Samford University's College for Faith and Health believes in the importance of service and community outreach. Through the faith community nursing program, the center partners with Ida Moffett School of Nursing to offer training and support for individuals interested in faith community nursing.
What is Faith Community Nursing?
Faith community nursing is a recognized specialty practice, according to the American Nursing Association, and a professional model of health ministry. It is a practice that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit, while promoting wholistic health and preventative care.
Most importantly, faith community nurses integrate faith and health to help parishioners lead healthier lives, physically and spiritually. Through education and collaboration with other community resources, these specialized nurses help people understand their own health issues and take proactive steps to greater health.
The faith community nurse will collaborate with (and make referrals to) other community resources, when necessary, while creating support groups for people in need. And critically, they are advocates for their patients overall health, often times coordinating services for people who have no other options. Their specific services vary according to the needs of the congregations, but might include coordinating blood pressure screenings, organizing health related guest speakers, maintaining health educational bulletin boards, leading diabetes and cancer support groups, delivering flu shots and weight loss programs.
Seven identified roles of a faith community nurse:
- Integrator of faith and health (mission)
- Health educator
- Personal health counselor
- Referral agent
- Coordinator of volunteers
- Developer of support groups
- Health advocate
There are a variety of organizational frameworks for the ministry of faith community nursing practice. Many faith community nurses serve in churches as volunteers, while others are paid staff members (part-time or full-time). Institutions, such as hospitals, health care systems, and/or universities, also collaborate with churches to have faith community nurses (paid or unpaid) serve in congregations.
Regardless of the organizational framework, the faith community nurse is accountable to the Nurse Practice Act of the state he/she is practicing, as well as the Scope and Standards of Parish Nursing (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, Inc., 1998).
Faith community nursing does not embrace the medical model of care or invasive practices such as blood drawing, medical treatments or medication administration.
The International Parish Nurse Resource Center developed a standardized core curriculum that is being utilized throughout the world. This course provides basic preparation for registered nurses that feel called to serve as faith community nurses.
The International Parish Nurse Resource Center is a wonderful resource. For information about faith community nursing, visit parishnurses.org.
Faith Community Nursing Courses
The courses, led by Samford University's Ida Moffett School of Nursing faculty, are based on the standardized core curriculum developed through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center in consultation with the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center. The course requires five full days of content and is usually offered in a retreat setting. Through a cooperative relationship between the School of Nursing, the Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union/Baptist Nursing Fellowship and Baptist Health System, we’ve educated more than 500 Parish Nurses since the program began. While the majority of our students come from Alabama, the course has attracted nurses throughout the Southeast.