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Parish Nursing: Health Promotion


The meaning of the community and the collective way of thinking has been revisited by the health care service providers and professionals over the last decade to find new approaches to healing. Orientation towards the community is nursing, and health care is a way of studying and treating individuals without separating them from their societies and environments. The partnerships and collaborative projects between health care providers and the faith-based communities are powerful tools helping to deliver patient-sensitive medical care along with spiritual support and refuge (National Center for Cultural Competence, 2001).

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The Heritage of Health and Healing in Faith-Based Communities

Faith community nursing that is also referred to as parish nursing is a harmonious combination of the delivery of professional nursing care and health ministry that is designed to enforce healing practices within faith-based communities (Patterson, Wehling, & Mason, 2010). This kind of healing has been practiced for quite a while. For the first time, faith-based medical care provision started to gain popularity in the 1980s. Its rapid development led to impressive outcomes – in just several decades the number of parish nurses in the United States of America and globally started to estimate approximately ten thousand people (Patterson et al., 2010).

Multiple Resources for the Collaboration between Community Nursing and Faith-Based Nursing

There is a multitude of opportunities for collaboration between community nursing and faith-based nursing. First of all, faith-based nursing can be very versatile helping to deliver services of all kinds. For example, parish nurses may participate in health fairs and promotional actions sharing knowledge about disease prevention, raising awareness, and educating the communities about the risks they are exposed to; besides, parish nurses can provide information on such subjects as nutrition, children’s health, motherhood, safe sex and STDs, geriatric health, disabilities, lifestyle choices to name a few (Bachhuber, 2006). Moreover, parish nurses can conduct health screening, primary care, and consult the communities about numerous health issues using the holistic approach and connecting the individuals’ social world to their health.

Three Benefits of Community Nurses Forming Partnerships with Parish Nurses and Faith-Based Communities

Parish nurses and faith-based communities carry several benefits for the populations they target performing a wide range of tasks and functions. First of all, parish nurses can deliver primary care of high quality due to their ability to engage the spiritual beliefs and worldviews of the individuals because of the basis of their lifestyle choices. This approach allows faith-based communities to create powerful impacts and deliver influential messages to their members affecting their attitudes towards health.

Secondly, parish nurses and faith-based communities are beneficial partners for the collaboration for contemporary medical organizations. To date, culture-sensitive and diverse approaches in medicine are widely applied due to their efficiency and flexibility. Faith-based communities are incredibly diverse and allow medical practitioners to reach out to various groups of people, some of which might be challenging to contact in any other way. Besides, engaging the individuals’ faith and culture, the healthcare service deliverers obtain better ways to establish contact with the patients and ensure their deep understanding of the delivered information.

Finally, with the help of parish nurses and faith-based communities, the medical practitioners have an opportunity to deliver the care of higher efficiency since they get to treat not only the people’s bodies but also their minds and spirits. This collaboration also provides the health care employees with the chance to explain diseases as the states harm the people not only on the physical but also on the emotional levels and ensure that the diseases are understood and fought on multiple levels this way maximizing the efficiency of treatments.

Parish Nurse’s Role in Faith Communities for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Working in a community, a parish nurse has many different functions. First of all, a parish nurse creates the important integration between faith and health finding a deeper meaning for healthy and unhealthy lifestyles. Secondly, a parish nurse works as a counselor consulting the members of the community about their health problems and answering questions. This aspect deals with health promotion using the education of the individuals about health risks and outcomes. One of the primary functions of a nurse in a faith-based community is to prevent illnesses providing the community members with knowledge concerning the threats to their health and ways to avoid them based on spiritual beliefs as the sources of motivation, inspiration, and empowerment.

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How Communities of Faith May Include Healthy People 2020 Guidelines for Program Planning

Healthy People 2020 is a diverse program covering a large range of health problems and aspects. The goals and guidelines of Healthy People 2020 can be included in the plans of faith-based community nursing. For example, since sex and sexuality issues are some of the most common questions the members of faith groups struggle with, parish nurses would deliver special education targeting such goals of Healthy People 2020 as the promotion of safer sexual behaviors and the emphasis on the community role in the support of the safe sexuality choices as opposed to social pressure or the improvement of health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. These goals walk hand in hand with the prevention of the STDs such as HIV, HPV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea among others (Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 2014). Besides, targeting communities of various sizes and types of parish nurses could strengthen the power of groups and their healing impact on their members.

Legal, Ethical, and Financial Issues Related to Parish Nursing

Legally, to act as a parish nurse a practitioner needs to be registered and licensed as a nurse by the Department of Licensing. Ethically, a parish nurse is required to stick to the non-invasive practice of medicine since they operate within culturally and spiritually sensitive groups of individuals. Besides, a parish nurse is to obey the authority of the pastor or the elders of the community. As for the financing of the parish nursing program, it can be rather modest, basically minimal. In many cases, the nurses volunteer their time, effort, and professional knowledge to provide services for free.


Parish nursing in faith-based communities is a relatively new practice that has gained popularity rapidly. It is a powerful tool helping to reach more individuals with the purpose of health promotion and disease prevention. Besides, parish nursing is highly diversity-sensitive and can target all kinds of populations. Moreover, it allows connecting and integrating health and faith for the most effective primary and holistic care. Finally, parish nursing is very flexible and multifunctional and can be used for all kinds of health care tasks.

Reference List

Bachhuber, T. M. (2006). The Collaboration between Parish Nurse and Public Health Programs in Connecticut. Web.

National Center for Cultural Competence. (2001). Sharing a Legacy of Caring: Partnerships between Health Care and Faith-Based Organizations. Web.

Patterson, D., Wehling, B., Mason, G. (2010). Parish nursing: Reclaiming the spiritual dimensions of care. American Nurse Today, 5(12).

Sexually Transmitted Diseases. (2014). Web.

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