Mary and Pat, registered nurses with similar nursing education, practice, and faith backgrounds, registered for a basic parish nurse preparation course. Mary participated at the encouragement of her pastor and the congregation's health cabinet/wellness council. Pat attended because she felt a calling to parish nursing. Pat's pastor knew little about parish nursing but felt it would be a good program to offer in the church. Mary and Pat completed the program and returned home, eager to serve in their churches.
Two years later, Mary is actively working 10 hours per week as an unpaid parish nurse in her congregation. She has developed support groups, visited parishioners in their homes, made referrals to healthcare providers, and offered spiritual support to her faith community. Pat is working sporadically in her congregation as an unpaid parish nurse. She has met resistance in developing health promotion programs and believes pastoral staff and parishioners do not seem to understand the role.
Assistant Professor in the Nursing Department and Director of the Parish Nurse Center at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She is enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and practices as an unpaid parish nurse at Hope Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND. (Bokinskie)
Associate Professor and Chair of the Nursing Department at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She presents on the basic parish nurse preparation course and practices as an unpaid parish nurse at Atonement Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND. (Kloster)
We are thankful to Dakota Medical Foundation, Fargo, ND, for providing grant support for this project.