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.

About courtholmes

Nurse Practitioner, Faith Community Nurse, Parish Nurse, Certified Wound Specialist, DNP Student at Quinnipiac University, Social Media Enthusiast... Passionate about integrating faith and health! CT Faith Community Nurses on Twitter @CTFCN

Posted on November 6, 2014, in Current Events, For You, Resources, Social Media, What Is Faith Community Nursing? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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