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What is a Parish Nurse?

Faith Community Nursing

A specialty practice of professional nursing.


“At the core of every major faith tradition stands an explicit commitment to be with the sick, the poor, the alienated, the marginal, the wounded and the dying.  The commitments are very old, but ht implications are ever new”  Gary Gunderson, Interfaith Health Center, Emory University.


What is a Parish Nurse?

Today we understand health as a dynamic process which embodies the spiritual, psychological, physical and social dimension of each person. A Parish Nurse holds the spiritual dimension with somewhat more clarity than other health professionals.  This role balances knowledge and skill, science and theology, service and worship intertwined with historical roots of every faith tradition for the care of the other just as each faith community has done for centuries.

Parish nursing services are designed to build on and strengthen capacities of individuals, families, and faith communities to understand and care for one another in light of their relationship to God, faith traditions and the broader society.  Parish Nurses hold that all persons are sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity.  Parish Nurses can assist and empower individuals to become more active partners in their personal health resources.

A Parish Nurse is part of the congregational staff with an office located in the congregation.  This places a wholistic lens on everything that the parish nurse does.  It also means that it is possible to have a sence of well-being and illness simultaneously.  Healing may exist in the absence of cure.

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