Congregational Versus Institutional Parish Nurses


An ever-increasing number of hospitals are hiring RNs to serve as institution-based parish nurses. These programs usually offer quality services that provide wonderful benefits to the community through local congregations.

Since this is a growing trend in our country, why should a church have its own parish nursing program? The answer to this question is found in our foundational principles of parish nursing. A parish nurse is not just a nurse in the parish. A parish nurse is rightly part of the congregational ministry to its members as well as a potential arm of its outreach effort. A truly effective parish nursing program must be directed by the pastor and incorporated into the overall ministry of the congregation. In other words, if a church simply wants some nursing services for the members, then an institutional parish nurse might serve those needs. When congregational leaders realize that parish nurses serve both a medical and a spiritual role, they usually conclude that their congregation should have its own parish nursing program.

The institutional parish nurses are wonderfully dedicated and truly happy to serve in their unique roles. It is easy to understand the reasons for growth in this area. Congregations that want more information on starting their own parish nursing program can contact the WELS Nurses Association.


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