Starting a parish nursing program

  1. I am a member of a growing Lutheran congregation. We have a lot of young famlies in our church (average age: 29) with more children in our Sunday school enrollment than in the local school district. I feel that our church would be ideal for a parish nursing program that focuses on pediatrics.

    We also have at least 15 nurses in our congregation. I would love to start out by setting up a volunteer parish nursing program, with the nurses (myself included) volunteering a little time every week to answer questions for parents and to be available on a phone list for parents.


    1) What are the liability issues for the church? Does the church need liability insurance?

    2) In churches with established programs, does the church provide liability insurance for the nurses, or do they generally pruchase it individually?

    3) The hospital where I work has a parish nurse outreach program. Has anyone had problems with hospital programs working with their church?

    4) Can people recommend a book or two that are good resources for parish nursing?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
  2. Visit mattcastens profile page

    About mattcastens

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 273; Likes: 31


  3. by   khall
    I am a Parish Nurse in my local church. I attending a year long class at a hospital locally beforehand, but that is not mandatory for starting a program in your church. The Lutherans were the first to pioneer the parish nursing specialty. You can set up the program about any way you want to meet the specific needs of your church population. However, PN does not include doing any type of invasive procedures. It is primarily health counseling, screening, and organizing and training various types of volunteers to meet the needs of the congregation.

    Most church insurances cover medical liability only for non-licensed personnel. In other words, nurses must have separate coverage. Only one insuror of churches, Brotherhood Mutual, has an endorsement that is perfect for the PN, and costs very little. Other churches cover their PNs by providing professional liability coverage or requiring the PN to carry their own.

    Several books are available to assist in learning about and setting up a PN program. All of mine are at church right now. The only one I can come up with by memory is by Granger Westberg (the pioneer of PN) and I think it is called Parish Nursing.

    The program I went through does not pay any salary to myself. However, they do employ some of their graduates in community centers. One program in Knoxville, TN, pays all of their graduates full salary their first year after graduation in their church, half salary the next year (the church pays the other half), and then 1/4 (I think) salary the third year. By the fourth year, the church is expected to pay their full salary. I do PN as a volunteer service in my church and work another job.
    Good luck! It can be a big undertaking and sometimes frustrating, but the rewards are wonderful!
  4. by   nightingale

    The concept of parish nursing sounds so important to meet the needs of our community. I have a dream to someday do this. At this point it is only a dream. I do not have an established church and am about to move to a new community.

    Are there grants available from time to time to meet this need? I am sure this vary froms community to community, but have you heard of this? I would be happy to start our volounterring, but would love to make it my lifes work. I have done some work with senior citizen groups with health promotion and other non invasive nursing.

    Any suggestions you provide would be greatly appreciated.
  5. by   khall
    I don't know of any specific grants, but I think it may be possible to do by approaching hospitals in the community and convincing them to search for a grant to fund a PN. Hospitals are becoming more involved in nursing in congregations - where else can you treat the whole family unit and the whole person at the same time?! Another option would be approaching community centers. They may have grants available, chances are you would have to work out of/in the community center not in your congregation, but the support and possibilities for ministry can be tremendous.

    Hope you find a way to fulfill your dream!
  6. by   mompn
    Nightngale1998, ( It is Bonnie right? lol)
    I am a practicing parish nurse in a hospital program and there are grant programs out there. The program at my hospital was started with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Maybe there are others out there who have also heard of this or have gotten grant monies from them.
    Where is the new community you are moving to? I live in the Mid Atlantic and it is still a new concept in many areas and congregations.