Faith Community Nursing
The purpose of faith community nursing is to nurture the human spirit through health education, spiritual support and linking the needs of the whole person to resources within the congregation, community and health care system. Advocate Health Care was an early leader in the faith community nurse model and supported a paid model in partnership with congregations throughout the metropolitan Chicago area for many years.
Advocate currently partners with several congregations in communities experiencing economic challenges to employ nurses who serve members of the congregation and the surrounding community. These nurses
- Provide health education
- Connect people with resources
- Facilitate referrals for services
- Help people navigate the health care system
- Intentionally care for the spirit and integrate spiritual care into health promotion
- Organize support groups and systems
- Assist in creating conversations around end-of-life care and other critical health care decision-making
The nurses working in this partnership model work creatively, passionately and wholistically every day with those who are most in need and who are often not able to connect with the services and programs that are available to them. They provide for people’s most basic human needs for food, shelter, a place to be warm and safe, love and compassionate connection.
AAH Faith Community Nurses serve in individual congregations and in neighborhood networks. In many cases, the salary of the nurse is shared between AAH and the congregation or network.
Faith Community Nurse Support Network
Advocate Health Care established the Faith Community Nurse Support Network in 2002 to provide faith community nurses with support services, materials, faith community nurse expertise, on-going education, spiritual support, networking opportunities and documentation resources in support of the people they serve. These nurses may be paid by their congregations or serve as unpaid professionals and serve faith communities throughout the Advocate service area.
The Faith Community Nurse Support Network is open to any faith community nurse who would like to continue learning, renew their spirit, and connecting with others doing similar work. There is no fee to join the network.
For more information about Advocate’s Faith Community Nurse Program or our Faith Community Nurse Support Network, please contact:
Rev. Kirsten Peachey
Director of Faith and Health Partnerships
Advocate Aurora Health
3075 Highland Parkway
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515
View our video that explores the role of the faith community nurse:
Rooted in Advocate Health Care’s decades-long experience in developing and supporting the specialty practice of faith community nursing, this film provides an intimate look at the role of the Faith Community Nurse. The film explores the diversity of the nurse’s role and demonstrates the impact of a faith community nurse on health and healing. The film has been developed specifically as an educational resource for nurses, clergy, health care systems, and communities of faith.
Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing (formerly International Parish Nurse Resource Center)
Parish nurses, or Faith Community Nurses, are licensed, registered nurses who practice wholistic health for self, individuals and the community using nursing knowledge combined with spiritual care. They function in paid and unpaid positions as members of the pastoral team in a variety of religious faiths, cultures, and countries. The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of the faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. Their practice is governed by the nurse practice act of their state; the Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice; Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards; and the Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements (for nurses). The Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing provides education, consultation, and research to support the growth and development of parish nursing around the World. For more information, please visit www.churchhealthcenter.org.
The Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing knowledge-sharing platform has welcomed more than 1,000 members worldwide. Within seven days of completing this brief questionnaire, you will receive an email inviting you to join.
The Health Ministries Association (HMA) is a national organization that encourages, supports and empowers leaders in the integration of faith and health in their local communities. HMA is also the national professional membership organization for faith community nurses. HMA holds national and regional conferences and summits on health ministry, works with the American Nurses Association to establish and maintain scope and standards of practice for faith community nurses, and nurtures regional networks of those involved in health ministry work.
View a video that contains an overview of HMA’s history and work.