1. Hinton, Sharon T.

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Parish faith community nursing is defined as "the specialized practice of professional nursing that ~focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting wholistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community" (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, 2005, p. 1).


Several options and curricula exist for obtaining the additional training required to become a parish nurse. Most parish nurses use the curriculum developed by a group of nursing faculty working in partnership with the International Parish Nurse Resource Center offered at more than 140 nursing schools and training programs worldwide.


The Concordia University curriculum is another example of parish nurse basic preparation programs. Courses are offered in week-long retreat settings as college-based studies, as week-end continuing education offerings, and as online as distance education courses. How the basic preparation course is structured varies to fit the needs of the participants.


Be sure that the curriculum you choose is approved by a credentialing entity such as the American Nurses Association or a state affiliate. Courses offered by a college or university may be at the bachelor's or master's level or used as continuing education. A few offer master's level degrees or certificate programs specializing in parish nursing. Basic topics include:


* Health, healing, and wholeness


* History and philosophy


* Legal and ethical aspects


* Self-care


* Individual, family, and faith community assessment


* Functions of a parish nurse including integrator of faith and health, health counselor/advisor, health educator, health advocate, referral agent, coordinator of volunteers


* Developing and accessing support groups


* Getting started


* Functioning within a ministerial team


* Health promotion and wellness


* Prayer and worship


* Grief and loss


* Family violence


* Documentation and recordkeeping