Saint Thomas Health Faith Community Nursing Program to hold classes for nurses

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:55 PM

Saint Thomas Health will again offer the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing, a course that provides basic preparation for registered nurses to become faith community nurses.  

Faith community or “parish” nursing is a specialized area of independent nursing practice in which registered nurses care for individuals and groups within a congregation to promote overall wellness in the community. 

The Saint Thomas Health FCN program will hold the 32-hour course March 14-15 and March 28-29 at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital. Classes are open to registered nurses throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama and will be from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. with free breakfast and lunch included. 

Class fees were reduced through support of Saint Thomas Health System and the Tennessee Department of Health. Class fee is $100 and includes all educational materials and meals. Clergy support from a candidates’ local church is recommended, and partial scholarships are available. 

Faith community nursing embraces the historical connection between faith and health. FCN is recognized by the American Nurses Association as a specialized area of nursing that prepares registered nurses to serve as a member of the ministry staff of a faith community. Emerging as one of the fastest growing movements in nursing today, FCN focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting wholistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.

The Foundations Course is based on ANA’s “Scope and Standards of Practice for Faith Community Nursing” and meets the requirements established by the International Parish Nurse Resource Center. The foundation’s course focuses on the primary functions of a parish nurse, including integrator of faith and health, personal and group health counselor, health educator, referral agent, health advocate, coordinator of volunteers and developer of support groups.  It is organized around four core concepts:  spirituality, professionalism, holistic health and community. 

“Being healthy includes spiritual, mental and physical health,” said Heather Wills, parish nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville,. “As a recent graduate of the program I am so excited to know that, as a parish nurse, I can help my church and community lead healthier lives.”

Faith community nurses help their congregations in many ways, including health education, resource and referral services, post-discharge home visits reducing potential for return hospitalization, counseling or support groups, health fairs, blood pressure clinics and parenting classes.

“Like Heather, many nurses in our area cherish the opportunity that faith community nursing offers to connect their professional skills with faith and prayer to promote whole person health,” said Mary E. Donnelly, faith community nursing liaison. 

A second class will be offered for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course Sept. 12-13 and Sept. 26-27. More details will be available as that date approaches.

To register, visit sths.com and click on “Classes and Events.” Select March 14 and click the course name. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your registration. 

For more information, contact Donnellyat mary.donnelly@sth.org or call 615-222-6603.  Also visit sthealth.com/fcn. 

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