Professional Growth: Nursing in the faith community
Marilyn D. Harris MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

January 2011 
Volume 41  Number 1
Pages 46 - 48
  PDF Version Available!

WHAT CAN FAITH community nurses (FCNs) do to help patients? Common interventions include: * listening to and praying with people who feel rejected and lonely * sharing time, prayer, and tangible resources (such as food vouchers) with people who are experiencing financial challenges * providing companionship to the bereaved * supporting family members during a crisis * encouraging good health practices for body and spirit by writing articles in community newsletters and bulletins.FCNs are members of a community's health ministry team. This article describes the vital role they can play in any faith community.The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized parish nursing as a specialty when it published the Scope and Standards of Parish Nursing Practice in 1998, which was updated and renamed Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice in 2005. The ANA renamed this nursing specialty faith community nursing to create an umbrella term covering parish, congregational, health ministry, and health and wellness nurses.1,2The ANA defines faith community nursing as a nursing specialty "that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community."2 The FCN shares information, encourages healthy lifestyles, provides support and encouragement, and intervenes before a person's health problems become acute or require hospitalization.Many times when adults consult with the FCN about physical symptoms, they have underlying concerns about the loss of hope, purpose, or trust. The FCN uses spiritual interventions such as listening, prayer, scripture, presence, and touch to promote a sense of harmony with oneself and a higher power.According to the ANA, the FCN's role is to provide health teaching and health promotion that are appropriate for the faith community and the patient's spiritual beliefs and practices.2In 2010, nurse-led programs continued to grow in multiple faith

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