What is a Parish Nurse?: August 4, 2019

It’s a specialty of nursing that takes place outside the hospital. “When the mind, body, and spirit are in balance then good health can happen,” said Nancy Roberts, a parish nurse with Lee Health.

Good health is exactly what Roberts helps faith communities achieve. “What a parish nurse does is she looks at the health of her congregation and tries to bring programs that are healthy, maybe visits people in their home, assess them, what their needs are and then makes referrals to things that they might need,” she said.

A parish nurse is a registered nurse who works in faith communities to encourage both physical and spiritual health. Lee Health currently has 30 parish nurses at different community churches. “Lee Health has had a parish nursing program since 1999. It’s a very special program. There are about 15,000 parish nurses in the world in countries such as Germany, England, Australia, Africa, and Pakistan,” said Roberts.

The program provides a bridge from the health system into the community. “Not only can I help you understand what’s going on physically in your body, but I can help you to understand the emotional and spiritual part,” she said.

Offering members of the community a medical expert who understands and respects their spiritual beliefs.