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Faith Community/Parish Nursing: What's in a Name?

Patterson, Deborah L.; Slutz, Mary

doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0b013e318200317c
Feature: parish nursing

ABSTRACT In the Christian faith tradition, using "Parish Nurse" to describe the form of nursing based in a Christian congregation is both historic and descriptive of the type of nursing specialty practice and ministry that reaches within the Church and out into the wider community. Reflecting on the work of Granger Westberg, the Scope and Standards of Practice for this specialty, and examining the etiology of the word "parish," the authors argue that retaining the language "Parish Nurse" promotes a broader understanding of the purpose of this specialty practice, not only as inreach or outreach on behalf of a church or health system, but as a focused and integrated "parish" ministry.

In the Christian tradition, do the titles "Faith Community Nurse" and "Parish Nurse" convey the same thing? Supplemental digital content is available online.

Deborah L. Patterson, MMus., MHA, DMin, is Executive Director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center (IPNRC) and author of several books on parish nursing and health ministries, including The Healing Word: Preaching and Teaching Health Ministry.

Mary Slutz, BS, RN, MHCA, is Director of Symposium and Resources for the IPNRC where she oversees the development of resources for parish nurses and congregations. She also organizes the annual Westberg Symposium.

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