Frequently Asked Questions.

Here you will find Answers to some of the question you may have. Please do not hesitate to go to our contact page for any further question.

Q: What is Faith Community Nursing? +

A: Faith community nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as well as the promotion of whole-person health and the prevention or minimization of illness within the context of a faith community and the wider community.

Q: What is a Faith Community Nurse? +

A: A Faith Community Nurse is a registered professional nurse who is actively licensed in a given state and who serves as a member of the staff of a faith community.

Q: How does one become a Faith Community Nurse +

A: This can be accomplished by taking the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course (formerly Parish Nurse Basic Preparation). Courses are available in many locations throughout the US and in several countries on five continents. Formats for faith community nursing include weekly classes, on-line courses, retreat settings, and combinations of independent study and class work. The Foundations of Faith Community Nursing curriculum is an intensive course built to equip those wishing to either become a faith community nurse in their faith community or strengthen the ministry in which they are already involved.

Q: How does one become a Faith Community Nurse +

A: The three programs within the Tri-State region are:

University of Southern Indiana Continuing Nursing Education

Provides continuing education towards a certificate in Faith Community Nursing and Advanced Parish Nursing.

Vincennes University

Provides continuing education toward a certificate in Faith Community Nursing.

Western KY University

Provides continuing education towards a certificate in Faith Community Nursing and  Advanced Parish Nursing.

Q: Is a FCN a paid position? +

A: Except when located in hospitals, these tend to be volunteer positions; however, some churches do pay for this service and there is a growing trend for a group of churches to hire a parish nurse or faith community nurse. Whatever the arrangement, it is important the faith community nurse or health minister be considered part of the professional team.

Q: What about liability? +

A: Faith community nurses are asked to check with their churches about a liability clause for them in the church’s insurance policy. This has generally turned out to be an easy thing and inexpensive to get done. Also, it is helpful to you to know how volunteers in general, are covered.  It is also recommended that you get personal liability insurance. It is relatively inexpensive.

Q: What record keeping will I need to do? +

A: Documentation is required. Once the FCN establishes a relationship with a client, a simple documentation form is used which includes assessment, diagnosis, strengths, barriers to holistic health and spiritual well-being, plan, and interventions. This information MUST be in a locked cabinet. You are asked to keep a record of services provided. For example, records of those who participate in church education programs and blood pressure screening documentation can be locked in the cabinet. Besides, recording what services you have provided, it gives helpful information to the church council when you are asked to report back.

Q:  How do I know what my faith community would like me to do as the faith community nurse?

A: Since the first step of the nursing process is assessment, determining what health ministry is needed in the church should be thought of as a first step. Personal requests for health ministry, written surveys, check-ins with key members are some ways to determine the framework of your ministry. Knowing the church’s vision/mission is always important as supporting the vision/mission with the health ministry goals helps the overall ministry of the church. Sometimes, what is determined as needed may mean making referrals to those services that already exist outside the church. What is requested may not be possible to provide and may need to be prayerfully put on the back burner. It is recommended that the direction (goals) of the health ministry be reviewed at least yearly or whenever needed.

Q:  What is the difference between a parish nurse and a faith community nurse?

A:The two are one and the same. Faith community nurse is a more inclusive title and reflects the fact that nurses of all faiths and religions are welcomed. Faith Community Nursing also is the phrase used in the Scope and Standards of Practice recognized by the American Nurses Association.

Q:  What is a Health Ministry?

A: A health ministry is a recognized team of people who sponsor regular educational events and experiences that promote well-being. The health team may also provide opportunities for the congregation to have their health concerns answered through surveys, holding regular health team meetings that are open to the congregation, or a Suggestion Box displayed in a prominent place in a common area. Whether you have a formal health ministry or not, your congregation may already have activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle. You may: educate your congregation on health through speakers, maintain a community garden, host an annual health fair; provide opportunities for physical activity, include health messages in your bulletin; have a faith community nurse; provide transportation to the doctor for your elderly members; or have literature posted in a common area on a health issue.

Q:  What does a Faith Community Nurse promote?

A: A Faith Community Nurse promotes health as wholeness of the faith community, its groups, families, and individual members through the practice of nursing as defined by that state’s nurse practice act in the jurisdiction in which the Faith Community Nurse practices and the standards of practice. A faith community nurse does not provide hands on care.

Faith community nurses are usually volunteers in their faith community but some are members of a paid church staff. All work closely with the pastoral staff and under the general direction of a congregational health council. Keeping the faith community nurse roles in mind, congregational activities may include the following:

  • Integrating faith and health: In all activities of the parish nurse, there is a focus on the intentional care of the spirit. Parish nursing is a ministry or calling. The parish nurse is always looking for ways to integrate faith and health within the belief system of their faith community.

  • Health education: Facilitating group classes or individual teaching about health-related issues, writing monthly articles for the church newsletter, and maintaining monthly bulletin board displays with health and wellness information.

  • Health counseling: Blood pressure screenings; answering individuals' questions; visiting homes, hospitals, or nursing homes to assess healthcare needs.

  • Referring agent: Referring parishioners to physicians; connecting individuals with congregational and community resources.

  • Health advocacy: Facilitating discharge planning for hospitalized parishioners; helping individuals navigate our healthcare system.

  • Training volunteers: Assisting and training lay visitors; teaching infection control techniques to nursery workers.

  • Developing support groups: Facilitating a widow or widower group; sponsoring regular meetings of people with diabetes or those who have experienced loss.

The activity of the faith community nurse is often shaped by the needs of the congregation, the area of expertise of the faith community nurse, and the amount of time that the nurse works or volunteers.

Q:  What are some examples of what a nurse might do in her faith community? 

A:

  1. Provide quiet and private space to talk with church members about questions and concerns they have about their health.

 

   2. Pray with individuals.

 

   3. Provide classes on educational needs as expressed by the faith community (i.e. grief, advance               directives, support group formation, healthy eating, how the dark winter months effects our                 emotional health).

 

   4. Act as a leader, role model and coach for healthy life styles:walking groups, community activities,         good self-care.

   5. Provide health screening activities (i.e.:blood pressure checks)

   6. Accompany parishioners to medical appointments.

 

   7. Complete pre and post-surgery visits to provide support and resources to parishioners and                   caregivers.