Collaborating Community and Faith-Based Nursing


Faith-based communities have developed the concepts of health and healing that are consistent with the principles of nursing. For instance, parish nurses adhere to such principles as professionalism, care, compassion, understanding, support, empathy as well as spiritual and psychological guidance (Roberts, 2014). These values have been developed in the course of the development of society.

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Clearly, they are deeply rooted in the Christian faith, and first parish nurses (a deaconess) were mentioned in the Bible (Lueders Bolwerk, 2009). It is possible to note that faith-based nursing is not very different from the community-based nursing practice that focuses on the provisions of healthcare services, psychological support, training, and advocating the needs of the community (Diem & Moyer, 2015). It is but natural that these branches should develop close ties, and community nurses should collaborate with parish nurses.

Benefits of Partnerships

One of the benefits of such collaboration is a deeper understanding of people’s needs. Clearly, parish nurses are often in closer contact with patients due to the spiritual background they share with the people living in the community (Roberts, 2014). Community nurses will be able to provide more comprehensive healthcare services if they understand their patients’ needs better. Furthermore, community nurses will be able to advocate people’s needs more effectively as they will understand what exactly is needed.

Another advantage of this kind of collaboration is the possibility to establish proper rapport between the community nurse and the patient. It is necessary to note that people often lose their belief in healthcare professionals due to some previous experiences, certain bureaucratization of hospitals, cultural issues, and so on (Diem & Moyer, 2015).

At that, patients will trust community nurses if parish nurses will be involved in activities. Finally, community nursing professionals and parish nurses can work on some programs, which will result in a larger output. Two kinds of professionals may attract more attention in media, among local people as well as officials. Joined effort can result in better outcomes as more people can be involved. To understand better, the way this collaboration is beneficial, it is possible to identify some roles of parish nurses.

Parish Nurse and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Roberts (2014) states that one of the central roles of parish nurses is the provision of guidance. This guidance is associated with health promotion and disease prevention. Faith-based nursing can be compared to preaching as parish nurses also help people live in the right way. Importantly, people go to the church for advice, and they are ready to listen to their religious leaders. Therefore, parish nurses also share a significant degree of trust. People are more willing to follow recommendations of a parish nurse rather than a nursing professional employed at a local hospital or even a community nurse.

It is also necessary to note that parish nurses are often available even if an individual does not have insurance. These people need special attention as they are often unaware of prevention strategies, healthy lifestyles, and even options available to them (for example, Medicaid options). Parish nurses can easily fill in those gaps. They also have the necessary tools to address people and encourage them to receive healthcare services available to them.

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Parish Nursing and Healthy People 2020 Guidelines

It is possible to note that parish nursing can effectively include the guidelines of Healthy People 2020 in their program planning. It is possible to consider an example of such incorporation. One of the ways to come up with efficient programs for faith-based nursing can be the use of guidelines concerning the public health infrastructure (Public health infrastructure, 2016). The guidelines contain important insights into the major components of effective infrastructure.

These elements include a qualified workforce and effective information systems. Clearly, it is important to make sure that parish nurses have the necessary qualifications and experience to address the needs of the community. At that, parish nurses should also share or at least be aware of the values in the faith-based community. These guidelines should be taken into account when programs associated with the hiring and development of nursing professionals.

It can be necessary to make sure that parish nurses also follow the guidelines associated with nursing practice. The guidelines include: monitor, investigate, inform, educate, mobilize the community partnerships, enforce regulations, link people, research and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and activities (Public health infrastructure, 2016).

It is clear that the benefits of the collaboration between parish nurses and community nurses are undeniable. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that parish nursing may be associated with some legal, financial, and ethical issues (Lueders Bolwerk, 2009). First, it is still unclear what responsibilities can be assigned to parish nurses. There are quite many gaps in this area, which can lead to considerable issues (for example, lawsuits).

It is necessary to note that these issues can be addressed by advocating the needs of parish nurses who should have clear guidelines for their practice. It can be effective to address local officials and initiate a debate nationwide. As to financial issues, faith-based communities and religious institutions often have rather scarce resources, which discourages many high-qualified professionals from entering the field. It is necessary to note that parish nurses face ethical issues similar to other nursing professionals (Roberts, 2014). Confidentially or the responsibility and will of the patient can be regarded as some of the most important issues to consider.

At that, parish nurses understand the importance of some religious beliefs and values for the patient. They often have to address their own conflicts as the modern healthcare system may often involve practices that seem unacceptable for some people. One of the examples is the issues concerning blood transfusion that can be regarded as a sin among some groups of people.


On balance, it is possible to note that community nurses and parish nursing professionals should develop effective collaboration strategies as this collaboration can contribute to health promotion in communities. The joined effort of community- and faith-based nurses will reach more people and will address their needs more effectively. Advocating patients’ needs will also be more efficient as nurses will be able to reach more people (patients, caregivers, and officials).

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At that, it is crucial to understand that parish nursing is associated with certain issues to be taken into account. Unclear responsibilities, conflict of values, and financial issues can negatively affect the collaboration. However, if these peculiarities are considered and addressed properly, community nurses can benefit from the collaboration with faith-based nurses. Therefore, community nurses and parish nurses should learn more about the peculiarities of these nursing practices to develop a particular collaboration plan.


Diem, E., & Moyer, A. (2015). Community and public health nursing: Learning to make a difference through teamwork. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Lueders Bolwerk, C.A.L. (2009). What is parish nursing? Web.

Public health infrastructure. (2016). Web.

Roberts, S. (2014). Parish nursing: Providing spiritual, physical, and emotional care in a small community parish. Clinical Nursing Studies, 2(2), 118-122.

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