A Ministry of Fraciscan Sisters of Allegany

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Faith Community (Parish) Nursing

The Faith Community Nursing Program at St. Joseph's Hospital offers a unique partnership between two healing entities - our hospital and the faith community. We assist congregations in developing health ministries that promote health and wholeness by addressing the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the congregation.

BayCare Health System began its support of Faith Community Nursing at St. Anthony's Hospital in 1991, under the guidance of Allegany Sister Dolores Thorndike. Currently, the program is offered throughout all BayCare hospitals and is affiliated with the International Parish Nurse Resource Center. BayCare Health System became an IPNRC Educational Partner in 2008, further strengthening the commitment to this specialty practice by offering the Basic Parish Nurse Preparation Course in the Tampa Bay area.

What is a Faith Community Nurse?

Recognized as a specialty by the American Nurses Association, Faith Community (Parish) Nurses are pastorally called, spiritually mature, licensed registered nurses. Focusing on the intentional care of the spirit, the nurse blends the client's faith and definition of living well with the science of medicine to create a quality of life that is acceptable to the client. The Faith Community Nurse also collaborates with faith leaders, church members and community agencies to provide an environment where healing and advocacy can occur. Completing a Basic Parish Nurse Preparation Course lays the necessary foundation for a successful health ministry.

What are the specific roles of the Faith Community Nurse?

  • Health Educator
  • Health Counselor
  • Advocate
  • Resource Liaison
  • Developer of Support Groups
  • Coordinator of Volunteers
  • Integrator of Spirituality and Health

What is a Health Ministry Team?

A Faith Community Nursing ministry is not a ministry of one person; it is a ministry of the congregation. The main role of a health ministry team is to develop the form and function of the health ministry, then to interpret and make the ministry visible to the congregation. The health ministry team should be made up of a group of people from various backgrounds who have a strong interest in health and wellness. Having a Faith Community Nurse as a member of the team is encouraged but not mandatory.

What happens when you combine the two?

A Faith Community Nurse greatly enhances the scope of a health ministry team by providing the professional services and expertise of a registered nurse through one-on-one counseling, education and advocacy.

What are the Congregational Benefits of a Faith Community Nurse or Health Ministry Team?

  • Allows the church to reaffirm its role in ministering to the whole person
  • Enhances the ability of the church to respond to the health needs of the congregation, impacting the wellness of the faith community
  • Increases awareness of and access to community resources
  • Promotes access to health care expertise and services

For more information, call (813) 243-7021.

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