Cooperative partnerships between
faith-based organizations and health care are a revolutionary concept. In most
communities, faith-based organizations and nursing are highly trusted entities.
This is mainly because they provide renewal and spiritual refuge. Furthermore,
they serve as powerful propellers for political, social and economic change. In
a similar manner, community-based health care organizations offer high-quality
medical care that is patient sensitive alongside other enabling services so as
to diverse needy populations. Collaboration between faith-based nursing and
community nursing has slowly evolved even though the two share many
commonalities. Faith monograph developed by the Bureau of Primary Health Care
(BPHC) as well as its faith partnership initiative and the National Center for
Cultural Competence for Cultural Competence for the Health Resources and
Services (HRSA) addresses different issues that surround collaboration and
partnership between these two cultures (NCCC, 2001).
Faith community nursing or healing
practice is also known as congregational or parish nursing. The nurses and the
practice are guided by the Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of
Practice published by the American Nurses Association (ANA) irrespective of the
name used by different faith communities to identify nurses who serve on their
ministry staff. ANA is the officially recognized professional organization for
nurses in the United States. This association sets universal standard for
professional performance and nursing care common to all nurses engaged in
clinical practice (Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice). Based on generic
standards, the American Nurses Association identifies specialty nursing
practice through recognizing that particular specialty and demarcating its
unique scope and standards of practice. The Faith Community Nursing Scope and
Standards of Practice were developed from the generic standards in
collaboration with the Health Ministries Association Inc. adopted and later
officially recognized by the ANA in 1998 ("Interfaith
Health & Wellness Association", 2016).
Faith Community Nursing (FNC) practice is
considered as an independent practice of professional nursing. It is clearly
defined by state jurisdictionâ€™s nursing practice act and concentrates on health
promotion within the context of the beliefs, values and faith practices of the
clients (faith community, individual or family). Based on the standards and
scope of Parish Nursing Practice, faith-based nurses maintain standards of care
as demonstrated by the nursing process i.e. planning (outcomes), diagnosis,
assessment, evaluation and implementation to all members of the faith as well
as the overall community. The nurse is expected to practice according to the
set standards of professional performance that describe competencies in various
behaviors within the parish nurse role including; Education, quality of care,
ethics, research, performance appraisal, resource utilization, collaboration,
and collegiality. Together, the professional practice and standard of care
define faith-based nursing practice.
Partnerships between health care
organizations and faith-based organizations are a viable strategy to achieve a
vision (healthy individuals in healthy communities) where everyone benefits.
The faith partnership initiative provides innovation, leadership, and resources
to expand the scope of the safety net for the nationâ€™s communities. Benefits of
community nurses forming partnerships with faith-based communities and parish
nurses can be subdivided into; benefits to those served, benefits to the health
centers, and benefits to the community.
Benefits to those served include among others the following;
collaboration leads to improved health outcomes because the services delivered
in contexts build trust that leads to consistent follow â€“ up. The bond between
nurses, therefore, combines efforts to achieve better results hence leads to
healthier and happier individuals in the society.
contributes significantly to providing health care providers or nurses who
clearly understand interactions between the health issues of people and their
constraints based on spiritual and religious beliefs, practices and values
The whole community benefits when
faith-based nurses and community nurses collaborate. These benefits include;
to improved health of community members. This implies that fewer people in the
community will fall victims of chronic conditions that result from
inappropriate prevention or treatment.
to the purchase of goods and services, which is an economic reciprocation
within communities that comes from health care related jobs created.
The benefit of these partnerships to
community-based health care organizations includes being able to effectively
achieve their mission of offering support and services that lead to better
clinical outcomes and increased access to the community served by various
Nurses have a variety of roles in as
parish nurses in faith communities. These include;
advocate â€“ Here they are supposed to encourage all systems including primary
health resources and the faith community to find the best solutions for
wholeness and healing in body, mind, and spirit.
educator â€“ They are required to focus on various educational activities for all
ages in the community that explore the relationship between faith, health,
values, lifestyle and attitude.
Agent- They should provide community and congregational resources for healing
of health and faith â€“ They have a role in promoting the understanding of the
relationship between health and faith in all contacts and activities.
health counselor â€“ This includes assisting individuals to deal with health
problems and issues whether at nursing homes, hospitals or even homes.
Other specified roles include developing
support groups and facilitating volunteers.
Collaborating with existing as well as developing
community health services is an objective of Healthy People 2020. Healthy
people is a United States government initiative aimed at improving the
nationâ€™s health. Many of the church-based health programs benefits stem from
their presence and credibility with neighborhoods and individuals. Some of
these advantages include integrated personal relationships within the
community, trust within the neighborhood, commitment and desire to help those
in need, established leadership within the community, and experience directly
serving those in need. All these are useful in implementing initiatives of
Healthy people (Michalene & Maria, 2014).
Ethical issues that affect parish nursing
values surrounding termination of treatment decisions, end of life decisions
and deciding who should be proxy decision makers.
equality including development outreach to homeless individuals in the
community, access to healthcare system, treatment of people with HIV/AIDS and
treatment of trans-gendered or gay parishioners
values which include; protecting parishioner confidentiality, protecting
parishioners from having their good will consumed by others, understanding
assisted reproduction practices of families, teenage pregnancy in the parish,
and balancing â€˜doing badâ€™ versus â€˜doing goodâ€™ to parishioners.
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