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Churches have been promoting health and wholeness for centuries through worship, music, sharing and caring. A new dimension is the addition of the registered nurse—a parish nurse—to the ministry team.
Nurses in our area are bringing their expertise and spirit of caring into churches where they can assist members of the congregation to become more aware of their health and move toward a fuller sense of wholeness.
The parish nurse ministers to the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the congregation. This is accomplished through health education, health screenings, making appropriate referrals to hospitals and local agencies, serving as a personal health counselor and visiting people who are homebound, hospitalized or in a nursing home.
By holding office hours at parishes, contacting people by phone and making home visits, the parish nurse establishes a relationship with each individual that is personal and consistent. Very importantly, parish nurses are special among healthcare personnel because of their ability to hear and respond to the symptoms of spiritual distress.