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Chaplains/Parish Nurses

Chaplains offer hope

At Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, we understand the anxiety that families experience when children face medical uncertainties.

Sometimes illness of a child can lead to spiritual and emotional distress. Whether medical conditions are potentially life-threatening or life-altering, emotional and spiritual support is crucial to coping.

Chaplains strive to promote spiritual health through empathy and presence.

Additionally, semi-annual memorial services take place at the Children's Memory Garden, providing healing support for family and staff.

Parish Nurse Program

History

The Parish Nurse Program began its development in 1997, and Lee Health quickly acknowledged it as an important health and spiritual initiative to connect the health system with the community.

We developed a steering committee and a coordinator to educate nurses and to provide leadership.

We use these names interchangeably: parish nurse, faith community nurse (FCN) and congregational nurse.

Registered nurses with active licenses complete a foundations curriculum that follows the Scope and Standards of Faith Community Nursing set by the American Nurses Association. About 50 percent of FCNs are in a paid model and 50 percent are in a volunteer model of ministry.

The decision regarding paid or volunteer is at the discretion of the faith community leadership and the nurse.

Current Program

Faith community nurses who are partners with Lee Health meet monthly for a collegial, educational, and spiritual connection. 

Community outreach and congregational health and wellness are primary functions of the group.

We accomplish this through community health fairs, various health programming, and direct health counseling and education. Parish nursing continues to be important as part of the continuum of care between Lee Health and the community. 

Our Roles

Parish nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing, and its primary focus is the intentional care of the spirit. Faith and health care are clearly linked, and spiritual care is central in promoting holistic health.

Parish nurses provide holistic health services addressing the needs of the body, mind and spirit.

The parish nurse roll provides a unique alliance between faith and health and is an important liaison between pastor, parishioners, health care system, physician, and community resources.

There is a difference between a nurse in a church and a parish nurse--not every person is called or qualified. The parish nurse bridges two disciplines, nursing and ministry, and must be prepared in and responsible to both.

Qualities needed for this role include a deep commitment to their own spirituality as well as the healing mission of the church.

Determination of spiritual maturity is evidenced through the completion of a spiritual autobiography and interview process with the pastor, parish nurse director, and other faith community members.

Completion of the endorsed Basic Parish Nurse Preparation Course is required, in addition to attending monthly PN meetings to share worship, experiences, resources, encouragement, and organizational issues.

The new "Scope and Standards of Faith Community Nursing" states that the preferred minimum preparation for an RN or ARNP entering this specialty of nursing is a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing, experience in using the nursing process and knowledge of community resources.

The majority of Parish Nurses are BSN prepared and several have Masters with degrees in nursing and business administration. In addition, all of our Parish Nurses have taken the Basic Parish Nurse Preparation Course that is endorsed by the International Parish Nurse Resource Center.