Thanks for replying so quickly. A decision has been made that we need a parish nursing ministry, but are trying to establish what will be needed financially. Since I am the person most familiary with such a program, I have been asked to pull something together. Salary will certainly be the primary budget item, but I don't wnat to leave anything out.
  5. by   tnbutterfly
    Is your church partnering with a hospital for this ministry? Are there other churches in your area with a Parish Nurse ministry?
  6. by   Moogie
    How large of a congregation are you planning to serve? Many parish nurses end up volunteering their time, not because they aren't valued, but because the churches cannot afford to pay them. My husband once served at a large metropolitan church with over 600 members (he was one of the two pastors, both full time) and had three volunteer parish nurses. The first parish nursing program I started was in a church with about 1000 members, small urban/suburban, and I was not paid. Currently my husband serves two rural churches and I'm doing some parish nursing but not to the extent that I did in my previous congregation.

    In my previous church, there was very little room in the budget for many expenditures associated with parish nursing. The church paid for additional liability insurance because of the program and we received donations for equipment such as sphygmomanometers. We had an excellent parish nurse resource at our local hospital, fairly well-funded at the time, so all the churches in the area were able to get some materials that way.

    You are blessed to be asked to develop a budget! Some churches, regardless of size, are unable (or unwilling, as with my previous church) to pay the pastor a living wage, so you are fortunate that your church is even willing to consider giving you a budget. They may or may not pay you. I think that's the biggest barrier to parish nursing---I would, quite frankly, do this full time but have yet to find a church that is willing to pay RN wages (or any wages, for that matter of fact...) Not saying this to discourage you, but you might want to get a ballpark figure from the pastor or the business manager or president of your congregation to see if they're thinking of paying you or not---and take your budget from there.

    One thing for which I think you should ask in your budget is for the church to pay for at least part of the cost of your parish nurse preparation course. When I took it about eight years ago, the cost was around $500. My church did not pay for this but, luckily, I got a scholarship from the hospital that took care of the cost. It was an amazing course, the standardized curriculum offered by the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, and well worth every penny, even if I would have had to pay out of pocket.

    Also find out how many parish nurses your congregation wants/needs. In my first congregation, I was kept busy with my educational efforts and providing social support. I certainly could have used some help but most of the other nurses in the congregation were busy with paying jobs and their families, so I didn't have a lot of folks beating down the door to help with this ministry. In my current congregation, the needs are vastly different; we have some educational programs but not nearly at the same level that the previous church expected. The social supports are much closer here so I'm not doing that as much as I did in my previous church. I find that most of the time I help the pastor with health-related issues and visits to hospitalized parishioners and shut-ins. (As a pastor's wife, I also find that there's the expectation that the minister's spouse does a lot of volunteer work so I am very careful with my boundaries and don't spend as much time in this ministry as I probably could.)

    If you haven't taken the basic preparation course, you will find it very useful in helping you determine an appropriate budget.

    Blessings to you on this journey!
  7. by   netta1977

    I was wondering if you completed your journey to open a parish nurse program. I too have been asked to start a parish program though my hospital. I am unsure how to go about starting the program. I was hoping that if you started up yours would you be willing to offer some advice on how. Questions of the Budget, salaries, start up cost, how many churches are involved, do you have parish nurses or lay counselors, your model. If you wanted to send any information via email, I will give you that as well. Anything that would be of help is much appreciated. Thank you for your help. God Bless
  8. by   southernmimi
    Regarding a budget for a Parish Nursing/Faith Community Nursing program. No, we did not go forward with the program, primarily for financial reasons. We were planning a program through our church, which would have been focused on only our church (which is a fairly large church with large numbers of winter extended visitors). With the current economy, offerings and other financial contributions have decreased. Instead, I am working with one of the associate pastors on a volunteer basis to set up a ministry that we are calling "A Caring Presence." This program will use a small number of selected volunteers to regularly visit members of the congregation after they are discharged from the hospital. Our goals will be to make them aware that the church is there for them, cares about them, and determine if they have needs that the church can handle or refer to community agencies. The associate pastor and I are going to conduct a 1/2 day training session for the group next month.

    Concerning your question about salary for a PN: if the nurse will be actually on the payroll of the hospital, I would budget his/her salary in line with the hospital's salary RNs.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions.