Parish Nurse or Faith Community Nursing
Learn about parish nursing careers and education.
Parish nursing is the intentional integration of the practice of nursing with the beliefs of a religious community. A parish nurse is a registered nurse (RN) specialist who encourages physical and spiritual health and wholeness by developing and leading programs within faith communities.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines Faith Community Nursing (FCN) as “the specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.”
Rather than dealing primarily with sickness in a faith community, parish nurses focus on wellness, disease prevention and health promotion. Responsibilities may include:
- Health education and teaching
- Personal health counseling for faith community members
- Coordinating with community health resources and acting as a church liaison
- Training and coordinating volunteers in support services
- Organizing health support groups
- Assessing congregational and community health needs
- Responding to health-related issues such as substance abuse, addictions and violence within congregational families or the surrounding community
Parish Nurse Education
To become a parish nurse, you must first become a licensed registered nurse (RN) by one of three educational paths:
- Getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing
- Getting an associate’s degree in nursing
- Getting a diploma from an approved nursing school program
You may then choose from a variety of specialized educational programs specific to parish nursing or faith community nursing. These include the following programs:
- Short parish nurse preparation courses
- A master’s program that integrates nursing and faith ministry
- A doctoral program that integrates nursing and faith ministry
Can I Get Certified?
If you already hold a Faith Community Nursing Certification through the American Nurse Credentialing Center, you can renew your certification, but the agency is no longer offering it as a new certification.
Can I Get Certified?