Faith & Community: A Nursing Natural
Nursing’s ranking as the most trusted profession in America the past 8 years in Gallup’s annual Honesty & Ethics poll is testament to the reverence with which the public holds the caring profession.
It’s a sentiment nurses return each day when they go to work. In fact, for some that sense of commitment to caring about and for others combined with a belief in holistic nursing practice focused on the body, mind and spirit, i.e., “the whole patient,” is the driving force behind choosing a career in faith community nursing.
ADVANCE contributor Joan Fox Rose, MA, RN, explains in a top story feature running Jan. 13-26 on the ADVANCE for Nurses Web site how faith community nurses become qualified to establish health ministries and typically provide community education rather than hands-on nursing care. And while many are mature nurses, Rose reports, younger nurses are increasingly choosing the specialty.
In 2005, the American Nurses Association, which as early as 1977 recognized faith community nursing as a specialty, teamed with the Health Ministries Association on Faith Community Nursing: Scope & Standards of Practice. Those volumes “articulate the professional expectations of faith community nursing for all care levels and settings,” according to ANA and HMA.
On Jan. 6 this year, ANA released Faith Community Nursing: Developing a Quality Practice, written by Carol J. Smucker, PhD, RN, and Linda Weinberg, DNSC, CRNP, RN. Rooted in the 2005 publication, this new book “is organized as a quick reference for the busy faith community nurse” and includes information for developing a health ministry program.
Both books are available at http://www.nursesbooks.org/ the publishing arm of ANA.
In the newer book, the authors describe their personal experiences working daily in both Christian and Jewish congregational settings to emphasize the variety of faith community settings, the types of positions available and diverse educational backgrounds of faith community nurses.
In her article, Rose profiles health ministries in Jewish and Christian settings in Texas and Florida, but easily could have included any of the thousands of health ministries and faith community nurses serving myriad denominations around the country and enjoying what apparently can be a very satisfying career.
"… Job satisfaction for our nurses is off the scales,” confirms Roy Phillips, MSN, RN, director of a faith community nursing program in Texas serving an area the size of Kansas. “And [our] retention rates are phenomenal!"