Faith community nursing is a nursing practice specialty that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit, promotion of an integrative model of health, and the prevention and minimization of illness within the context of a faith community. Such practitioners consider the spiritual, physical, psychological, and social aspects of an individual to create a sense of harmony with self, others, the environment, and a higher power. Consequently, healing is the process of integrating the individual’s body, mind, and spirit to create wholeness, health, and a sense of well-being for that person.
Faith Community Nursing, also known as Parish Nursing, Parrish Nursing, Congregational Nursing or Church Nursing, is a movement of over 15,000 registered nurses, primarily in the United States. Parish nursing began in the mid-1980s in Chicago through the efforts of Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg as a reincarnation of the faith community nursing outreach done by religious orders, such as the "Parish Deaconesses" in Europe and America in the 1800s. Parish nursing is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the historic practice of professional nursing, and is consistent with the basic assumptions of many faiths that we care for self and others as an expression of God's love. However, it is not only available to Christian congregations. There are Jewish Congregational Nurses, Muslim Crescent Nurses, and RNs serving in similar capacities within other faith traditions.
Of the several thousand faith community nurses, only about 35% in the US are compensated financially for their ministry. In the United States, faith community nurses typically belong to the Health Ministries Association which is the national professional membership organization for faith community nurses. They also have available the International Parish Nurse Resource Center and the American Nurses Association, among others.