What Is the Parish Nursing Certification Program?


Quick Answer

Parish nurse certification is a faith-based service option for licensed registered nurses. This certification represents an integration of spiritual beliefs, health science knowledge and nursing skills, qualifying a nurse to serve a congregation or parish. Parish nurses assess health care needs, provide education and assist parishioners with health-related behavioral changes.

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Full Answer

Certification for parish nurses is available through the American Nurse Credentialing Center in collaboration with the Health Ministries Association. Known as Faith Community Nursing, certification through this program requires extensive documentation of a nurse's skills and experiences, which is rigorously screened by a panel of nurse experts. Two years of nursing practice and at least 1,000 hours of logged nursing work, along with continuing education and additional training or research are required for certification.

Faith communities employ certified parish nurses to liaison with church members. The parish nurse promotes healthy lifestyles, works to prevent illness and disease, helps church members integrate their religious beliefs and spirituality as part of the healing process and often assists in the coordination of their care. Coordinating transportation so a house-bound congregant with multiple sclerosis can get to a weekly support group is one type of task performed by parish nurses. Parish nurses also train and support volunteers within the faith community to provide outreach and support for fellow members experiencing illnesses or other physical limitations.

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