|"Parish Nursing has provided an opportunity to serve the members of
our church family by providing health education and support to maintain physical,
emotional and spiritual health. It has been a privilege to serve in this
Shirley Walker, Community Parish Nurse
First Presbyterian Church
he concept of parish nursing was introduced by
Reverend Granger Westberg in 1984. The idea was simple, to help a congregation live a
healthy life. His goal was to provide non-physical nursing services to church
congregations and help people of faith understand the importance of caring for their
physical as well as their spiritual health.
Today, the spirit of this program has grown throughout the United States and central
Illinois is fortunate to have one of the strongest programs in the country. The Community
Parish Nurse Program, through grants and support from the Carle Foundation, educates and
supports more that 500 nurses in more than 32 counties and 233 congregations.
As the leader of a faith family, it is almost certain that you are responsible for the
spiritual development of individuals and families in a variety of age groups, life stages,
and social and economic circumstances. By having one or more parish nurses in your
congregation, you can provide more support and education to families, more care and
resources to the ill and elderly.
A parish nurse will provide emotional support and information for members in times of
illness. She will visit those in the hospital or at home, helping them understand their
situation and progress. She may provide health screenings like blood pressure checks or
information about prenatal services and community resources to young families. Parish
nurses are equipped with the knowledge of their profession and access to health providers
and community resources, empowering them to add a new dimension to ministry. Read About
the Community Parish Nurse Program to discover more services a parish nurse could provide
in your faith community.