PARISH NURSING/HEALTH MINISTRY: AN EMERGING HEALTH DELIVERY SYSTEM
Parish Nurses are registered nurses who promote the wholistic health of their congregations, and reclaim the healing ministry of the faith community. Nurses committing to serve as Parish Nurses are required to possess a strong foundation in their chosen faith; be a part of a faith community and be licensed in the state where they practice. Parish Nurses are prepared to lead a health ministry, after completing an intensive curriculum offered in a retreat setting. The specialized training program is designed to strengthen professional nurses in their ability to function as Hands and Feet of our Lord.
The Mission of Parish Nursing is the intentional integration of the comforting practice of faith, and the caring practice of nursing that achieves wholeness, Mind, Body and Spirit.
Parish Nurses serve as: Integrators of Faith and Health, to bridge the understanding between the faith and health community; as Health Educator who teaches and informs congregations; as Personal Health Counselor who prays, listens and advises: as Coordinator of Support Groups who identifies faith community’ needs; as Referral Agent who partners with community and congregational resources to provide health solutions; as Health Advocate who provide support and guidance to individuals and families; and as Coordinator of Volunteers who train the Health Ministry volunteers.
The purposes of Parish Nursing/Health Ministry are: 1) to challenge the profession of nursing to reclaim the Spiritual Dimension of nursing care; 2) to challenge the health care system to provide Whole Person care; 3) to challenge the faith-based community to re-establish it’s Healing Ministry.
Macon County Parish Nursing/Health Ministry Coalition is an outgrowth of Ambulatory Behavioral Health Care, Inc. (ABHC), whose mission is to serve as a vehicle of innovative approaches to provide wholistic care to individuals and families in Macon County. The Coalition’s initial five members were trained through East Alabama Medical Center’s Parish Nursing Program, by Samford University’s certified training program. Through a partnership between ABHC and Tuskegee University’s EXPORT Center, twenty-three (23) nurses were trained and commissioned to practice in eighteen different churches in Macon County. The ultimate goal is to have a Parish Nurse in every church in Macon County and throughout Alabama’s Black Belt.
Thelma Walker-Brown, RN, MPH, EdD
Ambulatory Behavioral Health Care, Inc.
Tuskegee, Alabama 36083
Copyright Alabama State Nurses’ Association Jun-Aug 2005
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