“All nurses are required to provide spiritual care, but for a faith community nurse, it is intentional,” says Susan Carson, a faith community nurse at St. John’s Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Sacramento, Calif.
“We can openly pray with another without any restrictions or time barriers. We focus on whole-person health – body, mind and spirit and how they interconnect.”
Susan explains all that is involved in being a faith community, or parish, nurse. She shares a half-time paid position with another nurse in the congregation and stays busy during that time with many tasks.
“We keep track of the home-bound members and arrange a shared visitation schedule between the pastors, the faith community nurses and the Eucharistic ministers. We manage the prayer list and keep track of the needs of those on that list, which sometimes includes hospital visitation. We advocate for people and families, provide referrals to agencies, organizations or other resources, and provide one-on-one or family health education,” says Susan.
In addition to these responsibilities, they also participate as worship assistants and plan and participate in special events.