The parish nursing practice holds that all people are sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity. Compelled by these beliefs, the parish nurse serves with compassion and mercy. When considering health care holistically, a parish nurse can complete the circle and round out the full effect of health care. A congregational health ministry is an integral part of ensuring that the healing ministry of the church is fully realized. While a congregational health program can be started without a parish nurse, the special training and certification of a parish nurse is crucial for a fully realized health ministry. Special training is required to achieve parish nurse status. Contact your state’s Board of Nursing to learn more.
While not specifically “chaplain” in orientation, the ministry of parish nursing in congregational health has many similarities to the work of chaplains. Thus, the Jurisdiction for the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy has developed an appropriate residence for this ministry – not for regulation – but for networking. The parish nurse, in collaboration with a faith community’s pastoral staff and congregants, participates in the ongoing transformation of the organization into a source of health and healing. Through partnerships with community health resources, a parish nurse fosters new and creative responses to health and wellness concerns.