184 Court Street, 2nd Floor, Binghamton, NY 13901
Parish Nursing - an old idea with a new twist.
Think about the places in our community for health care.
Is your faith community among those places? Actually,
churches are not new to health care. They started many of our first
hospitals from religious-based organizations. In fact religious
sisters and deaconess's were many of our first nurses. Faith
communities were the organizations that cared for people in need,
brought people together and shared the joy of life with them.
People consist of body, mind and spirit and all three components
need care for ideal wellness. Parish nurse ministers provide the
link between traditional health care and spiritual health.
Lourdes Hospital started a parish nurse program in November of
1994. The program was modeled after the one started by a Lutheran
minister, Rev. Granger Westberg (1913-1999) in the mid 1980s. He is
considered the father of parish nursing and founder of the
International Parish Nurse Resource Center. He believed that
"nurses have one foot in the sciences and the other in the
humanities," and that good health is more than the absence of
In 1998, the American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized parish
nursing as a specialty role. In 2005, the ANA changed the
role to "Faith Community Nursing" to be more inclusive of all
faiths. According to the ANA definition, a parish nurse is a
registered professional nurse who serves as a member of the
ministry staff of a faith community. Their role is to promote
health and wholeness of the community.
Most of the diseases in our country are "lifestyle diseases."
One's spirituality plays an important role in wellness. A
deeper understanding of how precious life really is and connecting
with God may serve as the catalyst to make some healthy life style
choices. To value and respect life as a basic belief of many
faiths, each needs to ask how we are going to care for our precious
gift - our life.
The Parish Nurse Ministry Program has been a natural extension
of Lourdes service, since Lourdes is a religious-based health
organization. To reach out to people and offer assistance has
always been a part of the mission of the Daughters of Charity. Our program
accomplishes two goals: it allows the nurse an opportunity to
deepen her spiritual life by being a part of a health ministry and
it provides a service to members in need of a congregation.
Our program is working with more than 40 faith communities
representing at least eight denominations and independent faith
communities. Each faith community's program differs according to
the time and talents that the nurses bring to their program. Parish
nurses' activities can include the following: exercise classes,
blood pressure checks, health fairs, blood drives, home, nursing
home and hospital visits, a health library, prayer chains, a bed
roll ministry, soup kitchen's health ministry project and providing
educational speakers on various health topics.
Lourdes supports the program by providing a coordinator to help
congregations start and maintain parish nurse and health ministry
programs. We offer a three-hour Introduction to Parish Nurse
Ministry, publish a monthly newsletter The Mustard Seed for parish
nurses, health ministers and clergy and hold monthly parish nurse
and health ministry meetings on the first Tuesday of each month
from 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM to offer educational opportunities for
parish nurses and health ministers. Our most important goal is
having a presence that helps remind people that health is
wholeness, salvation and shalom.
This service is open to all
faiths/denominations. If you are interested in parish nurse
ministry or starting a parish nurse ministry program for your
congregation, please call Kathy Medovich, RN, Parish Nurse/Health
Ministry Coordinator for Lourdes at 607-321-2633 or e-mail