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Church and Health Ministries About Us

(Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition)

The experience of wholeness, salvation or shalom.  The integration of the spiritual, physical, psychological, and social aspects to create a sense of harmony with self, others, the environment, and a higher power.  Health may be experienced in the presence or absence of disease or injury.
Health Ministry
The promotion of health and healing as part of the mission and service of a faith community to its members and the community it serves.

Faith Community Nurse
A registeredprofessional nursewho is actively licensed in a given state and who serves as a member of the staff of a faith community.  The faith community nurse promotes wholeness of the faith community, its groups, families, and individual members through the practice of nursing as defined by that state’s nurse practice act in jurisdiction in which the faith community nurse practices.

Health Minister
(Health Ministries Association Inc., 2011)
Any person who feels called to health ministry and is affirmed by his or her community in this calling.  May be someone other than a faith community nurse, clergy or chaplain, interested in the promotion of health, healing and wholeness.  Not required to have a professional health or ministry background.

The history of faith community nursing and health ministries 
Many faith communities in Greater Louisville are now part of an organized worldwide movement to encourage healthier lifestyles for their members. Promoting personal responsibility for health and wellness of body, mind and spirit is a natural role for faith communities.

Historically, there has been a blending of physical, mental and spiritual approaches to health and healing. Early civilizations turned to spiritual leaders, elders and others known for their ability to heal. The Old and New Testaments are filled with references to healing, and healing was central to Jesus' ministry.

Faith communities, where people congregate, form values and have trusting relationships, are reclaiming their role of promoting whole-person health among their members and people in surrounding communities.

Parish nursing, often called by the more inclusive name of faith community nursing, evolved in the United States as the result of a vision of Lutheran pastor and chaplain Granger Westberg. In the 1970s, Westberg worked with Chicago's Lutheran General Hospital to develop clinics that would treat the whole person. Westberg saw the role of the "nurse in the church" as the key to wholistic care. In 1984, Lutheran General developed the first paid parish nurse model with six nurses, each assigned to a church.

In the 1980s, Lutheran General created what is now the International Parish Nurse Resource Center to provide education and materials to parish nurse programs in Chicago and beyond. The Resource Center is now located at the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Furthering Westberg's vision, the Health Ministries Association in Dayton, Ohio, was formed in 1989 as a professional body with a membership of nurses and others dedicated to health ministries. This organization officially represents faith community nursing with the American Nurses Association. In 1995, these organizations collaborated to publish Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd edition 2012.
As a faith-based, not-for-profit health care organization, Norton Healthcare opened the Office of Church and Health Ministries to help faith communities begin or enhance health ministries.

Possible health ministries activities

  • Assistance with navigating the health care system
  • Blood drives
  • Blood pressure with emphasis on education and referral
  • Chronic disease education
  • Health and wellness education and promotion for all ages
  • Health fairs and clinics
  • Grief support
  • Mental health assessment and referrals
  • Nutrition counseling and weight loss education
  • Parenting classes
  • Visiting the sick and homebound

 Comparison of Health Ministry Team and Faith Community Nurse Roles 
(Health Ministries Association Inc., September 2012)

Health ministry team roles

  1. Identify existing ministries to avoid duplication and competition.
  2. Survey faith community to determine health interests.
  3. Prioritize needs of faith community.
  4. Facilitate programs and health initiatives without in-depth personal interaction or detail.
  5. Communicate health concepts to the faith community.

Faith community nurse roles

  1. Integrates faith and health into faith community's ministries.
  2. Provides health education and counseling to individuals and groups.
  3. Assesses and refers individuals and groups.
  4. Documents findings and outcomes.
  5. Acts as liaison for community health resources.
  6. Advocates healthy practices.
  7. Develops support groups and care teams.
  8. Complies with guidelines in Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice

Faith Community Nursing Education Preparation

The preferred minimum preparation for a registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse entering the specialty of faith community nursing includes:

  • A baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing with academic preparation in community or population focused nursing
  • Experience as a registered nurse using the nursing process
  • Knowledge of the health care assets and resources of the community
  • Specialized knowledge of spiritual beliefs and practices
  • Knowledge and skills to enable implementation of Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, Second Edition
  • A minimum 34 contact hours of continuing education content specific to faith community nursing

Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition, pg. 10-12

Certification through portfolio process 

In September, 2015, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the Health Ministries Association (HMA) announced a new certification through portfolio for Faith Community Nursing. The certification process will serve to validate faith community nurses’ unique knowledge, skills and contributions to patient care. More Information on the certification program is available

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