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Lee Health Welcomes 12 New Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) to Serve at All Four Acute Care Hospitals

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(Fort Myers, Fla. – Aug. 22, 2023) --- Lee Health is pleased to welcome 12 new Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) this week to serve at all four of its acute care hospitals, Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital.

Lee Health's Faith Community Nurse (FCN) program has served the community for 25 years. Faith community nursing is a unique, specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.

An FCN must have a current registered nursing license from the state where they practice. All 12 new FCNs recently completed a four-day training program at St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church in Fort Myers.

Faith Community Nursing is designed to meet the needs of a patient’s mind, body and spirit. Bridging the two disciplines of nursing and ministry, FCNs serve as liaisons between the clergy and their congregations, the healthcare system, physicians and other community agencies and resources. In their role, FCNs can function as health counselors, health educators, health advocates, resource agents, volunteer coordinators, support group developers, and integrators of faith and health.

The program has grown significantly from the first covenant with St. Columbkille Catholic Church to more than 20 nurses serving more than 20 faith communities in Lee County.

“We are excited to grow our program every year and I know these 12 new FCNs are going to make an impact in our community, proving essential care and resources to our patients,” said Barbara Kilbride, Faith Community Nurse Program Manager for Lee Health. “Our faith community nurses are passionate about helping someone understand what is troubling them, listening to their needs and offering compassion, knowledge and prayer. It is a significant benefit for patients to know they are not alone and someone is there to address their needs holistically throughout their healthcare journey.”

Faith Community Nurses also work to help reduce hospital readmissions, lower healthcare costs and improve patient safety and outcomes. They focus on high-risk diagnoses, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes management/teaching and reducing falls in the home.

In just seven months, from October 2021 through April 2022, FCNs tracked 2,355 hours during which they conducted outreach and coordinated activities and programs. They also distributed 13,685 pieces of educational material, 2,230 food pantry items and 2,650 lunch programs. Faith Community Nurses had 1,585 occasions of 15 minutes or more one-on-one time with patients and wrote 46 educational articles. During these months, FCNs also made 290 referrals to a variety of Lee Health, community and church resources.

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