What is Faith Community Nursing?
Parish Nursing was developed by a Lutheran minister, Dr. Granger Westberg in the early 1980s. He recognized the church has promoted health and wholeness for centuries through worship, music, sharing and caring and that it is the only human institution in our society that interacts with individuals from birth through death. A Faith Community/Parish Nurse’s presence promotes an intentional health ministry. Faith Community Nursing is a nursing specialty with its own scope and standards of practice.
What is a Faith Community Nurse?
A Faith Community Nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who has had educational preparation in wholistic ministry and who provides special health promotion services within a given faith community. She/he assists individuals in gaining optimal mental, physical and spiritual health by complementing the ministry provided by the Pastor(s) and other lay ministers. They may function in paid and unpaid positions as members of the pastoral team in a variety of religious faiths, cultures, and countries. The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of the faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. Faith Community Nurses perform different services, based on the congregation’s needs. Some of the services/programs might include:
- Screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, glaucoma and overall fitness
- Classes for all age groups offered on health related issues (e.g., advance directives, nutrition, exercise, parenting, elderly parents care, stress management, CPR)
- Hospital, nursing home and home visits for assessment of health care needs
- Special prayer and healing services
- Referrals to appropriate community resources
- Health tips via newsletter, bulletin or informational board
Shenandoah University’s Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing is proud to support the role of Faith Community Nurses in our community through our innovative programs:
- Foundations of Faith Community Nurse Course
- Advanced Preparation Course for Faith Community Nurse Coordinators and Managers.
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pioneers In Parish Nursing
The founders and trailblazers for Shenandoah University’s Faith Community Nursing program offer insight into the program’s rich history and how its blend of spirituality and health care continues to serve important role to people of all faiths.
What does a Faith Community Nurse (FCN) do?
The role of the Faith Community Nurse varies based on the size and identified needs of the congregation. The role of the FCN can include:
Health Education which promotes an atmosphere where individuals of all ages, through a variety of educational activities, can explore the relationship between values, attitudes, lifestyle, faith and health.
Personal Health Counseling to discuss health issues and problems with individuals. Makes home, hospital and nursing home visits as needed.
Makes Referrals to other congregational resources as well as those found in the community at large.
Coordinates Volunteers by recruiting and coordinating resources within the congregation to serve in various health ministries.
Develops Support Groups for members of the faith community and people from the external community.
Advocate for Healthy Living by working with the client, faith community and primary health resources to provide what is in the best interest of the client from a whole person perspective.
Helps Congregants to Understand Connection of Faith and Health in all activities and contacts, the faith community nurse seeks to promote the understanding of the relationship between faith and health.
A Faith Community Nurse serves as a bridge to better HEALTH in the following roles:
- H ealth counselor and promoter (provides screening clinics or health fairs)
- E ducator of wholistic health (seeks to promote understanding of the relationship between lifestyle, attitudes, faith and well-being)
- A dvocate/resource/referral agent (answers questions related to health and care)
- L iaison with community services (refers individuals to appropriate community agencies)
- T eacher of volunteer/support groups (educates on health and wellness topics and supports volunteers)
- H ealer of spirit, mind and body (serves as a member of the church staff, and in partnership with the pastor(s), meets the wholistic healing mission of the church).
A Faith Community Nurse does NOT:
- Provide hands on care (the FCN makes referrals to Home Health or other community agency to provide direct care).
- Replace the other active ministries already present within a congregation; rather complements the work of the clergy and ministerial team.
Faith Community Nurse Helpful Resources
Shenandoah University, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, Faith Community Nurse Certificate Program, for information, contact the Faith Community Nurse Education Coordinator, Lorie Henley, RN, BSN, MSEd at email@example.com.
Health Ministries Association is recognized as the only national professional membership organization for Faith Community Nurses. Find out more about Health Ministries Association
Nurses Christian Fellowship is an organization which supports nurses in integrating their Christian faith with their nursing practice. Find out more about Nurses Christian Fellowship
Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing is a ministry of Church Health. For more information visit https://westberginstitute.org/faith-community-nursing/
Foundations of Faith Community Nurse Course
Note: This course curriculum is currently under revision by the Westburg Institute. We anticipate offering the course in late March through June 2019.
The Foundations Course – This training specifically designed for health ministry is necessary to understand the focus and tasks of the ministry. The Foundations Course is a 40 hour course focusing on the entry-level knowledge necessary for FCN practice. This course is a blended format with classroom and online work to complete the requirements for CE. Its sections include spirituality, professionalism, wholistic health, and community. This Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Curriculum course is based on the curriculum developed through the Westberg Institute. This curriculum was developed in 2014 through the Westberg Institute, a ministry of Church Health in Memphis, TN. This course is offered at Shenandoah University as well as other sites across the nation. For more information, visit http://www.westberginstitute.org/foundations-of-faith-community-nursing-curriculum/
At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:
- Embrace the integration of faith and health as central to the Faith Community Nurse role
- Demonstrate knowledge, attitude, and skills to practice as a novice Faith Community Nurse
- Identify a network for continuing development and support
- Commit to continued spiritual formation to more effectively understand and carry out the Faith
- Community Nurse role
This is a Hybrid/Online offering. The program is composed of two face-to-face sessions (one in February – and one in April). The rest of the course will be completed Online. Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Functions of the Faith Community Nurse
- Wholistic Healing and the Connection of Faith and Health
- Functioning on a Ministerial Team
- Spiritual Caregiving
- Ethical and Legal Considerations for Faith Community Nurses
- Beginning a Successful Faith Community Nurse Ministry
The Course includes time for worship and reflection to promote spiritual growth.
To register for this course with Shenandoah University, please forward the following forms to Lorie Henley, Faith Community Nurse Education Coordinator by email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Lorie Henley, FCN Education Coordinator at Shenandoah University, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, Faith Community Nurse Certificate Program, 1460 University Dr., Winchester, VA 22601.
- Application for Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course
- Visiting Student Registration Information Form
- Clergy Reference Form for Foundations of Faith Community Nursing
- Information for Clergy – Common Questions for Clergy
- Computer Specifications for the Foundations Faith Community Nurse Blended (or Hybrid Course)
Refund Policy for FCN Blended Online Course—Effective July 2017:
- If the FCN Participant drops the course prior to the start date of the course, tuition is fully refunded.
- If the FCN Participant attends the opening class, but does not begin or complete the 1st module work, the FCN Participant will be assessed a $50 fee for food, manual, and/or supplies and will be refunded the remaining amount of tuition charged.
- If the FCN Participant cannot complete the course requirements due to extenuating circumstances, the Faith Community Nurse Education Coordinator should be notified immediately. The Shenandoah FCN Coordinator will notify the Nurse/Agency of the participant’s status. If no attempt is made to complete the course work, there will be no refund, no certificate, and no CE’s provided by Shenandoah University.
Advanced Preparation Course for Faith Community Nurse Coordinators and Managers
Note: This course curriculum is currently under revision by the Westburg Institute. We anticipate offering the course in the Spring of 2019.
The Advance Preparation Course for Coordinators and Managers – The Coordinator’s curriculum for FCNs in leadership and management positions for organizations and networks managing FCNs in various practice areas. Leadership, funding, communications and documentation are but a few of the included topics. The course is based on the 2012 curriculum developed through the Westberg Institute, a ministry of the Church Health Center of Memphis TN. The Advance Preparation Course for FCN Coordinators and Managers is offered at Shenandoah University as well as other sites across the nation, this course is 26 hours with CE credit. For other offerings: https://westberginstitute.org/calendar-list-view/
After the course, participants will be able to demonstrate:
- Knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to serve as a FCN coordinator
- Spiritual leadership
- Explain the importance of collaboration with other professionals who contribute to FCN practice
- Skills in nurturing ongoing spiritual formation for the FCN and themselves.
Curriculum Topics Include
- Functions of the Faith Community Nurse
- Role of the FCN coordinator
- Self-care for the FCN coordinator
- Working with different religious traditions
- Working with churches
- Current issues in health care
- Securing philanthropic grant support
- Infrastructure for FCN programs
- Human resource management
- Orientation of the FCN
- Documentation systems
- Program planning and development
- Creation of a mission and vision
- Planning for ongoing development of the FCN: professionally and spiritually
- Daily devotions led by participants and a dedication service on the final morning of the course.
Please forward the following forms to Lorie Henley, FCN Education Coordinator by email email@example.com or mail to Lorie Henley, FCN Education Coordinator at Shenandoah University, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, FCN Certificate Program, 1460 University Dr., Winchester, VA 22601.
The FCN Education Coordinator is Lorie Henley. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or to register for Shenandoah University’s FCN courses.
Why consider becoming a Faith Community Nurse?
There are several reasons to consider Faith Community Nursing:
- Provides an opportunity for a nurse to combine faith with health promotion.
- Offers opportunity and permission to address spiritual care for individuals.
- Formalizes the role of a nurse in a church to an educated Faith Community Nurse.
- Provides a known and trusted resource for health in the faith-based congregation.
- Allows a nurse to work full- or part-time in one nurse position while offering the opportunity to also work as a part-time FCN – either paid or unpaid
- Provides an additional community resource for patients after hospitalization
- It is a wonderful ministry!