Parish Nurse

Parish Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
Parish nursing is a specialized nursing position that is performed within a parish or faith community.  The parish nurse performs all the typical duties of a general registered nurse along with some additional responsibilities.  The parish nurse helps patients achieve a balanced lifestyle, often providing holistic health care.

A parish nurse is also sometimes called a faith community nurse.  Parish nurses may work in a particular parish setting or may be part of a local community health center.

The parish nurse promotes good health within the values and beliefs of the local faith community.  Parish nurses perform many duties including:

  • Educates parishioners about various health issues
  • Acts as a liaison between the church and the community
  • Teaches through groups and volunteer organizations
  • Offers holistic healing of the mind, body, and spirit
  • Advocates and provides resources for those in need


How to Become a Parish Nurse

Parish nurses are first and foremost registered nurses.  To become a registered nurse you must complete a university nursing program and receive a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree, BSN.  Upon completion of the program, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. Then, nurses will need to acquire plenty of experience in the nursing field by working in a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility.  Parish nurses are typically general nurses so it is essential to gather plenty of experience working with all types of illnesses and injuries.


Parish Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

Those wishing to go become parish nurses must first complete a nursing program through an accredited university.  Aspiring nurses must earn a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree (BSN).  It is helpful to take some courses that focus on faith and counseling in order to add to the skills necessary to become a parish nurse.  Some students may consider choosing a faith-based university to complete their studies.  Parish nurses must learn how to successfully combine faith and medicine.  Students may choose to take curriculum that has been developed specifically for nurses through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center (IPNRC).  After earning a BSN degree, nurses must take the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered.

Parish nurses or Faith Community Nurses (FCN) are not formally certified by any agency at the current time. However, faith-based committees are working with the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC) to establish credentialing criteria for this field.


Parish Nursing Salary and Career Outlook

A parish nurse is part of the registered nursing community.  The nursing profession is a growing field and is expected to keep growing.  The health care industry is in continued need of high quality nursing professionals and this includes the parish nurse.  It is important to know that not all churches or parishes employ a nursing staff and when they do it is typically a single nurse position.  Even so, those who are interested in combining their faith with health care, the parish nurse position is a good fit.

Some nurses work part time or on a volunteer basis in a parish. Some churches do not have a budget that includes payment for a full time nurse.  This specialty nurse can expect a lower than average salary for this health care position.  A typical salary for this type of position may be less than $52,000 per year.