What is a Parish Nurse? What does a Parish Nurse do?

The service of Church Nursing originated from the Christian principles of compassion and caring for one and all. It is also called Parish Nursing, Congregational Nursing, or Faith Community Nursing. The modern profession of church nursing was initiated in 1984 in America with the efforts and guidance of Granger E. Westberg, a parish pastor of ELCA. Rev. Westberg also served as a hospital chaplain and professor, credited with pioneering holistic healthcare programs that combined medicine and religious beliefs.

A parish nurse, also known as a faith community nurse, is a nurse who cares for members of a parish or faith community. Parish nurses acquire a license after completing the necessary education in nursing. They help people identify and fulfill critical healthcare needs in alignment with the faith community’s culture, traditions, and beliefs.

Given below is the essential information regarding the educational qualifications, duties, and compensation of parish nurses:

Educational and Licensure Criteria

To become a parish or church nurse, you must be registered and possess an active license. RN (Registered Nurse) obtains a license after completing an introductory nursing course, such as a bachelor’s associate degree in nursing or a diploma program in nursing. The duration of these courses is generally 2-4 years. After graduation, the nursing students must clear NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse) to get the required license. The ANA (American Nurses Association) states the scope and standards of practice for church nurses. However, no particular certification exists for faith community nursing.

While nurses can also pursue master’ssdegreer specializations, it is not a compulsory licensure requirement.

The IPNRC (International Parish Nurse Resource Center) set an ideal curriculum for the educational institutes. Several reputed universities and schools extend educational programs in church nursing. For instance, North CaroCaroCarolina’s Dner-Webbity provides a mastmastmastmaster’s community or parish nursing and car in alliance with the School of Divinity. Similarly, Alababama’sfett & Sanders School of Nursing offers a certificate program in parish nursing, and TennTennessee’son University School of Nursing has a course in parish nursing. Besides, the Parish Nursing InstInstitute’sginia Parish Nurse Educational Program has been devised to provide specialized training to church nurses.

What does a parish nurse do? – Duties and Responsibilities

Parish nurses serve as referral sources and health educators for the community and the volunteers. They perform various tasks, including:

  • Educating the volunteers and training the caregivers
  • Imparting knowledge on the interconnection between health and faith.
  • Visiting congressional members to address their health concerns
  • Educating community members on moral health and ethical issues
  • Organizing and managing health fairs and similar events

Besides educating and nursing, the church nurses may also pray for the patients’ faster recovery, healing, acceptance, and serenity. Further, there are parish nurses belonging to other faiths, such as Islam, Judaism, etc.

Compensation and Work Environment

Most church nurses are volunteers or retired professionals, but some work for pay. As per one of the July ’11 ’11icles of the Orlando Sentinel, the WPHF (Winter Park Health Foundation) lends grants to support parish nurse nurseries.

Generally, parish nurses work in congressional members’ communities, churches, and homes. Their work is often associated with public health departments since public health nurses usually extend community health services.

Parish Nurse 2020 Salary Statistics for RNs

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides no specific estimate for parish nurses, but it states that the median annual income of all RNs was $75000 in 2020. The highest 10% of the nurses received above $111,220, while the lowest 10% were paid below $52,080. In the year 2020, a total of 3,200,700 people were hired as RNs in the US. The employment of RNs is expected to increase by 8% in the next ten years.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is an experienced economist and financial analyst from Utah. He has been in finance for nearly two decades, having worked as a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Bank for 19 years. After leaving Wells Fargo Bank in 2014, Daniel began a career as a finance consultant, advising companies and individuals on economic policy, labor relations, and financial management. At Nimblefreelancer.com, Daniel writes about personal finance topics, value estimation, budgeting strategies, retirement planning, and portfolio diversification. Read more on Daniel Smith's biography page. Contact Daniel: daniel@nimblefreelancer.com

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