What are other roles of the Parish Nurse?

  • provides support to the leadership team within the church especially when they are called upon to help people with health related issues
  • meets the Standards of Practices and Core Competencies as outlined by CARNA (College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta)
  • conforms to the CAPNM Parish Nurse Core Competencies list
  • integrator of faith and health
  • health educator
  • personal health counselor
  • referral agent and liaison with congregational and community resources
  • developer of support groups
  • heath advocate
  • responds to the health concerns of the people in her congregation and community

Professional boundaries for Parish Nurses

  • A parish nurse is not a physician. She will not provide medical diagnosis or medical treatment.
  • A parish nurse is not a home care nurse. A parish nurse will not dispense medications or provide treatments prescribed by a physician.
  • A parish nurse is not a therapist. She will not do physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietary therapy
    or psychotherapy.
  • A parish nurse is not a clergyperson. A parish nurse usually does not hold a degree in theology, although she may have some further education in theology or clinical pastoral education. All parish nurses come to the field with a deep
    spiritual commitment.
  • The Parish nurse is not in competition for roles already in existence in a congregation.

When should you call your Parish Nurse?

  • If you or a family member is sick.
  • If you don’t understand something your doctor has told you.
  • If you are concerned about your parent, children, family members or friends.
  • If you are lonely.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • If you or someone you know is going for surgery.
  • If you are dealing with a loss or death.
  • If you are in need of prayer.
  • If you are struggling with a relationship.
  • If you are looking for ways to improve your health.
  • If you need someone to listen.

History of Parish Nursing

Our Proud History

The 1980’s began a new movement in healthcare. Diagnosis related groups (DRGS) determined what a diagnosis should require in cost reimbursement through Medicare. Wellness outcomes are not predictable and many patients were requiring more care than medical reimbursement wanted to provide. As a result of this change in healthcare management, patients were being discharged earlier and sicker.

In 1983 Lutheran Chaplain Granger Westberg proposed an experimental program to assist with medical crisis. He enlisted six Chicago congregations, four Lutheran and two Catholic to hire a nurse to care for parishioners. (Granger discovered that nurses made the easiest and most natural connection with parishioners.) Chicago Hospital Lutheran General agreed to sponsor the program by paying 3/4ths of the salary the first year, half the second year and 1/4th the third year. By the fourth year, the church was paying the full salary and more churches could be added to the program.

The Parish Nurse provided support for those discharged early from the hospital and assisted in referring congregants to health care facilities when needed. Health promotion became a necessary to component of the health and healing ministry. Many congregations and denominations now have parish nurses. Many churches use the model of incorporating a parish nurse as a staff member as developed by Granger Westberg. Hospitals and care facilities are finding parish nursing as a good source of outreach and prevention of unnecessary visits to the emergency room or admission to a care facility.