NEW COURSE IN CT for Parish Nurses! Register by 9/28 for “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing” with Retreat at Mercy by the Sea!

I am thrilled to post about this course being offered for the FIRST time in Connecticut!!

“Foundations of Faith Community Nursing: Promoting Congregational Health, Healing and Wholeness for the 21st Century”

A hybrid online/retreat is offered October 19, 2015­ – December 10, 2015.

Register by Sept. 28th!

Earn 40 Contact Hours and enjoy a retreat at the Mercy By the Sea in Madison, CT from Dec. 9, 2015 9am through Dec. 10, 2015 4pm.sea at sunset

I have to admit that I am envious of those of you who will be attending this course, as I took my “Foundations” course entirely online.  It was an excellent growth and learning experience, but…there was no retreat option in CT at the time!  We are so lucky and I am grateful to have my colleague, Deborah Ringen, MSN, RN-BC, bring this course to us here in CT, through Azusa Pacific University!

Download this flyer for more information and to register for this excellent course by September 28th (that’s this coming Monday).

The following information is taken directly from the flyer:

The Concept: ​ The Parish/Faith Community Nurse (FCN) is a registered nurse who facilitates
the whole­person health of a congregation and in so doing reclaims the healing ministry of the
church or synagogue. Thousands of FCNs practice in congregations of every denomination in
rural, urban and suburban settings across the United States and Canada.

Faith Community Nursing Facts:

● Founded by Granger Westberg in Chicago, IL at Lutheran General Hospital in the 1980’s

● Recognized by the American Nurses Association. Board Certification available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center by portfolio.

● “The Scope and Standards of Practice: Faith Community Nursing” was developed by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Health Ministry Association.

● The ANA defines Faith Community Nursing as the “the practice of a professional nurse that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting wholistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.”

● The FCN responds to suffering in the context of the values, beliefs and practices of a faith community such as a church, congregation, parish, synagogue, temple or mosque.

The Course:​ ​ Using the​ ​ Foundations of Faith Community Nursing 2014 Revision ​ curriculum developed by the International Parish Nurse Resource Center A Ministry of the Church Health Center © 2014 Church Health Center, ​ participants will engage in ​ 7 weeks of online learning (approximately 5 hour per week) followed by a 2 day retreat for an optimum
educational and personal growth experience. Reliable computer access is required.

Participants will learn to apply the nursing process in a leadership role of health ministry in a community of faith. Personal spiritual growth is encouraged. The curriculum is developed from a Judeo­Christian perspective that is respectful and applicable with other faith traditions. The content includes introduction to the four major concepts of faith community nursing: the spiritual dimension, professionalism, wholistic health and community and cultural diversity.

Required Textbooks:
Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Participant Manual ​ 2014 revision​ (Instructions and a code to purchase the manual will be emailed upon enrollment)
ANA (2012). ​ Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of Practice.​ Silver Springs, MD: ANA (Amazon)

Registration Information:

● The ​ course tuition is $590.
Please complete the attached registration form and mail it along with a ​ $295 ​ deposit by Sept. 28, 2015.​ The balance of the tuition is due ​ Oct. 12, 2015​ . Register early!​ ​ Space is limited for the retreat days. Your registration will be confirmed by email upon receipt of the deposit.
● The online course begins October 19, 2015
● Retreat Reservation due by October 19, 2015

California retreat: Dec. 3, 2015 9am through Dec 4, 2015 at 4pm
Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California, 91024
Directions and retreat details will be emailed.
Fees: Overnight single room accommodations including all meals will be $175.
Commuters pay a facility use fee and meal charge of $115. (California retreat fees for overnight and commuter are to be paid directly to APU)

Connecticut retreat: Dec. 9, 2015 9am through Dec. 10, 2015 4pm
Mercy by the Sea, Madison, Connecticut 06443.
Directions and details will be emailed.
Fees: Commuters pay a facility use fee and meal charge of $75 directly to APU.
**Overnight accommodations may be booked with Mercy By the Sea at 203­245­0401.
(The single room rate is $140, double rate is $115. Tell them you are with the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course.)

Accreditation and Contact Hours: ​ Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 2722, for ​ 40 contact hours​ . Students must complete all online course work and attend the full retreat to receive the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing certificate of completion.
● ​ Refunds: ​ Refunds (minus a $25.00 administrative fee) will be issued if requested in writing before ​ September 28, 2015

Instructor:​ ​ Deborah Ringen MSN, RN­-BC Faith Community Nurse, Adjunct Faculty Azusa Pacific University. Questions: 805-­216­-5809

Registration is done by mail or fax.  The registration form is here and due by Sept 28th with a deposit.


Faith Community Nurses On Social Media!

I’m just so excited about health ministry right now, that I have to share it!


As you probably know, I am very passionate about using social media to empower parish/faith community nursing!  Since I wrote these blogs in November 2014, the online world of parish/faith community nursing has transformed! And from where I sit, here at my screen, the sky is the limit for where we go next!

Today, I searched on Facebook for “parish nursing”and “faith community nursing” and I was amazed and SO happy to see many pages, communities, and groups that I did not find in my past searches! I saw our smiling faces in photos of the Westberg Symposium this past week. I saw the many health messages and conversations that our ministries are sharing online.  I saw photos of health ministry events, programs, and community outreach that we are doing.  You can see them too, here (go to the liked by this page section)!

THIS is how we can remain connected with our faith communities and wider communities! We can share our messages of health and wholeness online, and spread the message out through our social networks.

THIS is how we can network with each other to share ideas, resources, successes, and continue to build up the practice of health ministry with best practices!  Did you know an online journal for FCN was launched in the past month?  You can read it here!

THIS is how we can raise awareness of other healthcare providers, faith communities, and the public about what we do!

If you know of a parish/faith community nursing or health ministry social media site, PLEASE share it here…and there, and everywhere!  Use the comments section below.

The more people in a community who can understand a particular fact, method, or story, the likelier it is that those people will be able to work together to make use of those bits of knowledge. ~Clay Shirky

This is an exciting time as our online presence grows and blossoms to reveal the beauty of health ministry to the world through social media channels!  Keep up the great work!


Present at the Health Ministries Association Conference! Deadline for Poster Proposals 4/20!

Have you ever considered presenting a poster or workshop about faith community nursing or health ministry at a conference?

CC 2.0 Licensed photo courtesy Exeter
CC by 2.0 Licensed photo by University of Exeter

Here is your chance!

The Health Ministries Association Conference is this August 31 to September 2 in New Orleans!  The HMA is accepting proposals for posters (until April 20th) and workshops (until March 30th).

CC by 2.0 courtesy John Curran
CC by 2.0 courtesy John Curran

It’s an excellent opportunity to…

  • Share your experiences and expertise in faith community nursing!
  • Connect with people who are just as passionate about health ministry as you are!
  • Receive a voucher to reduce your Conference Registration fee!



View the HMA’s Special E-blast for more information about presenting:Journey to Wholeness: Response. . .Resilience . . .Rituals. . . Recovery


P.S.  I’ll be keynote speaking at this year’s HMA Conference!

“Wednesday: Courtney Holmes, APRN, ANP-BC, RN-BC, WCC, CWS

Courtney is ANCC board certified as a Faith Community Nurse and an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She is the Parish Nurse of First Congregational Church of West Haven, CT, and a nurse practitioner and wound consultant in skilled nursing facilities. She is completing her last semester in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice in the Care of Populations track at Quinnipiac University where her studies focus on faith community nursing (FCN). Her presentation will highlight key concepts in social network and communications theory to enhance understanding of social media’s relevance to health ministry today. She will guide and encourage participants in professional use of social media and inspire listeners to embrace it in their own practice.

CCO public domain photo

CCO public domain photo

United Church of Christ Faith Community Nurse Network

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of faith community nursing leaders through the UCC Faith Community Nurse Network Leadership Team!  We hope to bring our network together online in order to support each other in carrying out the health ministry mission of the UCC.

Facebook Background Photo

I want to share their new online resources with you all and encourage you to spread the word to UCC parish nurses, clergy, or anyone interested in bringing health ministry to their UCC church.

I also encourage you to post online communities for FCNs that you know of, either in the comments section below OR on the CTFCN Facebook page!  This might be regional networks, denominational, hospital based, or local.  There may be someone out there seeking to connect with like minded people who are passionate about health ministry.  Let’s make it easy to connect and help each other!

The mission of the UCC FCN Network is to promote Faith Community Nursing as a visible presence and  to provide a voice for faith community nurses within the United Church of Christ.

The vision of the UCCFCN Network is for Health and wholeness of body, mind, and spirit for all God’s children, compelled by Christ’s healing acts of compassion, love, and grace empowered by the Holy Spirit.

If you’d like to meet others in this network, visit us at the UCC FCN Facebook Page &/or the UCC FCN LinkedIn Group

I look forward to “seeing” you there!

What inspired this ‪Episcopalian nurse to spread ‎Faith Community Nursing‬ to the ‪Jewish‬ faith?

What inspired this ‪Episcopalian nurse to spread Faith Community Nursing‬ to the Jewish‬ faith?

Follow this link to read her story in the New Jersey Jewish News, published yesterday!

First Israel trip inspires Episcopalian nurse | NJJN.

All faith communities can benefit from integrating faith and health. Faith Community Nursing is not just for Christians.

CC 2.0 Courtesy Sean

Interfaith Banner CC 2.0 Courtesy Sean

Are you someone who provides health ministry to people of faiths other than Christian?

Are you someone who would like to?

Let’s connect, so we can help each other! Say hello in the comments section to get started!

Lifestyle is the Medicine: What is the Spoon?

CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators Annual Symposium

CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators Annual Symposium


We hope you will join us!

Please use either one of these forms to register:

2015 Symposium Flyer & Registration Form

2015 Symposium Brochure & Registartion Form

Calling Australian Friends!

A colleague is seeking to connect with other Faith Community/Parish Nurses or those interested in Parish Nursing in Australia.  Please comment if you’d like to connect with her.  Thank you!

The Twelve Apostles  by Fraser Mummery, cc 2.0

The Twelve Apostles by Fraser Mummery, cc 2.0

The Twelve Apostles are a collection of eight miocene limestone rock stacks. Despite the name there has only ever been nine stacks. Taken in Port Campbell National Park, between Princetown and Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. ~Fraser Mummery

Why Leave the Highways and Take the Backroads?

Journey with these inspirational words from “outdoor editorial” writer Hal Borland (1900-1978), compiled by Dan Shine, historian, writer, and photographer.  What spiritual message do you hear or see?

The Abandoned Farm

Leave the main highways, take the back roads, then get out and walk. Up the hillsides you may find the old farms, long since overgrown, cellar holes caved in, barns now a rubble, dooryards occasionally marked by a gnarled old lilac bush. The hayfields and upland pastures are thick with oak and ash and maple, the farm roads are mere traces, gullied and overgrown. Those who lived there worked the land out, grew old, and passed away.

Photography by Dan Shine

Photography by Dan Shine

Often there is the persistent remnant of an orchard, a few old apple trees with frosted little apples like colorful balls on grotesque gray Christmas trees. Ground cedar often grows there, adding green festoons, and pine and cedar form a backdrop. Deer come there for the frosted apples, and foxes for rabbits. Grouse roar in sudden flight at human approach. Jays jeer and chickadees call from the pines. It is a strangely busy and even festive place, deserted though it is.

Photography by Dan Shine

Photography by Dan Shine

Practical people wonder why those forgotten hillside farmers left the valleys. The valley land has deeper soil, better shelter, more water, is easier of access. But when one stands on such a hillside and looks out across the valleys, one comes to at least a glimmer of understanding. There always have been among us those whose eyes need distance and whose minds refuse to see the hills as barriers or the valleys as refuges. Always there have been those who found satisfaction in living a little apart, and for them the easy way never is the happy one. Those farmers are gone, but their human strain lives on, leavening the race, knowing that ease and efficiency are not enough.
-Hal Borland
Nov. 1953

Photography by Dan Shine

Photography by Dan Shine

What do these words & photos say to you?

I can almost feel the moss on my fingers and smell the fallen leaves.  I relate to the people who need a little more space in the vast outdoors.  I relate to the hard work of the farmers and imagine another time.  I feel grateful for the blessing of life during this time with all the amenities of modern life , yet also appreciate the beauty of the world these farmers lived in.  I am reminded that my mind, spirit, and body are nurtured by nature, and this must be a priority to ensure my wholistic health.  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Connecticut Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators

If you are seeking a parish nurse in CT, want to know more about it, or if you are considering to become a parish nurse, please contact us!

We also invite you to meet us and network with many other parish/faith community nurses at our Symposium on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 .

CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators

If you are visiting this site from another state, feel free to share a link or contact info in the comments below to help possible visitors from your state to find you!  =)  We get lots of people here from out of state and other countries!

Everyone Seeking Emergency Shelter in CT Must Call 211

New Homeless Shelter Requirements in CT

New Homeless Shelter Requirements in CT

To print a copy of this flyer for your community, here is the pdf:

CAN211 Community Outreach Flier

Hope and Thanks to All! Plus a Health Ministry GEM…

Hope shines bright on our first week of Advent, even as it falls in the midst of the darkest days of the year and what may be my final blog…at least for the semester.

Licensed photo courtesy Celestine Chua

Licensed photo courtesy Celestine Chua

I have truly enjoyed building this community with you, and I hope to see it continue, even if not at such a rapid pace as it has been.

Sincerely, I thank you all for being a part of this project.  Thank you for following this blog, for commenting, liking, and sharing the content that you have enjoyed!

Licensed photo courtesy woodleywonderworks

Licensed photo courtesy woodleywonderworks

If you have not visited the CTFCN Facebook page yet, consider checking it out, so we can stay in conversation about faith community nursing.  I am much more likely to keep that going with tidbits of information and resources to share as I become immersed in new coursework next semester.  (I can see the light at the end of the tunnel to graduation day in May!)

 I found a gem of an online resource

and some statistics to share (you will like these, I think!)…

CC0 Public Domain

CC0 Public Domain

The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation

This  week, while I was researching documentation systems for faith community nurses, I came across this organization’s website, and I am SO impressed and grateful for what they have put together in their toolkit for faith community nurses!  This is truly a gem of a website for anyone who is doing health ministry because it is jam packed with online resources from multiple reliable sources.

Health Topics

Here you can find practical tools and resources that you can use in your faith and health work. If there are tools that you know of that you’d like access to, please contact us and we will work to obtain those materials so we can include them.

Faith and Health Program Examples

On this page we feature YOUR efforts that are innovative and creative, or that have a well-established track record for effective work.  It doesn’t have to be big and fancy or even well-known.  We’re interested in highlighting projects that are leaning out farther to try to address the root causes of health inequities.

Bulletin Inserts

See below for pages and flyers with health information that can be added to your congregation’s bulletins and newsletters

Assessment Tools

Assessing what the needs and gifts of your congregation and community are and discerning how to move forward is one of the key steps for starting a health program.  Below are some tools and templates that you can use.

Located in Illinois, this collaborative can serve as a model for other communities with similar vision.

What We Do

The Center’s mission is to advance health equity by building community, nurturing leaders and connecting with the unique spirit power of faith communities to promote social justice and abundant life for families, neighborhoods and communities.  We work at this through partnership and use approaches that build off of the strengths and goodness that already reside in communities.  Our Services and Partnerships range from concrete programs to longer-term community engagement processes.

We organize our work around three main areas:


 Consider these statistics through the lens of HOPE…

Licensed photo courtesy Taymaz Valley

Licensed photo courtesy Taymaz Valley

What do these statistics mean to you?

For me, they mean HOPE!

  • Hope for the future of faith community nursing
  • Hope for the future of healthcare
  • And, Hope for the wholeness of our communities

350,000 congregations and only 15,000 parish nurses…that’s a lot of communities lacking the benefit of health ministry!  Imagine if we could reach all 40% of the country’s population with faith community nursing!  What impact could it have on the country’s health?

Through continued perseverance and dedication to our specialty, we can work together to expand and elevate the practice to see the day when there is a faith community nurse in every faith community…who is paid!  Let’s continue to spread the word and plant the seed in nurses and faith communities (of ALL faiths!) about the benefits of this ministry for both the nurse and the community!

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

For now, we fulfill our callings with a firm foundation of faith, hope, and love as we serve our communities.

Pete Seeger singing Garden Song written by David Mallett in 1975


Motivational Interviewing for Behavior Change

As faith community nurses, we are in an ideal role to assist people with behavior change toward wholistic health using motivational interviewing.

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

One of the services most of us offer our faith communities is blood pressure screening, but you and I both know that this is much more than a screening.  It’s also an opportunity for health education and counseling for lifestyle change.  We raise awareness to the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, quitting smoking, and alcohol limitation for maintaining a normal blood pressure.

When someone comes to us and discovers, unbeknownst to them, that they have high blood pressure, they may be ready to change their behaviors to help themselves, and we can be right there with them all along the way.

Are you ready to coach them along?  Rather than wing it, it’s helpful to educate ourselves on how to do this.

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Did you know that it is more effective to help people change behavior if you use an approach based in the Transtheoretical Model of Change, along with motivational interviewing?  This is the recommendation of the JNC7 (2004).

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

So, what is the Transtheoretical Model of Change and how do I provide motivational interviewing?

I have to admit…I’m a change theory nerd! I find it fascinating and just can’t get enough of it.  (Are there any other fans out there?)  This blog focuses on motivational interviewing, but for those interested, you can read more about the Transtheoretical Model of Change here! This is an example of how the model can be applied to smoking cessation (with diagrams of model application).

In this video, Dr. Bill Matulich describes the spirit of motivational interviewing (MI) as partnership, acceptance, compassion, and evocation, and he explains the core “OARS” skills for MI.  He helps us understand the four processes of MI using practical examples.

As you listen to him explain these concepts, I think you will agree that we do much of this on a regular basis as faith community nurses.

I’d like to believe that my strategies to help people change behavior are effective most of the time, but the truth is that I really don’t know.  (This is why I am on a mission to improve FCN documentation.)  Imagine how much more effective we can be at helping people change toward wholistic health with continuing education in evidence based approaches!

 Ready for some continuing education on motivational interviewing?

If you obtain CE from any of these, please let us know what you thought of the program in the comments below.

HOPE for the Holidays: A Spiritual Assessment Tool

On the first Sunday of Advent, Christians light the candle of hope.

Licensed photo courtesy  Pleuntje

Licensed photo courtesy Pleuntje

Isaiah 9: 2, 4-7 (NRSV): The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness-on them light has shined…For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.  For all the boots of the tramping warrior and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and  he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.  He will establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The lighting of the hope candle on the first week of advent represents the hope that Christians have in Jesus.  Similarly, perhaps, our use of the HOPE spiritual assessment tool represents our hope for spiritual well-being and wholistic health of our parishioners.

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

“HOPE” is an appropriate name for a spiritual assessment tool, as spiritual care is often focused on finding hope for one’s life life that may have been lost in the midst of uncertainty, change, and ill health.  In our darkest times of suffering physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we all need hope for a brighter day.

By Patche99z (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Patche99z (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spirituality “is not an intellectual belief, but an actual experience.” ~Florence Nightingale, 1860 (Macrae, 2001, p.21, as cited in Hickman, 2006).

What is the HOPE spiritual assessment tool?

Developed by Anandarajah & Hight (2001), HOPE is a formal spiritual assessment tool that facilitates inclusion of spiritual assessment in a medical encounter.  The questions are open ended and do not use the words “spirituality” or “religion,” in order to avoid any language based barriers to discussion of spiritual resources and concerns.

H—sources of hope, strength, comfort, meaning, peace, love and connection;

O—the role of organized religion for the patient;

P—personal spirituality and practices;

E—effects on medical care and end-of-life decisions.

(Anandarajah & Hight, 2001)

Suggested questions to administer the HOPE assessment tool are listed in Table 4 of the original article where HOPE was first published in the American Family Physician: click here to read the article.

For a downloadable pdf of the HOPE assessment tool and some of the related questions, click here.

Hefner (2008) compares the HOPE assessment tool with “Spiritual Assessment in Aging: A Framework for Clinicians”, suggests spiritual care interventions, lists “Select Statements from the Committee on Accrediting Medical Hospitals (CAMH) and the Joint Commission on Accrediting Health Organizations(JCAHO) on Spiritual Assessment and Accreditation” that you may find helpful for promoting your practice as a faith community nurse, and provides the reader with her preferred spiritual assessment tools in the appendix (click to read Hefner’s essay), including:

  • Spiritual Assessment Scale by Gallo
  • The HOPE Approach to Spiritual Assessment by G. Anandarajah and Hight
  • Spiritual Assessment in Aging: A Framework for Clinicians by Nelson-Becker, et al.
  • Spiritual Assessment Protocol by Ortiz and Langer
  • Assessing a Patient’s Spiritual needs: A Comprehensive Instrument by Galek
photo in public domain

photo in public domain

What nursing diagnoses are related to spirituality?

Hickman (2006) lists three diagnoses approved by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA).  Click on the following nursing diagnoses for a definition, related Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC), and evidence based related Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC).

  1. Spiritual distress
  2. Risk for spiritual distress
  3. Readiness for enhanced spiritual well-being. (downloadable power point slides)

Do you have a favorite spiritual assessment tool that has worked for you? Please share in the comments.

Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
         And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
      And on the strangest sea;         
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.

Loving the Vulnerable on Thanksgiving

What vulnerable populations come to your mind on Thanksgiving?

The first one that comes to mind is homeless people.  We concentrate our efforts on food drives and serving Thanksgiving dinners to meet their needs.  We also might run coat and mitten drives to help keep them warm.  Here, in New Haven, CT, young people coordinated a blanket drive for the homeless!  We do all of this so these people feel cared for by their community…not forgotten and loved by someone.

But there are others who are vulnerable in body, mind, and spirit, especially during the holiday season, who are also in need of our care, love, and concern.  I think of Native Americans, people who are grieving the loss of loved ones, socially isolated, the unemployed and underemployed, diabetics, obese and overweight people, and older adults.  Are there others that come to your mind?

There are many ways that we can meet the needs of vulnerable people in our communities, and there are many resources out there to help us do that.  I will share some here, and please share anything that you do or resources that you know of in the comments below.

Keep reading for more on how to love the vulnerable on Thanksgiving!

Licensed photo courtesy Sharon

Licensed photo courtesy Sharon

Native Americans

A list of Native American Community Health Resources is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.

The Native American Cancer Education for Survivors uses a unique “Quality of Life Tree” to share information and resources for Native American’s with cancer about “major quality of life areas, Spirituality, Communication, Treatment, Clinical trials, Health Information, Treatment side effects, More health problems (also called “co-morbidities” (diabetes and cancer; arthritis and cancer), and Help & Support”.

See article below on Educating Vulnerable Populations About Diabetes.

Grieving the Loss of Loved Ones

GriefShare, a ministry of Church Initiative, helps people survive the holidays with local support groups (I found two in CT this December.), many articles online about healing, and a daily email service (free).  Church Initiative also ministers to the unique needs of divorced people during the holidays through DivorceCare.

Thanksgiving Woes: Anxiety, Depression by U.S. News and World Report discusses this topic; you are not alone!

WebMD provides 25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays with some down to earth and practical suggestions that you can use in your day to day life.

 Socially Isolated

The AARP Foundation strives to reconnect those in social isolation with education and research on the health effects of social isolation, and programs to reduce isolation.

Does your church offer support groups or special healing services for grief during the holidays?

Diabetics, Obese, & Overweight

Educating Vulnerable Populations About Diabetes provides strategies to over come barriers to care.

…diabetes health risks were not created equally, as the disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities…

But truly educating vulnerable groups is not as easy as handing a patient a brochure and shuffling them out the door. These groups face a number of barriers that can prevent them from getting the care and treatment that they need, so practitioners should take a multi-pronged approach when it comes to diabetes education.

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Diabetes from a Parish Nurse Perspective and Keeping It Healthy on Thanksgiving share my thoughts and resources for these populations.

Homeless, Unemployed, Underemployed, & Low Income

Greater New Haven Holiday Cheer posts current ways to help others such as active Food Drives, Toy Drives, Meals, Fundraisers, Coat Drives, and Boot Drives.  You can share your event with them and it will be listed too.

Platform to Employment, developed by The WorkPlace, provides a 5 week program for CT long term unemployed people that includes “skills assessment, career readiness workshops, employee assistance programs, coaching and more.”

Platform to Employment (P2E) helps the long-term unemployed return to work and Connecticut employers address the need to find skilled workers. P2E will be offered statewide in Connecticut with classes held in Bridgeport, Waterbury, New Haven, Hartford and the Norwich/New London areas.

211 is the ULTIMATE of all health and human services resources in CT from the United Way of CT! A list of shelters is here, and warming centers will be posted here.

United Way 2-1-1 is your one-stop connection to the local services you need, from utility assistance, food, housing, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention and much more. 2-1-1 is always ready to assist you find the help you need. Dial 2-1-1 or search online.

Older Adults

The CT Association of Area Agencies on Aging

The five Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in CT are private, not-for-profit corporations established in CT in 1974 to provide leadership and resources to meet the needs of the rapidly growing elderly population.  The CT Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A) is a professional affiliation comprised of all five AAAs.

Area Agencies on Aging administer programs and services for frail elderly and caregivers.
1. Statewide Respite Care Program
2. National Family Caregiver Support Program
3. CHOICES Program (Information and Assistance)
4. CT Home Care Program for Elders (SWCAA and AASCC only)
5. Aging Resource Centers
6. Private care management is provided by some AAAs

In addition to these resources, the AOA also offers funding for programs that support older adults.  Currently the AOA of South Central CT offers monthly mini grants up to $5000 per grant.  This might be a way for you to fund a program geared toward older adults in your faith community.

Who Else is Vulnerable During the Holidays?

Besides these especially vulnerable people who come to my mind on Thanksgiving, I think of two othersYou and I!  None of us are impermeable to the stress, expectations, and memories of loss during the holidays, so it is important that we take the time to care for ourselves and to care for each other…to love each other.

Licensed photo courtesy  Johan Hansson

Licensed photo courtesy Johan Hansson

I read an article this week in American Nurse Today, “Synchronicity: Meeting Mother Teresa,” where Mother Teresa offers sage advice to the author, that I believe is most important for us to heed around our Thanksgiving tables.

“Look around. Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you know what your neighbor needs?” she asked. “You aren’t asked to be kind to everyone, only to those around you. Love is practical and do-able, and always starts with the people nearest to you.”

This Thanksgiving, as you look around your table, take a moment to see the faces and the eyes looking back at you, the human being who is sitting next to or across from you.  Be present in your own self, so you can really be there with your friends and family…and maybe even new friends who are welcomed to eat with you for the first time this year.  Do you know what each person needs?  Is there a practical way that you can show each person kindness and love?

Licensed photo courtesy garlandcannon

Licensed photo courtesy garlandcannon

Showing our love doesn’t always come easy, but I know of at least five ways to try.  In The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman says we communicate our love for others with “Words of Affirmation,” “Acts of Service,” “Receiving Gifts,” “Quality Time,” and “Physical Touch.”  Love isn’t just for lovers, it’s for singles, friends, and parents (of children, teens, and adults). The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children have enriched the way that I love my friends and family through practical advice and examples.

Mother Teresa suggests that to love others, we must first know what they need.  When considered through the lens of the nursing process, this certainly makes sense, doesn’t it? Do you know what you need if someone were to ask you?  How do you experience love from other people?

“Words of affirmation” is a great way to communicate love on Thanksgiving.  I am reminded of Pastor Susan Murtha’s sermon this past Sunday when she suggested a way to share words of appreciation on Thanksgiving.  Her family’s Thanksgiving grace tradition is to place each person’s name under a plate on the table before guests arrive, and when someone sits at that place setting, that person looks under the plate to see whose name they are responsible for that year.  Then, before sharing a meal together, they share words of appreciation with their person.  Each person is given time for personalized love and affection from a loved one, as they say to each other, “I appreciate that you…”  This is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving through love and gratitude for each other!

Do you practice Thanksgiving traditions that make the day meaningful for you? Please share in the comments.

Licensed photo courtesy Dave

Licensed photo courtesy Dave

I’d Like to Be a Faith Community Nurse, Who Do I Contact?

Thinking about becoming a faith community nurse?  Watch “Nursing in the Faith Community” from the Church Health Center YouTube Channel for that extra little bit of inspiration…

When I was inspired to become a parish nurse, I had difficulty locating resources and education to live out my vision.  This is why I have created the CTFCN social media platforms, to help nurses, health professionals, and others walk along the same path with each other in health ministry.  Depending on where you live, you may feel quite alone in this ministry, but rest assured that you are NOT alone.  There are over 15,000 faith community  nurses!  There is more online now than there was when I first began my ministry, but it still seems a bit fragmented and difficult to find all that someone might need to begin and to thrive in faith community nursing.  So, although this blog in particular seems quite boring, it’s actually the culmination of a vision that is very exciting for me!  I hope that you find this blog and the network of CTFCN social media sites helpful!

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Here in Connecticut, you can contact one of our Parish Nurse Coordinators, listed below.


Come to meet us and network with many other parish/faith community nurses at the CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators Symposium on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 (stay tuned for more info!).

CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators

If you are visiting this site from another state, feel free to share a link or contact info in the comments below to help possible visitors from your state to find you!  =)  We get lots of people here from out of state and out of the United States!

Social Media Tour for Faith Community Nurses

So many options, where to even begin?  How about with one question, WHY?

Why would faith community nurses use social media?  I share my thoughts on this subject here, but I’m interested to hear what you think.  The major benefit that I see is…

CCO public domain

CCO public domain

So, let’s move on to  our next question, WHERE?

Below I share some places to explore that I believe will meet your needs as a faith community nurse.  Of course, a few of them are platforms that I created for us (shameless plugs, I know!), but others are not my creations.  Do you think any might be useful for you?  Which one would you rate as the top social media site for faith community nurses?  Let us know if you try some out as a result of reading this blog.

CCO Public domain

CCO Public domain

CCO public domain photo

CCO public domain photo

This is a blog platform for people who like to read, comment on, create and share content, stories, and resources that other faith community nurses might find helpful.  You can use the WordPress Reader to simply discover and read others’ blogs, or…I’m just going to throw this out there…you could create your own blog!  Does anyone already have one? Share with us in the comments, so we can visit.  This blog is created using  Click here to get started making your own!

LinkedIn: Parish Nurse Group

CCO public domain photo

CCO public domain photo

Do you have a LinkedIn account?  If you do, follow the link above to join this private group where some great discussions are already going on about “Best Practices for Connecting Patients to Faith Community Nurses on Discharge,” an online senior caregiver group, a reflection on a blog about regular nurses praying for patients, the Faith Community Nursing International Association, and discussions about many of the blogs that I have shared there.  If you are new to LinkedIn, read this first.

Private group. To request membership, click Join and your request will be reviewed by the group manager.

Parish Nurses are made up of faith-based professional registered nurses who serve their organization in a wholistic manner. This is a new specialty and networking will help the Parish Nurse grow in such service.


CCO public domain photo

CCO public domain photo

This is a link to the CT Faith Community Nurse page that is useful for us to share ideas with each other, and this is a page that I created to serve my own faith community.  I think both are a great way to utilize the power of the internet for our professional and organizational goals.  Do you have a page for your faith community? or for your organization’s FCN ministry?  Facebook also has a “groups” option, but I didn’t see any active discussion groups for FCNs.  Do you  know of any?  Do you want to start one to help us talk to each other more easily?  This article tells us the benefits of FB groups.


Licensed photo courtesy Rosaura Ochoa

Licensed photo courtesy Rosaura Ochoa

This is a link to the CT Faith Community Nurses Twitter handle.  I tweet info, articles, news, photos,videos, and links that I think FCNs would find helpful.  In my opinion, Twitter is a great way to get a pulse on current news and trends, and also to connect with people and organizations that share similar goals as you.  I also have my own personal Twitter handle, do you? Let’s connect!  If you don’t use Twitter yet, read this article on the 5 Misunderstood Great Benefits of Twitter.  One of the coolest, I think, is…

Today, thanks to Twitter, you can find the thoughts of many of the world’s greatest thinkers in art, business, politics, technology – almost any area of human achievement, all at your fingertips. You can see things they’re thinking and saying that never end up in books, nor are they seen or heard anywhere else.


This is a link to the CF Faith Community Nurses Google+ page.  Watch this funny video about Google+ to understand how it works and its potential.  This is the next big thing online, so get ready!


A search for “spiritual care parish nurse” found 204 results, “prayer parish nurse” found 158 results, and “health promotion parish nurse” found 202 results.  There are so many other topics you could search for and find quality content!  There are many channels and individuals creating videos that are helpful to faith community nurses.  I’ll share one here.  Let us know of any jewels you find in the comments below.  These videos could be used for your own learning purposes, shared on Facebook with a page created just for your faith community, or even viewed on a larger screen as a small group of parish nurses or parishioners in order to stimulate discussion.  You could ask someone to record something you do, and then upload it to a channel of your own to share with other FCNs across the globe!

This video on Healing and Wholeness is from Dorothy Mayernik’s YouTube channel.  She is actively creating YouTube videos on a regular basis, so consider subscribing to her channel!  She also has a Google+page!

Last, but NOT least, is Godinterest

By Godinterest (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Godinterest (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, it’s what you may be thinking, an intriguing blend of God and Pinterest!  Created for pinning and sharing visually stimulating  information about God.  I think you will really enjoy this place, and you can share your finds on  Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, as well as like it on Godinterest itself.  Share some with us by tweeting to @CTFCN.

Godinterest is a Virtual Visual Bookmark.

Godinterest lets you organize and share all the Godinteresting things you find on the web. People use our bookmarks to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse bookmarks created by other people. Browsing users bookmarks is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started sign up.

This ends our tour of social media platforms for faith community nurses.  There are others out there, but I chose several popular and fun ones that I thought we all would enjoy!  So, go have fun, explore, and share!  See you out in cyberspace!

CCO public domain photo

CCO public domain photo

Open Your Heart to Gratefulness

Quotes from Brother David Steindl-Rast…

Open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you…

Bowl of beauty by Mark Freeth, licensed

Bowl of beauty by Mark Freeth, licensed

just by your presence…

The Beauty of Old Age by Vinoth Chandar, licensed

The Beauty of Old Age by Vinoth Chandar, licensed

Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.

Ireland by Matthew Bedworth, licensed

Ireland by Matthew Bedworth, licensed

The beauty of nature and humanity is revealed in this TED talk with Louie Schwartzberg. Enjoy and feel grateful for your beautiful life!

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Diabetes from a Parish Nurse Perspective

In the United States in 2014, there are about 29.1million people, or 9.3% of the population living with Diabetes.

This is an important statistic for us to know because it highlights the need for us to help our faith communities celebrate a healthy Thanksgiving.  Even if someone is not a diabetic, it is likely that they will be serving someone at their table on Thanksgiving day who is diabetic.

Licensed photo of Thanksgiving Square Chapel courtesy  John McStravick

Licensed photo of Thanksgiving Square Chapel courtesy John McStravick

Did you know that November is National Diabetes Month? There are plenty of resources out there for you, especially this month when perhaps diabetics need them the most.  With the upcoming holidays, notorious for overindulging and weight gain, our diabetic population is especially at risk to adopt behaviors that increase their HgA1c’s.  Yikes!

How can we help the people with diabetes or prediabetes in our communities stay on track through the holidays, so they can achieve some of the Healthy People 2020 objectives?

Through our trusted relationships, we can support diabetics to choose healthy behaviors that align with their cultural values and faith beliefs.  Here are some resources for you to use in teaching, encouraging, counseling, and empowering the people in your faith community to care for themselves and each other!

Managing Your Diabetes During the Holidays from the CDC

Prepare to manage your diabetes during the holidays. Stay on track by taking medications on schedule and choosing healthy versions of favorite dishes. Remember to plan daily physical activities like walking after meals and dancing at festivities.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators provides 5 flyers

  1. A Diabetes-Friendly Guide to a Healthy Thanksgiving Plate
  2. Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes (2 pages)
    1. Maple Orange Sweet Potato Mash Yum!
    2. Green Beans Amandine Yum!
    3. Tangerine Cranberry Relish Yum!
    4. Basic Crustless Pumpkin Pie Yummy!
  3. Tips for a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Tips for People with Diabetes
  4. Healthy Holiday Eating Contract (great idea!)
Licensed photo courtesy Satya Murthy

Licensed photo courtesy Satya Murthy

Enjoying Thanksgiving with Diabetes from the Joslin Diabetes Center

Thanksgiving can be challenging for people with diabetes who are trying to manage blood glucose levels and weight.  Many traditional Thanksgiving foods are high in fat as well as carbohydrates, but with careful planning, you can make healthy choices that fit into your diabetes meal plan and enjoy this wonderful celebration with friends and family, says Tracey Lucier, R.D., Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center.

Navigating the Thanksgiving Feast from the American Diabetes Association

We all know that food tends to be front and center on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, the majority of people eat well over 2,000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal. Think about it… between the appetizers, rich side dishes, and desserts – the calories can add up quickly, and so can the carbohydrates!

If you have diabetes or are trying to manage your weight, don’t let food stress you out this year. You can still enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and even some dessert (since it’s a special occasion). It just requires a little extra planning and self control on your part. Read on for more tips about how to create a healthy plate this Thanksgiving. We’ll also give you some examples of how to fit in a serving of your favorite holiday treat!

And, here is a video with simple Diabetes Thanksgiving Survival Tips from a real person living with diabetes who has an online community for diabetics at TruthInDiabetes, that you might want to share with your faith community.


Keeping it Healthy on Thanksgiving

Is “healthy Thanksgiving” an oxymoron? or can it be a reality?

It’s all about our choices.

What ingredients are we using when we cook? Is there something healthier that we could swap?

What portion size are we serving ourselves?  What types of food are on our Thanksgiving table to choose from that make eating healthy easy…or more difficult?

Who are we eating with and what are their eating habits?  Do you think we are influenced by the eating habits of those around us?  Lots of questions surrounding this topic!

licensed photo courtesy vxla

licensed photo courtesy vxla

As faith community nurses, people look to us as leaders and role models of healthy living.  Since Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on food, this is a great opportunity for us to suggest healthy eating strategies.

I chose the following websites to give you some ideas for encouraging healthy eating on Thanksgiving (and the upcoming holiday season).  Even if we simply raise awareness to some of the ideas, people may begin to think about changing their unhealthy Thanksgiving habits.

We can make suggestions in our personal health counseling, through a bulletin board display, a Sunday bulletin insert, an email to the congregation, or we can host a healthy cooking gathering in the kitchen of our churches to practice some of these ideas.  In my case, I’m going to post some of these sites to the Facebook page for my church.


10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving

With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

52 Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

This is a quick and dirty list of simply stated things people can do, organized by main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and drinks.  You could easily choose some to post in a bulletin board display or insert.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of delicious (and fat-filled) holiday foods. So how do you enjoy yourself without completely sabotaging your diet? Follow our diet and nutrition tips to cut calories without depriving yourself of a true Thanksgiving feast.

Five Ways to Create a Diabetes Friendly Thanksgiving Table

Ironically, the most food-centric holiday falls during National Diabetes Month every November…Try these tips to create a diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving table.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, Menus, and Cooking Tips

With healthy updates to classic dishes, the Thanksgiving recipes showcased here use high-impact flavors like fresh herbs, spices and seasonal fruits and vegetables to minimize the need for gobs of butter, cream and salt. Some dishes are healthy updates on classic dishes, while others are twists on traditional fare.

For the host, we’ve got menus and planners and budget-friendly wines, as well as new ways to use up all those turkey leftovers…

…If you’re not hosting this year, choose from our selection of healthy sides and scrumptious desserts. You’ll find nearly everything here to enjoy a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.

Make Small Changes for a Healthy Holiday – Makeover Your Holiday Plate with MyPlate

The MyPlate Holiday Makeover infographic provides ideas to help you make great choices. From baking to seasoning, this new resource can show you an easier way to make your meals healthier…
…Join us for our MyPlate’s Holiday Makeover series to find quick and easy tips to get you through office parties, neighborhood potlucks, and family gatherings.  Visit, MyPlate Facebook and @MyPlate on Twitter to find more suggestions and tips to help you get through the holidays.
Click photo to go to page with multiple sizes of this downloadable infographic.
Licensed photo courtesy USDAgov

Licensed photo courtesy USDAgov

Our role as faith community nurses is to help others in the change process.  How can we help? 

This TED talk on behavior change from a social science perspective recommends a tangibile, personalized, and interactive presentation of information framed to make your behavior change efforts effective.  The speaker’s focus is on climate change, but the social science behind the techniques are applicable to all topics.  Among other things, she recommends setting expectations, modeling, and connecting to the values and social norms of your people.

If anyone has stories to share of how they’ve helped others eat healthier, especially during the holidays, please tell us in the comments.

Looking for a spiritual health focus on Thanksgiving?

Read my blog, 3 Sites + 3 Videos on the Health Benefits of Gratitude = My Thanksgiving Gift to You.

Licensed photo courtesy  Julie Jordan Scott

Licensed photo courtesy Julie Jordan Scott

Who are we? Where are we going?

The CT Faith Community Nurse blog was born on October 17, 2014, with the intention of being a resource and connection space for Connecticut faith community nurses and others to support each other in health ministry.

Licensed photo courtesy Hamed Al-Raisi

Licensed photo courtesy Hamed Al-Raisi

I want to share with you that this intention has exceeded my expectations!  I am surprised that in only one month we have connected with communities across the nation and the world, far beyond the geographic boundaries of Connecticut!

I am not certain what this means for our community, so I ask, who are we? and where are we going?  I look to you, this community, for direction. 

Listen to some tunes while you read?  I love this song by The Who, and it just keeps playing in my mind as I write this blog.

Who are we?

There are 467 people who follow this blog via email, WordPress, Facebook, or Twitter

Together, we have viewed this blog 1,896 times with an average this week of 69 views per day.  Most of us are from the United States, but many are from other countries (shocker for me!).

CTFCN WordPress blog stats Nov 21, 2014

CTFCN WordPress blog stats Nov 21, 2014

Our Facebook page has 95 fans and reaches an average of 150 people per day.  Our top post reached 1,051 people.  This exciting online community is wide reaching and only in its infancy!

Number of people reached by country are

2,318 people in the United States,

31 in the United Kingdom,

12 Mexico, 12 Canada, 9 Brazil, 8 Philippines,

then 3 or less reached in Zambia, Australia, Netherlands, Swaziland, India, China, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Thailand, Guinea, Kuwait, Qatar, Barbados, France, Cape Verde, Greece, Jamaica, Nepal, Nicaragua, Italy, Nigeria, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Poland, Slovakia, Pakistan, Austria, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal.

Number of people reached in Connecticut cities are Milford 134, West Haven 116, New Haven 106, Branford 70, Orange 70, Wilton 49, Hamden 41, Shelton 31, East Haven 29, Stamford 28, Fairfield 25, Trumbull 24, Norwalk 23, Guilford 23, North Haven 21, Wallingford 21, Naugatuck 21, Westport 18, Stratford 18, Bridgeport 17, Woodbridge 17, Danbury 13, Meriden 13, Hartford 12, Bethany 12, Ansonia 11, then 10 or less from North Branford, Oxford, Madison, Seymour, & Middletown.

Number of people reached in other cities are Crossett, AR 41, Visalia, CA 34, New York, NY 32, Phoenix, AZ 24, Boston, MA 16, Hot Springs, AR 15, Seattle, WA 14, Little Rock, AR 13, then 10 or less from Atlanta, GA, Monticello, AR, Bronx, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Dallas, TX, Washington DC, Fresno, CA, Burlington, VT, Livingston, NJ, & Conway, AR.

I just threw a bunch of numbers at you!
What does it mean?

The most exciting thing about all of these statistics is that each and every one of the people touched by us now knows that faith community nursing exists! And hopefully they have a little bit of a clue as to what we are about! I don’t know about you, but most nurses and other people that I talk to have NO idea what faith community nursing is.  Maybe you are actually one of those people, and I am so thankful that you have discovered this community!  It’s up to us to promote this beautiful way to practice nursing and health ministry, so it can continue to thrive and grow throughout healthcare!

Thank you for participating in the promotion of faith community nursing! Let’s keep the conversation flowing. Tell other nurses and friends about this community who you think may be interested in health ministry. I’ve tried to include lots of resources and links to help people understand who we are and get started on the path to their own health ministry…and also to help those of us who are not new to faith community nursing as we continue our practice.

What do we like to read about?

The top five most viewed blogs are…

#1  Conference Call: West Africa Ebola Outbreak: Updates for Faith and Community Based Organizations in the United States

#2  Summary of 10/18 CDC Ebola call & Invitation for 10/22 call

#3  Top 10 Reasons to Get Certified as a Faith Community Nurse

#4  9 Strategic CE Courses for Faith Community Nurses

#5  Let’s Talk About Documentation…

So, current top topics are Ebola, certification, education, and documentation.

The top five most viewed Facebook posts are…

You must be logged into Facebook to view these.






 Where are we going? Cast your vote!

This poll is anonymous, unless you leave a comment.

Will you share your voice with us?

I ask this because I realize the singularity of my own voice, especially after seeing who we are.  If you have a helpful message or resource to share with faith community nurses, please contribute a blog to this page.  I will  help you navigate the ropes of WordPress, so don’t let that hold you back!  Also, remember that you can always post to the Facebook page with links or comments of interest to our community to help us help each other.

Let’s multiply and diversify (locations and faiths) our messages to help each other with our ministries in all of the communities that we serve!

The information you provide through this form is only shared with me, Courtney Holmes, and I promise not to share it elsewhere unless you give me express permission to do so.


Health Ministry News November 2014


Get program ideas, rejoice, be inspired, congratulate, and give thanks for health ministry! Be sure to check out Wisconsin…a parish nurse made Madison’s list of Tops Nurses 2014!

How are churches across the nation serving their faith and wider communities?

Here’s a sampling of what’s floating out there on the web this month.

Support your fellow health minister by visiting the websites and commenting on their efforts!


New Nursing Lecturer Tells Her Story

Nikol Hamilton is the new lecturer of nursing for bachelor students. Growing up in Crossett, AR, Hamilton credits her rural background with helping her learn how to be independent.

“Living in rural Arkansas really taught me a lot about what you don’t have as far as even health care resources. So that really molded what I have done in my own nursing career to advocate for better services and health care options, just from the lack of stuff from where I came from,” Hamilton, said…

…Along with other certifications, Hamilton has an advance practice role in forensic and legal nursing, and in faith community nursing. She enjoys her forensic nursing practices, as she wants to focus on understanding death, grieving, bereavement and helping people in crisis…

…In March, she will be helping to host the first “Get Your Rear in Gear.” This event is a 5k run for colon cancer awareness. She also continues to ride barrel horses.


In the Spirit: Faith Community Nurses

…Ann Baker, a Faith Community Nurse on staff at United Presbyterian Church in Watsonville…With over 50 years experience as a registered nurse, a visiting nurse and a mental health counselor for schools, Ann’s part-time job at United Presbyterian Church integrates body, mind and spirit. She oversees health-related ministries including counseling, visiting the ill, education and referrals. Ann is available for consultation after Sunday services and twice a week by appointment. With her health-care team, she plans and develops health-related events including classes at the church and in the community. Because Watsonville was identified by the National Center for Disease Control and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health as one of the top three cities in the country needing help for diabetics, Ann also teaches diabetic management classes at her church.

There are 15,000 Faith Community Nurses in the nation, but only two in Santa Cruz County. United Presbyterian Church in Watsonville is not a particularly large church; surely other faith communities could also benefit from this type of ministry. Once called Parish Nurses, you can check out this ministry at or the Health Ministries Association at…~Alliee DeArmond


Lady Lake church reaches out — with waffles

multi-grain waffles courtesy  Stacy Spensley, licensed

multi-grain waffles courtesy Stacy Spensley, licensed

Who knew eating waffles could be healthy?

And free too.

The Community Waffle Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Lady Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church will be healthy, vegan, non-GMO and yummy, according to Kea Borrero, who is hosting the event.

“I want to make people aware they can enjoy a good healthy breakfast,” said Borrero. “I’ve been health educator a long time.”


Koolauhuiia Church walks to Bethlehem

Members and friends of Koolauhuiia Church in Anahola are walking 8,611 miles to Bethlehem, Israel — symbolically.

They are joining hundreds of other churches across the world participating in a unique health walk which summarizes the number of miles individuals and families walk or exercise each week.

Public domain

Public domain


Church ministry offers ‘Ask the Pediatrician’ on Tuesday

Drs. Michelle Pope, Ross Buckles and Ellen Squire are scheduled to be on hand to help parents answer questions about the health of their children.

North Carolina

Congregational Nursing Course Graduates Six

Six nurses recently completed Foundations of Faith Community Nursing, a course sponsored by the Congregational Nurse and Health Ministry Program of the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem.
The program educates and supports nurses and others interested in developing ministries of health and wholeness in their faith communities.

Paying on faith: Ministries offer alternative to health insurance

Four long-standing ministries – Christian Healthcare Ministries, Liberty HealthShare, Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries – qualify as an alternative to health insurance under the ACA. That means members won’t face tax penalties.

Coverage is literally a matter of faith. Organizers make it clear there are no guarantees and no government oversight. Members depend on each other’s commitment to provide help when it’s needed. Those allowed to join must agree to religious beliefs and lifestyle standards, which can include limits on sexual behavior, drinking and use of drugs and tobacco.

Be prepared to get teary eyed if you watch this one, but it’s a story of a couple who used Medi-Share during an acute illness.

Religion news

Author visit: Paul Leonard, philanthropist and author of “When the Spirit Moves,” will discuss his spiritual journey and how it led to his work for Habitat for Humanity.

Blood drive [two listed]
Service: The Stephen Ministry presents “Living With Grief During the Holidays,” a special time of support for those who have lost a loved one.
Worship service: The GriefShare ministry will host a “Surviving the Holidays” service for those experiencing the loss of a loved one. Cheryl Vought will provide special music. Guest speaker Ann Noonan will provide helpful suggestions for those grieving during the holidays.
Service: Meg and Todd Hoke will present “Five Happy Things.” Through music and reflection, the Hokes will describe a practice that has helped them work with hospice services for a combined 25 years.
Workshop: “Surviving the Holidays” GriefShare workshop hosted by the church health ministries.
Christian counseling: Free individual, marriage and family counseling.


Madison’s Top Nurses 2014

Kathleen (Kate) Kindelin Pender

Community Parish Nurse

St. Mary’s Hospital

What do you do as a parish nurse? 
I am employed by St. Mary’s Hospital in partnership with the Triangle Community Ministry and have been in my current role as an advanced practice parish nurse for the past twelve years. St. Mary’s Hospital, the Triangle Community Ministry and the United Way of Dane County have all generously supported this nursing role for many years.

Licensed photo courtesy Patrick

Licensed photo courtesy Patrick

Most of us don’t make the headlines, so tell us what you’ve been doing this month in the comments.

My church hosted a flu vaccination clinic after worship and at our soup kitchen in collaboration with the Visiting Nurse Services of CT, and we held our monthly blood pressure program.

Cast Your Vote!

Cast your vote in our poll on

ANCC Certification.


Read my Top 10 Reasons to Get Certified

as a Faith Community Nurse.


close up of seal on my certificate

close up of seal on my certificate


3 Sites + 3 Videos on the Health Benefits of Gratitude = My Thanksgiving Gift to You

This time of year, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we all turn our thoughts toward gratitude for the blessings in our lives.  We ask ourselves and each other, what are you thankful for?

In addition to being an enjoyable annual cultural ritual, gratitude also brings us health benefits!

Licensed photo courtesy Kevin Dooley

Licensed photo courtesy Kevin Dooley

I found several websites and videos on the benefits of gratitude that you will enjoy and may want to share with your faith communities.

  • If you have a website or Facebook page for your faith community, you can share them there.  (If you don’t have one, consider creating one.  You can see mine as an example here.)
  • Or maybe you will take some of the ideas and use them to guide an educational health promotion program on the health benefits of gratitude for your faith community.
  • Maybe you will be sparked with a great idea for next year’s Thanksgiving season.

Let us know what you do in the comments section below, so we don’t each reinvent the wheel for our programs on the health benefits of gratitude.

ATTN: For those of you that would like to begin with the first step of the nursing process, go here to assess how grateful are you?

I’m “more grateful than 85% of the adult, American population.”  Cool! How did you do?

Licensed photo courtesy  Julie Jordan Scott

Licensed photo courtesy Julie Jordan Scott

 Website #1: The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

This is my favorite of all the sites presented in this blog!  It provides a comprehensive and non-religious look at the evidence supporting the health (plus others) benefits of gratitude, all while engaging the reader with an entertaining style.  The best part is an easily understood graphic depiction of how all of these benefits (yes, there are many!) ultimately lead to happiness. And it’s not just a pretty picture, it’s based on 40 research studies.

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Video #1: The Gratitude Experiment

My favorite video here, this 4 minutes and 43 seconds video uses cute cartoons and background music to present the findings of researcher Dr. Robert Emmons on the health benefits of gratitude. It also suggests 2 “Wellness Exercises” to practice gratitude this week.

Website #2: The Benefits of Gratitude in the Four Quadrants of Life

This site briefly presents the benefits of gratitude from the book, Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, by Angeles Arrien,PhD. I think you will enjoy much of what is said here.  Please let us know if you have read this book and what you thought about it.

Spirituality gives meaning to life, and spiritual growth is about discovering meaning. Spirituality is often expressed in religious terms, but it is the experience of recognizing states of grace, the transcendent, synchronicity, and that which is sacred or holy; it can be found in nature, silence, art, music, family, and friendship. It can bring wholeness to the emotional, physical, and intellectual dimensions of life. ~Angeles Arrien

Licensed photo courtesy  Rikki's Refuge

Licensed photo courtesy Rikki’s Refuge

Video #2: Benefits of Gratitude

Bill Jacobs of Life Resource Ministries, a Christian organization that provides free resources to children and families, presents the Benefits of Gratitude in this 15 minutes and 40 seconds video. He discusses how the feeling and expression of gratitude brings us mental, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits using real life case presentations of his past clients and from his own life.  The second half in particular focuses on the Christian aspects of gratitude, including scriptural references.

Bill holds a Masters Degree in counseling from Webster University and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in New Mexico.

Website #3: The Benefits of Gratitude

This site, adapted from an article in Yes magazine, presents the findings of three studies by Dr. Robert Emmons on the health benefits of gratitude, and the findings of Dr. Philip Watkins on the relation between gratitude and depression. It also suggests three simple ways to “build positive momentum toward a more happy and fulfilling life.”

Licensed photo courtesy  Evelyn Lim

Licensed photo courtesy Evelyn Lim

Video #3: Gratitude: Part 1 of 4 by OnenessofTruth

This 11 minutes and 12 seconds video is Part 1 of a 4 part series about “Creating Abundance with Gratitude.” These videos/slides are chock full of wonderful resources and quotes from multi-faith and multi-cultural spiritual leaders, religious texts, philosophers, celebrities, and scientists on gratitude, however they are presented quite blandly. If you can make it through the extremely calming and peaceful voice of the woman who narrates the slides, then you will find this series useful.  This drawback does not outweigh the benefit of the material they present, so give it a try.  If nothing else, you will feel much more relaxed after viewing.

Part One (11:12) focuses on the gifts of gratitude, the new science of gratitude by Dr. Robert Emmons, and shares multi-faith quotes on gratitude.

Part Two (7:14) presents gratitude under all circumstances, barriers to being grateful, gratitude daily teachings by Rhonda Byrne, and affirmations by life coach Susan Gammage.

Part Three (11:12) focuses on gratitude gems, gratitude through trials by ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, how to bring gratitude into your life by Melanie Greenberg, PhD, and 7 secrets to a happy life by John L. Huie.

Part Four (5:46) presents real thankfulness by ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, A Bha’i Perspective.

Wow! I’ve been thinking, reading, and writing about gratitude all day, and boy do I feel grateful right now!  So, let me be the first here to share what I am thankful for.  I hope that you will share your grateful thoughts in the comments as well.

I am thankful for my morning cup of coffee,

My coffee isn't this pretty though.  Licensed photo courtesy  Chung Ho Leung.

My coffee isn’t this pretty though. Licensed photo courtesy Chung Ho Leung.

for music on Pandora’s “Progressive House Radio” channel,

that keeps me going on long drives and tired nights of reading and writing with tracks like this…

for my family, especially my husband

(he probably wouldn’t be too happy if I put his photo here, so I’ll spare him and just use a generic photo of a family, a large one because my gratitude extends beyond my immediate family, without them there is no way I’d make it through this doctoral program.)

Licensed photo courtesy Lauren Kerns

Licensed photo courtesy Lauren Kerns

for my awesome crew of volunteer nurses & students

with the Parish Nursing Ministry of First Congregational Church of West Haven, CT

Students (and me) from Stone Academy in West Haven  at the Apple Festival BP Screen Tent

Students (and me) from Stone Academy in West Haven at the Apple Festival BP Screen Tent

and I am infinitely grateful for divine inspiration,

especially for the flow of creative energy in writing these frequent blogs in the upcoming last few weeks of ICM522 at Quinnipiac University!  I pray for the inspiration to continue!

I could keep going, but enough about me…

Your Turn, please share…”I am grateful for…”



I am Mercy when I am a Faith Community Nurse: On Gratitude and #GivingTuesday

With our upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving, I intend to emphasize gratitude within our online community over the next few weeks, especially how we can integrate gratitude into our roles as faith community nurses.  Keep reading to find out what this has to do with Mercy…

Licensed photo courtesy BK

Licensed photo courtesy BK

While I was surfing Facebook this afternoon for content on gratitude to share with you, I stumbled upon a video shared by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. After watching the video, I realized it was my gift for the day from God, a light onto my path, not a haphazard stumble… I want to share it with you because I think it will resonate with your spirit as well.

In the video, Sister Judy Fortune speaks of Mercy being passion… for hope, compassion, justice, and service.  Throughout the video I hear echos of faith community nursing as the Sisters of Mercy speak of…caring, listening, loving, offering, empowering, service to the poor, “bringing the healing power of Christ to those most in need,” concern for all, being present, conveying God’s Mercy, “a life of joy and concern for others,” “service of the poor, the sick, and the uneducated,” being motivated by the spirit, joining with others to work on creating change, welcoming strangers, forgetting the self and doing for others, seeing the suffering face of Christ in another person, praying, and planting seeds.

I know these words resonate with you, my fellow faith community nurses, as well as they do with me.  Watch for yourself, and please share any thoughts you have in the comments below.

Did the video move your spirit? For me, it’s exciting to know that I am not alone in this ministry of healing! Others are working alongside us throughout the world. They just might not be in our backyards or even of the same faith.

I am not a Sister of Mercy, and I do not practice the Catholic faith. However, I do consider myself to have Mercy interwoven through the fabric of my soul because my formative teenage years were fostered by the Sisters of Mercy at the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall, where I completed my high school education. I am eternally grateful to the Sisters of Mercy (and my parents) for this empowering experience, during one of the most difficult times of my life.  I was fortunate to be educated in an all girls setting steeped in faith and intellectual challenges. I believe Mercy is a part of me because of those years; my roots are in Mercy.

So, I can say, “I am Mercy.” And the times that I feel the most Mercy, are when I am in my faith community nurse role. And being in that role has spilled over Mercy into my role as a nurse practitioner.

Will you share with us if you feel something similar?  “I am Mercy when…” (in the comments below)

I followed a link at the end of the video and found another treasure waiting to be discovered on the Sisters of Mercy website!

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

What’s that?

It’s a global day of giving back on December 2 that you may wish to participate in with your faith communities.

licensed image courtesy BK

licensed image courtesy BK

I find that out of gratitude and thanksgiving often flows giving.  This special day highlights our opportunity to let our gratitude overflow to others in the spiritual act of giving.

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, we launched a global movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.

So, apparently this awesome movement started two years ago, and I’ve been completely oblivious!  Did you participate?  What did you do?

From the Sisters of Mercy page on #GivingTuesday

On the heels of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, let’s take some time to think about the impact we can make by being generous – with our time, our prayers, our spirit, and our resources. By taking action to improve our local communities and to give back to the charities and causes we celebrate, we are helping to create a better world – just like our founder Catherine McAuley did so many years ago.

Will you or your faith community participate in #GivingTuesday?

Here are some links to help you develop ideas and get started…

Explore the #GivingTuesday website,

Like, Share, or Follow #GivingTuesday pages on Facebook and Twitter.

View hashtag streams of how others are participating in #GivingTuesday (and share yours) on these links to Facebook or Twitter. ‪

9 Strategic CE Courses for Faith Community Nurses

As faith community nurses, we need to be lifelong learners so we can competently serve those who look to us for health guidance in our communities. We may be called upon to use our knowledge and skills in a wide variety of content areas within healthcare, so a broad knowledge base is what we need (along with experience of course).

Where do we begin? I looked to the ANCC’s Portfolio Content Outline for faith community nurse certification for strategic guidance on this endeavor. Under the Professional Development category, it says…

The Faith Community Nurse is to provide evidence in the professional development record, resume, and/or exemplar of:

Acquiring knowledge and skills appropriate to the faith community nursing role, setting, or situation, (e.g. intentional spiritual care, communication, conflict resolution, environmental health, or population health concepts, leadership, care coordination, education).

So, I present for you 9 continuing education courses to meet these needs. In addition to a broad knowledge base in other health topics that we commonly become involved with, such as hypertension, nutrition, smoking cessation, mental health, fall prevention, obesity, medication management, vaccination, etc (this list could really go on, and on, and on), these are special content areas of knowledge that will help us with our unique role in the faith community.

Intentional Spiritual Care

In addition to my recommendation for Allegra Learning Solutions here, the Journal of Christian Nursing offers Prayer in Clinical Practice: What Does Evidence Support?

Licensed photo public domain.

Licensed photo public domain.

Abstract: A Korean-born U.S. nurse educator shares a perspective on prayer in clinical settings in South Korea and asks what appropriate, ethical prayer practice should be in the United States. A review of research on prayer for health and in nursing practice is offered, concluding with evidence-based suggestions for prayer with and for patients in clinical settings


The Journal of Christian Nursing offers Motivational Interviewing: Helping Patients Move Toward Change

Licensed photo courtesy RunOnBeat

Licensed photo courtesy RunOnBeat

Abstract: Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a valuable tool for nurses to help patients address behavior change. MI has been found effective for helping patients with multiple chronic conditions, adherence issues, and lifestyle issues change their health behaviors. For Christian nurses, MI is consistent with biblical principles and can be seen as a form of ministry. This article overviews the process of MI, stages of change, and offers direction for further learning.

The American Nurses Association offers Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.  This opportunity expires 12/31/14, so take advantage soon if you like this one.

The American Nurses Association presents a unique opportunity to attend a recorded (December 8, 2010) webinar about The New York Times bestselling book from Vital Smarts–Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. Conversations become crucial when the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Crucial conversations happen every day and impact our ability to get things done, and yet few people invest in the skills for holding them well.

This introductory webinar will educate nurses about how to recognize the need for a crucial conversation and provide the basic skills on how to conduct these conversations successfully. These skills are integral for conversations with peers, managers, physicians, and other hospital staff.

Purpose/Goal: To educate nurses to recognize the need for crucial conversations and to learn how to successfully conduct conversations with peers, managers, physicians, and other staff.

Conflict Resolution

The American Nurses Association offers a Conflict Competence module that awards 3.8 CEUs. This opportunity expires 12/31/14, so take advantage soon. The two courses can also be taken separately.

With this purchase you get both of ANA’s new multi-media conflict competency modules together, Why Does Conflict Competence Matter? and It Is Worth Saying Again: Conflict Is Inevitable.

While conflict can be constructive in providing the groundwork for improved communication, far too often, conflict is disruptive to an individual or workplace environment. There can be significant consequences for individual nurses facing conflict in the work environment and on patient care. The ability to successfully manage conflict can help nurses feel more comfortable speaking up.

Purpose/Goal: To provide nurses with skills to constructively deal with conflict and increase their confidence to effectively engage in conflict.

Environmental Health

The Journal of Christian Nursing offers Disability and the Church: How Wide Is Your Door?

The faith community is one key for providing support to families with children or other family members with disability. How can churches be more welcoming places for the disabled?

Population Health Concepts

The Journal of Christian Nursing offers Faith Community Nursing: Supporting Healthy People 2020 Initiatives.

ABSTRACT: One innovative community-based setting to promote health is the faith community, where care is provided by a faith community nurse (FCN). This descriptive study describes the practice of FCNs, FCN functions and standards, identifies Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators being addressed by FCNs, and explores how the FCN model of community-based practice can support implementation of Healthy People 2020.


The American Nurses Association Leadership Institute partnered with Capella University to bring nurses 9 courses on leadership, each offering 5 CEUs. You can view them all here, but “Develop and Refine Your Leadership Style” looks like a great place to start:

Having a vision is a great start to developing your individual leadership style, but knowing how to make that vision come alive is where this ANA Leadership Institute™ self-paced course can help. Learn how to incorporate the four key attributes of an effective leader in order to empower yourself and your team to reach better outcomes. Gain the ability to know what behaviors and styles will strengthen your skills as a nurse leader. Discover how to apply selected perspectives of change theory to adapt to complex and changing situations. In addition, gain practical tips on how to incorporate the aspects of emotional intelligence through an interactive simulation, and develop the ability to recognize and respond to nonverbal communication in others. At the end of the course, you will walk away with a plan for how to stay motivated and committed to improving and strengthening your leadership style.

Care Coordination

The American Nurses Association offers Navigating New Frontiers: Care Coordination and the Essential Role of Nursing.

An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 patients die each year as a result of medical errors according to key findings in a report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM-1). Lack of coordination among healthcare providers lead to medical errors; which often lead to death.

The monumental shift from a provider-focused paradigm to patient centered care has resulted in a more efficient health care system and improved care coordination among providers working to improve models of care.

Nurses hold the unique opportunity to lead the transition to care coordination and reap the rewards of improved patent care quality, patient satisfaction and the effective and efficient use of health care resource. This webinar will show you how to step up and draw attention to the integral part the RNs play in improving the delivery of care and prepare you for the path to care coordination.

Purpose/Goal: The purpose of this webinar is to offer insights and strategies to advance nursing’s role in the care coordination and healthcare transformation.


Under their “Patient Teaching” category, the American Nurses Association offers The Nurse’s Role in Helping Patients Maintain a Healthy Weight.

Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese . As the most trusted health care professionals, nurses’ are critical in guiding and supporting patients during weight loss and weight management, as well as in modeling a healthy lifestyle.

Attend this webinar to learn self-management health and weight techniques. These techniques will enable nurses to be better health and wellness role models, advocates, and educators for their families, communities, colleagues, and patients.

Purpose/Goal: The purpose of this activity is to assist nurses in guiding and supporting patients during weight loss and weight management, as well as to gain knowledge in how to model a healthy lifestyle.

I hope this blog provided you with some places to find valuable CE opportunities to help you develop your practice.  Please share your experience with these or other opportunities for us to learn in the comments section.

Information Overload: Health

In today’s world of fast paced social media and communication, we all find it challenging to sift through the streams of health information that surround us to find the truth.  As nurses, this task is difficult, so imagine trying to make sense of it all from a public viewpoint…from our faith community’s viewpoint.

information overload licensed photo courtesy SparkCBC

information overload licensed photo courtesy SparkCBC

What information is reliable and trustworthy? 

This question was discussed yesterday (11/12/14) at “Information Overload,” hosted by Charlie Gibson at Quinnipiac University with guest panelists Dr. Timothy Johnson (ABC  News), Jocelyn Maminta (WTNH-TV), and Professor Stephen Wikel (Quinnipiac University).

Mr. Gibson noted that the number one topic the public wants from the media is health, with weather coming in second.  I’m sure we can all agree that the media has met this demand, especially with the recent advent of Ebola onto U.S. shores.  The media is abuzz with information about this subject, but how do we distinguish hype from truth?  This question pertains not only to Ebola, but also to any other health information found in the media.

“Is it all too much?” ~Charlie Gibson

Simply answered, Yes, it is too much.

The public needs direction to find reliable health information from a trusted source.  Who better to turn to than the number one trusted profession in our country? Nurses!

As faith community nurses, we are a trusted person within our community who can help people make sense of the chaotic media’s health information.  Granted, this information could help with raising public awareness to health problems, a first step to initiating behavior change for improved health.  But, the chaotic media becomes a problem when people make decisions about their health (and lives) based on faulty information.

One source of reliable health information online, recommended by Dr. Timothy Johnson, is the Kaiser Family Foundation website.  If you refer people to this site, let us know if it was helpful for them.  Do you think it meets the health literacy needs of the general public?

licensed photo courtesy  elizaIO

licensed photo courtesy elizaIO

So, what can we do about this as faith community nurses?

  • We can encourage questions about information people discover in the media and educate on correct information if needed when we provide personal health counseling.
  • We can provide reliable health information from “pamphlets and posters distributed by local hospitals, health departments, health-related organizations in the community” (Hickman, 2006, p.226), and governmental organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health.
  • We can empower the people in our faith community to find reliable health information online on their own.  The National Institute on Aging offers this FREE pamphlet (in Spanish & English) to distribute to your community.  You may want to simply have it on hand and provide it to people as needed.  You could make it available in a public display, such as a bulletin board, or have many in a brochure rack for people to take on their own.  Another idea would be to hold an educational discussion on this topic and hand out the pamphlets, so people have materials to refer to after leaving your program.

Be sure to visit the National Institute on Aging page, “Online Health Information: Can You Trust It?” Towards the bottom of the page they list several Federal and Non-Federal resources for information.  They also provide a list of reliable sources of information under “Places To Start”.  I have used the “Age Page” pamphlets in my congregation and can barely keep the brochure rack filled.

What reliable sources of information do you use with your faith community?

Licensed photo courtesy  AJ Cann

Licensed photo courtesy AJ Cann

Photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14

Photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14

Dr. Timothy Johnson, photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14 at Quinnipiac University

Dr. Timothy Johnson, photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14 at Quinnipiac University

Mr. Charlie Gibson, photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14 at Quinnipiac University

Mr. Charlie Gibson, photo by Courtney Holmes 11/12/14 at Quinnipiac University

View video of this discussion at Quinnipiac here, courtesy TVNewser.

3 Places to Find Education in Faith Community Nursing

If  you are thinking about becoming a parish/faith community nurse…or about becoming certified in faith community nursing, then you need foundational education to support your practice.


I’ve identified 3 places where nurses can find both in person and online continuing education opportunities.


Photo source: Being Truly Well blog

Photo source: Being Truly Well blog

1. The Church Health Center

Foundations of Faith Community Nursing and Faith Community Nursing Coordinator courses are offered year-round by educational partners across the country and internationally. Search for an upcoming course by location or date. Don’t forget to check out upcoming online and international courses, too!

On this site, you can find many states that do offer in person foundations courses; however, since there were not any near me, I took an online course from Western Kentucky University with Carol Bradford, MSN, RN and Beverly Siegrist, EdD, MS, RN.  It was comprehensive, self paced, interactive with instructors and classmates, and I came out of it with useful completed course projects and many resources and materials to support my practice as a faith community nurse. I highly recommend this course! 

2. The Health Ministries Association

Current listings include Foundations of Faith Community Nursing, Basic Training for Congregational Health Leaders, Congregational Nursing Foundation Course: Save the Date, and Omaha System International Conference.


3. Allegra Learning Solutions, LLC

ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC, designs and develops continuing professional education courses, certificate programs, curricula, classes, and workshops for an interdisciplinary audience, including nurses, health care professionals, and other interested individuals. With a focus on integrative health, wellness, and a holistic perspective, ALLEGRA Learning Solutions is the premier education provider for those who wish to enhance their health care knowledge, skills and abilities.

On this site, I highly recommend any of the courses that make up their Certificate in Spirituality, Health, and Healing.  I took several of these and found that they provide in depth material on the subject matter, and I was impressed with the extensive supporting literature!  You will not be disappointed if you take one of these courses, except for the fact that it will give you knowledge, not experience.

Licensed photo courtesy Denise Krebs

Licensed photo courtesy Denise Krebs

Does anyone have recommendations for learning spiritual care?  Where can a new faith community nurse (or one seeking to expand their practice) find this?

Does anyone have other recommendations for continuing education in faith community nursing?

Please share in the comments, along with reviews of any of the above if you’ve participated in them.


Come Together, Right Now, Over Parish Nursing!

This blog is intended to connect two groups of readers…

  1. Curious visitors, nurses, and friends who are wondering…What is parish/faith community nursing? What is health ministry?

  2. Parish/faith community nurses, chaplains, clergy, other health professionals, or laypeople who “know the ropes” of health ministry.

…to connect you in a conversation that really gets my fire burning…for nursing, for this specialty, and for life!

Fire Tambourine

Does anyone else have one of these tambourines from the 2014 Parish Nurse Retreat presented by the CT Council of Parish Nurse Coordinators? What did you draw ?

So often, when I tell my colleagues and friends that I am a parish nurse, they look back at me with a confused sort of wondering expression. What’s that? How does it work? Why do you do that? Can I do it? I get all sorts of reactions. I’m hoping this blog can serve as a forum for this discussion online.

  • This is the place where visitors can ask questions and seek answers from real people.
  • This is the place where experienced faith community nurses and health ministers can raise your voices and share with the world what it is that you love so much about health ministry (because I know that you do)!

When I share my story about parish nursing, I get so excited that I can barely contain myself!  My heart beats a little faster, skin gets all tingly, and my face smiles and eyes brighten! I probably start talking faster and use my hands a lot too! My body, mind, and spirit shine when I talk about parish nursing because I just love it so much and know that I am called to do this. Not only to do it, but to share my story with others so they can learn about it and possibly hear their calling for health ministry as well!

I know this blog cannot replace the power of personal storytelling, but it can do something unique that one-to-one conversation cannot accomplish. It can share my story, your story, our stories with anyone out there seeking to find out more about parish nursing and health ministry. What we say here can be read for days, weeks, months, and years with people who find this blog, possibly sprung from a new call to this ministry! We can be present here for them with our stories, even though we are off living our lives elsewhere and carrying out our ministries in new and exciting ways.

I wish I could tell my story to every nurse that I know, so they too can get the opportunity to decide if this specialty is meant for them…if they wish to bring this ministry to their faith community.  Parish nursing is why I became a nurse.  I just didn’t know it was a “thing” back then.  When I was deciding what to do with my life, I chose nursing over ministry.  Now, I am able to do both, although I always did see my nursing work as a form of service to my fellow human being.  For me, parish nursing is a perfect blend of science, faith, healthcare, compassion, nursing, spirituality, creativity, community outreach, and love for humanity.   Becoming a parish nurse has helped me to become more whole as an individual.  It has benefited my work as a nurse practitioner and helped to integrate my personal and professional life.  When I listened to  my calling (perhaps a story for another day), the path that God set before me was clearly parish nursing.  I didn’t even know what that was at the time, and now I’m beyond thrilled to be walking this path with so many others called to do the same.  What has parish nursing or health ministry done for you? or for those that you serve?

I’m going to share a few things with you to help explain faith community nursing.  I am only one voice of many, so please tell us what faith community nursing is for you in the comments section so we can hear the whole choir.  Feel free to ask questions and post responses here. This is my blog created for you (really, no pun intended) to come together and share. Together, we can help each other to initiate, practice, and promote health ministry!

The more people in a community who can understand a particular fact, method, or story, the likelier it is that those people will be able to work together to make use of those bits of knowledge. ~Clay Shirky p.140, Cognitive Surplus

What is faith community nursing?

Faith community nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as well as on the promotion of wholistic health and prevention or minimization of illness within the context of a faith community.~ANA & HMA, 2012, p.5

The Church Health Center describes the Philosophy, Root Assumption, and Strategic Vision of Faith Community Nursing.  The vision of a nurse in every church, providing wholistic healthcare for every faith community, is one that I share with faith community nurses across the world.  It’s inspiring and amazing to me that I am not alone in this vision!  Not only do others share the same vision, but there are already supportive organizations established to help us carry out this vision (besides our own faith communities).  Peek around the Church Health Center site and you will find many helpful resources, history, and educational opportunities.

The mission of faith community nursing is the intentional integration of the practices of faith and nursing so that people can achieve wholeness in, with, and through the community of faith in which they serve. ~Church Health Center

The Health Ministries Association is another supportive organization that “includes faith community nurses, health ministers, program leaders, and spiritual leaders who have developed health ministries in diverse faith communities.  They are available to assist you in your development of meaningful approaches to health, healing, and wholeness” (What Is Health Ministry?)  I would encourage anyone with an interest in health  ministry to participate with this organization.  I attended their Conference this past September, and it was well worth the travel!

The Church Health Center also created this awesome video that describes health ministry and the Church Health Center’s role as an organization in support of  health ministry. Do you share the same vision?


American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: How technology makes consumers into collaborators. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Let’s Talk About Documentation…

Before we start talking about documentation, I want to be completely honest here and tell you that my least favorite part of being a nurse is…you guessed it, documentation! However, I also know that it is one of the most important things that we do as professionals.

Why is it important for faith community nursing? As I tell every nursing student who comes my way, documentation provides us with 3 important benefits, each of which is equally as important as the other.  (Please try to save the yawns and eye rolls until the end!)

Video “Why Do We Yawn?” courtesy ASAPScience.

Three Benefits of Documentation

for Faith Community Nurses

  1. Communication.  Our documentation tells everyone on the care team (including ourselves when we follow up) what we did with the person during a visit.  What was the reason for the person’s visit with the parish nurse? Was there relevant medical history?  Were they taking medications? What interventions were tried? Which ones helped and which ones didn’t?  What was the treatment plan and goal of care? Were there changes to the plan of care? Were they counseled on dietary changes? Were they referred to someone for medical care?  or a support group? How can we contact the person for follow up?  Chances are, we won’t remember what we were thinking the last time we saw this person. Writing it down helps with our own thought process and helps to communicate it to others involved in the person’s care.

  2. LegalityDocumentation protects you and your organization. It provides evidence that you performed your responsibilities as a licensed nurse and as an organization.  I’m sure you know the saying, “If it wasn’t documented, then it wasn’t done.”  According to the scope and standards of practice for nursing and faith community nursing, did you provide appropriate nursing care within our professional standards?  Did you practice within the scope of licensed nursing as defined by your state?

    My well loved book.

    My well loved book.

  3. Reimbursement.  As a nurse practitioner, this means my documentation must justify my selected billing code for insurance companies.  You may be thinking…well, what does reimbursement have to do with faith community nursing?  I believe if we have quality documentation, then it can positively impact our reimbursement for services.

If you are a member of the American Nurses Association, you can also read their “Principles for Nursing Documentation” for more guidance.

Clear, accurate, and accessible documentation is an essential element of safe, quality, evidence-based nursing practice. The RN and the APRN are responsible and accountable for the nursing documentation that is used throughout an organization. This publication identifies six essential principles to guide nurses in this necessary and integral aspect of the work of registered nurses in all roles and settings. ~ANA

If someone were to ask you, has your work as a parish nurse helped your faith community? Is the service you are providing valuable? Should we (healthcare system, hospital, faith community, insurance company, denomination) support your nursing care financially?…How would you reply?

If you are like me, you might think…well, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was worth my time?  I have nothing to prove because I KNOW what I do makes a difference in people’s lives in a way that my other nursing roles didn’t.  I’m following my calling and this is what I’m going to do with my gifts regardless of pay.  However, realistically, we know the healthcare system doesn’t pay us based on faith.

So, how would you reply?  Would you tell them case stories about individuals (HIPAA protected of course)? Could you show them aggregate data of improved blood pressures? weight loss? controlled blood sugars? or any other measurable health outcome?  For me, this would be difficult to do. The good news is that documentation can help us validate the work that we do.Doc Pic

I realize that payment for faith community nursing services is not something that we all agree upon.  As the American Nurses Association and the Health Ministries Association note in our Scope and Standards of Practice, one of the major factors complicating reimbursement for faith community nurse services is “a faith community’s tradition of donating time and expertise to care for its members” (2012, p.18).  Some nurses consider their service to be part of their stewardship of the church.  Add to that the “limited objective data that demonstrate the positive health effects and benefits of faith community nursing so that external funding will be more available” (p.18) and the “lack of financial resources in many faith communities for an expansion of services” (p.18), and we certainly find ourselves in a complicated situation.  As a specialty, we are challenged to work together toward overcoming this barrier to increasing the number of faith community nurses doing this good work across the country and the globe.

Believe me, I am not the number one fan of documentation, but I do believe it can lead us to eventually receive compensation for our work.  According to the ANA & HMA (2012), demonstrating our positive health outcomes may influence the number of paid faith community nurse positions in our healthcare system. I also believe that if faith community nurses were compensated, then there would be more nurses doing this awesome ministry AND they would be doing it more hours per week than they do presently! This can only be of benefit to our faith and wider communities!

If you were paid for your work as a faith community nurse, would you contribute more hours to the role? According to a study by McGinnis (2007), unpaid faith community nurses spend less time in faith community nursing roles than paid faith community nurses.  Are there things that you would do to expand your role that you don’t do now? Do you think it would impact the quality of your care? The number of people served? The number of programs that you could implement? The number of home and hospital visits that you would make, especially regarding transitions of care from the hospital to home?  Do you think payment for your services would impact measurable health outcomes in your faith community?

Please share your thoughts on any of these questions in the comments.

Ready to document?  I found some systems that are already out there for us to use, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for your ministry’s documentation…

  • The Henry Ford Macomb Faith Community Nursing Network: “…Faith Community Nurse-designed, Internet-based documentation, web communication, policies and procedures and health projects such as classes, grant projects, support groups and fairs. Congregations are provided on-going support to assure excellence in ministry and clarity of community-based goals while achieving measurable health outcomes.”
  • Computerized Documentation System at Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program: “Seeking to develop a state-of-the-art,comprehensive documentation system tomeet the evolving needs of FCNs, Conti turned to Executive Service Corps, a national organization of volunteer professionals who provide expertise, pro bono, to nonprofit organizations. Volunteer database developer Nancy Campbell Marshall worked closely with Conti, this author [Dorothy Mayernik], and other Mercy staff to translate FCN documentation standards into a program using Microsoft Access, a relational database.”
  • Integration – A Parish Nurse Documentation System developed by Lisa Burkhart, PhD, RN, MPH.  “The system is free to use with permission by completing a request survey form included in the manual and e-mailing it to”  Scroll to the bottom of her faculty page for manual and forms. 

How do you document? Do you know of other documentation systems for parish nurses?

What are your thoughts on FCN documentation?  Let us know your thoughts on any of these questions in the comments section.


American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

Self Care

Self Care, is a topic of conversation familiar to nurses.  Despite all of our talk, we could probably all be diagnosed with some sort of self care deficit.  We are typically known to put others needs before our own and continually struggle to find time for ourselves during our busy shifts…and lives.  In this blog I present some reasons self care is important for us and offer strategies to assess and improve our self care activities.

I believe self care is of particular importance for us as faith community nurses.

We believe in a wholistic model of health that promotes “spiritual, physical, mental, and social health” (ANA & HMA, 2012), so unsurprisingly it is important to us to live out this concept in real life. During one of the workshops that I attended at the Health Ministries Association conference last month, I was introduced to the Church Health Center’s Model for Healthy Living. I had read about the model online, but had not utilized it as a resource for my community. In the workshop, we each performed a self-assessment using the Model for Healthy Living Assessment Wheel. Through this activity, I was able to see the balance (or lack thereof) across all aspects of my health. I noticed both neglected areas and flourishing areas. Then, I chose an area to nurture in order to bring myself closer to balance. As the workshop leaders noted, perfection is not the goal. No one is expected to rate themselves with a 10 out of 10 in all areas. Instead, we seek to find balance and move our lives towards wholeness over time. The first step to finding your own balance is to assess your current health status. How do you feel? I encourage you to use the assessment wheel for yourself and choose one area that needs change to bring yourself closer to wholistic well-being. Reflect on your needs and make an action plan for self care.

radical wellness art journaling page licensed photo courtesy distelfliege

radical wellness art journaling page licensed photo courtesy distelfliege

We are challenged with the calling to serve our faith communities while also continuing our careers in other nursing roles, adding to the complexity of juggling work and family life. Even as I sit here and write this blog, I am guilty of indulging in my passion for faith community nursing over engaging in some sort of self care activity. As a doctoral student, I am frequently sitting at my desk for extended periods of time. Last year I realized that my view of the living room wall from my desk wasn’t doing anything for my mental health. So, I moved my desk to face the outside front window where I could glance up to see the wind blowing through the trees or open the window to hear the birds tweet. Ask yourself, what can I change to better take care of myself? Where is there time for me to care for myself within all of the things that I’d like to (or have to) do today? Make time for you.

My messy desk positioned so I can look out the front window and enjoy nature while I of my strategies for self care.

My desk positioned so I can look out the window and enjoy nature.

Speaking from my own faith perspective, self care is important because it enables me to love my neighbor as myself.

Luke 10:27-28: He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

How can we care for others if we don’t care for ourselves first? I am not suggesting conceit or selfishness, but rather I suggest…when the cup is empty, how can it overflow with love and care for others?

Treating myself to a nice, warm cup of tea is another self care strategy that I am enjoying right now as I write.  Do you like tea? Take a moment to make yourself a cup.

Treating myself to a nice, warm cup of tea. Do you like tea? Take a moment to make yourself a cup.

In the book, “Faith Community Nursing,” Janet Hickman suggests several strategies for faith community nurses to provide themselves with self care. I present them for you below. Consider the way these types of self care could possibly be woven into your daily life, and recognize the ways that you already provide yourself with self care.

  • Set limits on your role as faith community nurse to the congregation and spiritual leaders
  • Take breaks for exercise, healthy eating, and sleep for stress management
  • Practice mindfulness meditation and focused breathing
  • Maintain a sense of gratitude
  • Adopt effective time management techniques
  • Incorporate time for personal space, nurturing your spirituality, and listening to relaxing music
  • Engage in storytelling with other faith community nurses (something this community is intended to enable online)
  • Write in a journal to express and reflect on your thoughts and feelings
  • Commune with nature (my favorite) in your preferred spot…the woods or the beach?
  • Self-reflect.
  • Pray. Hickman suggests a variety of ways, such as prayers of gratitude & thanksgiving, before meetings, via labyrinths, use of a “God Box” to turn worries over to God, and through solitude.

“The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles; only by a spiritual journey by which we arrive at the ground at our feet and learn to be at home.” ~Wendell Berry (Hickman, 2006, p.218)

Summer Steps licensed photo courtesy Juraj Kubica.

Summer Steps licensed photo courtesy Juraj Kubica.

Share some ideas with each other for self care in the comments section below.


American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

 Hickman, J.  (2006).  Faith community nursing.  Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Top 10 Reasons to Get Certified as a Faith Community Nurse

Last month the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the Health Ministries Association announced the first board certification for Faith Community Nurses at the 25th Anniversary of the Health Ministries Association Annual Meeting and Conference. As someone who has been involved in this process since last Fall as a member of the ANCC’s Content Expert Panel for our specialty, I was very excited to hear this news! All of our hard work (in addition to many others involved with the ANCC) is finally being implemented and faith community nurses across the nation can apply for this new credential! So, this news has me wondering…

Are you going to get certified in Faith Community Nursing?

Yes? I wish you the best of luck in preparing your portfolio! Tell us why YOU are getting certified in the comments below.

No? Tell us why not, and read on…

Not sure? Then, let me present my…

Top 10 Reasons to Get Certified!

1. Receive validation of your knowledge and skills in a specialty that you love from a respected organization, the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

2. Hey, who doesn’t love a little alphabet soup? You can add a few letters to your professional credentials, RN-BC to be exact.

Photo Source: Click photo to read their article on nursing’s alphabet soup.

3. Contribute to a larger movement aiming to elevate the level of credibility of professional faith community nursing.

4. You’ll get a new best friendFaith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (2nd ed.).

My well loved book.

My well loved book.

Seriously, you will become intimately familiar with this book. This is a good thing because it provides you with a clear description of our specialty’s scope of practice and the standards “by which the quality of practice, service, or education can be evaluated” (ANA & HMA, 2012, p.2). Without measurement, we cannot be validated for our unique role in healthcare.

5. It’s an opportunity for self-evaluation. We must know ourselves before we can improve ourselves. To learn more about how self-evaluation benefits healthcare, check out this article published by the Quality Assurance Project for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

6. Learn something new. Through the process of completing your portfolio, you may discover opportunities to build upon your current professional development. Maybe you’ll need to take some continuing education courses on topics specific to our specialty. Learning these things will not only bring you closer to certification, but they will also benefit the faith community that you serve.

7. Do something new. There are sixteen standards of practice for Faith Community Nursing. Chances are you might need to expand your practice a bit to encompass all of these in your portfolio. This is exciting because it will help your practice “reflect the values and priorities of the profession” (ANA & HMA, 2012, p.2). If you’ve never precepted a nursing student in this setting, made a poster presentation on parish nursing, or participated in a quality improvement project in this role…here is the motivation to take the next step and actually DO it!

Photo courtesy Cathi Kellet

. Poster presentation at Valley Parish Nurses 25th Anniversary Celebration. Photo courtesy Cathi Kellett.

8. Become a lifelong learner committed to the quality and advancement of our specialty. Recertification every 5 years encourages continued professional development. (FYI Recertification costs are much less than initial certification, and there are discounts if you are a member of the American Nurses Association or the Health Ministries Association).

9. Gain recognition as an expert in Faith Community Nursing by colleagues and employers. “In a survey of nurse managers, 86% indicated that they would hire a certified nurse over a noncertified nurse if everything else were equal”(Jacobs & Glassie, 2004, as cited in Why Certify? The Benefits of Nursing Certification).

10. Elevate the level of your faith community nursing to excellence in practice, quality, and safety for your own professional satisfaction and for the benefit of your faith community.Excellence


Was ten reasons not enough for you?

Watch this video for inspiration if you need an extra little boost to get started on your application! Keep in mind that it focuses on certification by exam, and ours is through portfolio. It’s still worth a watch.

Video Reference: ANCC website.

So, have you decided?

Are you going to get certified in Faith Community Nursing?


American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.


What’s Your Passion?

Is your passion… Integrating faith and health? Parish nursing? Faith community nursing? Spiritual care? Wholistic health? Extending the reach of traditional healthcare to faith communities?

If you answered YES! to any of these, then we have lots in common and I invite you to join me on a mission to create an online community for Connecticut Faith Community Nurses!

(If you are reading this wondering, “What is Faith Community Nursing?,” then click here.)

Through this blog I hope to help us help each other begin, support, practice, and advocate for our health ministries across many faiths and religions in our shared region of CT.  Whether you are brand new to this nursing specialty or have been ministering for many years, I know there is a place for you here.

Please view this blog as a two-way conversation.  I am fairly new to faith community nursing and bring a strong passionate fire to the practice from my own perspective, experiences, and visions.  I know that I am only one of many who are called to walk this path, so I invite you to please comment on my posts and share your perspectives and knowledge.  I’d love to hear what interests you or what you’d like to share with us, so we can join together on a journey of learning and practicing Faith Community Nursing.

I hope that we will share stories, ideas, resources, and moral support with each other.  Some of us have many stories, others have just begun!  Some of us have so many ideas that we don’t know what to do with them (like me!), and others are gifted in giving life to those ideas.  Some of us are blessed with a wealth of resources at our disposal, and others have very little financial or human capital.  All of us need moral support as we continue to blaze the path that started here in Connecticut 25 years ago!

(That sounds great, but I’m really just looking for foundational education on Faith Community Nursing…click here.)

One topic of special importance to me is the fact that some of us are paid, but most of us are unpaid. Only 10% to 35% of faith community nurses are paid nationwide (McGinnis, 2007; Patterson, 2011). Unpaid faith community nurses spend less time in faith community nursing roles and report less satisfaction with outcomes, skills and support than paid faith community nurses (McGinnis, 2007), and their documentation is less intentional (Rydholm, 2006). This diminishes the potential of unpaid faith community nurses to show significant positive health outcomes, an influential factor in future funding of research and paid faith community nurse positions (ANA & HMA, 2012).

As an unpaid faith community nurse, myself, I can relate to all of the findings above.  I certainly spend less time in my faith community nurse role than I’d like to. Low satisfaction with outcomes is what ignited my desire to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice at Quinnipiac University.  (It’s ironic, really, how my unpaid status led me to pay for further education.)  I continue to work on building my skills, but my mentors have limited time for meeting my needs…as do I.  I have felt the inspirational support of fellow faith community/parish nurses at the many conferences that I have attended, yet those experiences are fleeting.  Not long after, I find myself practicing in the silo of my own faith community.  I continue to grapple with documentation.  It’s an area where we can improve the quality of our specialty and design it for demonstrating the positive health outcomes that we see in practice.

But, let’s not fret too long on these not so happy thoughts!  There is hope…

“When most of the people who know something about your specialty aren’t in your own organization, social media can help professionals to build knowledge and relationships.” (Blossom, 2009, p.151)

Through social media, we can be better connected with each other.

Through social media, we can help each other become experts in our specialty through educational, professional, program, and emotional support.

Through social media, we can work with each other to advocate for our specialty, improve our documentation, demonstrate our value with positive health outcomes, and increase the number of paid faith community nurse positions in the state.

In closing, I hope that you find this song equally as moving and inspirational as I did!  Let’s move toward each other online and help each other carry out our calling to health ministry.

“Touched by the lodestone of thy love, Let all our hearts agree. And ever toward each other move, and ever move toward Thee.”

Mark Templeton, born 1974, is a choral composer, conductor, and countertenor. He teaches and resides at West Nottingham Academy in Colora, MD, the oldest boarding school in the United States. Templeton’s music has been performed all over the world at various international festivals and ACDA conventions. Some of his music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and he has recently started to self-publish. He also enjoys coaching, playing, and watching soccer when he is not working. He is available for commission upon request.

For more information about this song and other compositions by Mark Templeton email


American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

Blossom, J. (2009). Content nation: Surviving and thriving as social media changes our work, our lives, and our future. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc.

McGinnis, S. (2007). Findings from a survey of parish nurses/faith community nurses in the United States. Rensselaer, NY: Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, SUNY Albany.

Patterson, D. (2011). Ask Deborah: Parish nurse pay.

Rydholm, L. (2006). Documenting the value of faith community nursing: 1. saving hundreds, making cents — a study of current realities. Creative Nursing, 12(2), 10-12.

“This blog has been created as part of the educational coursework for ICM 522 – Introduction to Social Media in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University. The postings on my site are solely my own and do not reflect the views of Quinnipiac University or any of its employees nor do they offer any professional, legal or medical advice.”

Safety Equipment Installed in Homes FREE OF CHARGE by Silverlink, Inc.

For CT Valley Area Homes:

This organization has funds to help people who need safety equipment installed in their homes.
Please pass this on or help a senior who needs this.

Silverlinks, Inc.Download flyer here to print out and post.

Chronic Disease Self Management Workshop in Derby, CT

Griffin Hospital hosts program for people with ongoing health conditions.  Share with your congregations and people who may benefit!

These are very empowering (evidence based) programs.

~Daun Barrett, RN, Director

Community Outreach &Parish Nursing

Griffin Hospital


PDF of flyer to print and post in your church: CDSM program 4-15

CT Faith Community Nurses

Supporting Health Ministry in Connecticut


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