Parish Nursing is a holistic approach to the care of individuals in a faith based community with Judeo-Christian values. It is a ministry that cares for a person’s mind, body, and spirit with the belief that God wishes us to experience healing and wholeness. The focus of the practice is on wellness, the prevention of disease, and the promotion of health. This is accomplished by the organization and promotion of activities that provide information and teachings that deal with ones lifestyle that ultimately affects the physical, spiritual, emotional, and social well being of an individual.

Parish nurses, who are registered nurses that have been specially trained at the university level, along with attending conferences and workshops, meet these goals in a number of ways. To begin with, dealing with the sick with a hands-on approach such as in a hospital or home care setting is not the task or responsibility of the parish nurse. To do so, would be outside the realm of the practice. Rather, a parish nurse will develop programs, health fairs, blood pressure screenings, and informative lectures, for the congregation and the surrounding community, along with one-on-one counseling and assessment of one’s health care needs. A parish nurse may also assist the minister of a congregation with follow-up visits as requested to the home bound, those recovering from illness, or with the birth of a new baby.

Parish nurses rarely work alone. A health ministry team needs to be developed within a church in order to help with the assessment needs of the congregation, assist with activities, and help with networking to bring in speakers, supplies, funds, and ideas.

Here at Saint Andrew, a Health Ministry team is in place, but volunteers are always needed to serve on this team. You do not need any medical knowledge, just a desire to improve the health and wholeness of the congregation and the surrounding community, and to assist the parish nurses in planning and implementing the needs expressed by the congregation. Presently the team is working on a program to encourage healthy habits through exercise and proper nutrition, along with spiritual enrichment through reading scripture, attending Worship, and small groups. The team continually looks at ways to educate and facilitate lifestyles that promote wholeness through newsletters, bulletin boards, and programs.

Parish nursing is not the practice of one, but the whole congregation with the parish nurse being the educator, organizer and facilitator for the practice. With this is mind, we need your input and help. Soon a survey will be distributed that will focus on the needs and desires of the congregation as we continue to setup our program here at Saint Andrew. Please be faithful in returning the survey as your ideas and desires may not only help you, but may also help others.