The pastoral care nurse
A pastoral care nurse:
- is an experienced registered nurse or enrolled nurse with current registration
- has had, or is willing to undertake, some theological education
- works in a congregation, parish, church school or aged-care facility.
A retired nurse who has not maintained registration, or a person with a background in some other health-related profession, may serve as a pastoral health care worker.
The role of a pastoral care nurse includes the following:
- initiates and leads and/or participates in health-related programs that assist members of the congregation and community to achieve wholeness of body, mind and spirit
- integrates faith and health for people in a way that is seldom offered outside the church. The spiritual dimension of the person is central to the practice of pastoral care nursing
- makes home/hospital/nursing home visits to parishioners and others, as needed
- refers people to community resources (bereavement support, legal services, alternative medicines, etc) and is not involved in hands-on nursing or the duplication of services that are already available
- supports the involvement of volunteers in the congregation’s health ministry by linking people who can help, encouraging them to build on and strengthen their capacities to understand and care for one another
- counsels individuals through a ministry of careful listening, conversation and prayer, encouraging and empowering individuals to become more active partners in managing their personal health
- partners with the pastor and other parish ministries to enhance the health, life and ministry of the congregation.
Parish Nursing has been supported by the Lutheran Nurses Association of Australia for some time. A parish nurse is a qualified nurse who also has theological training and serves in a holistic ministry in a congregation (or other entity). The LCA has a distance education program if you are interested in finding out more. Click here to download the PDF information booklet.
Each year, the global network Lutheran Parish Nurses International organises a week-long study tour to a country where Parish Nursing has been established. The 2022 study tour was in Alice Springs on 22–28 September. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org