Faith Community Nursing Care
Today, nurses promote health in religious institutions. The innovative community-based setting for such a task is the faith community, where faith community nurses provide their care. Faith Community Nursing (FCN) is a model of care that mostly relies on older registered nurses in order to provide population-based services as well as various non-clinical services in community settings. In addition to traditional healthcare system responsibilities, such as community health education, case management, and community advocacy, FCN also provides the services that are often not offered by nurses within the community. Healthcare providers of this program solve the concerns of health and wellness of people along with their social aspects, emotional support, and spiritual well-being. The implication of a plan to develop Faith Community Nursing Care is focused on a holistic approach that builds upon physical, social, and spiritual relationships to care and maintain the optimal wellness of people of that community.
In 2005, Parish Nursing was acknowledged as Faith Community Nursing. Its purpose was to reflect a total range of religions in the USA (Anaebere & DeLilly, 2012). Faith communities are groups of individuals who support routine fellowship, aimed at sharing common history, the beliefs, and values of those people with a higher power. Considering the roots of FCN in the United States and abroad, one should mention that their roots are found in religious worship places. Depending on their faith, the groups of people of shared religions gather regularly in their churches, cathedrals, temples, kingdom halls, synagogues, and mosques. Owing to the nature of such regular communications, faith community registered nurses develop trusting and caring relations with the participants of these meetings. The roots of parish nursing were evident in Florence Nightingale’s practice as she also believed that health care should be holistic and nurture spiritually the practical aspects of nursing services. Hence, all functions of Faith Community Nursing, based on their historical examination, are aimed to nurture spiritual growth of its populations and clarify the relations between faith and health of that community.
Philosophy of Faith Community Nursing
Faith Community Nursing is a team membership of faith community that works to serve the congregation and the group of people in general. According to the Parliament of the World’s Religions, more than 50 religions all over the world recognize the major values of faith nursing, including respect for human life and service promotion to other people (Anaebere & DeLilly, 2012). Being focused on symbiotic relationship, faith community considers as a perfect place to study the relations between individual’s health and their attitude to religion. If compared to the traditional practice of nursing, FCN involves more intentional applying of religious and spiritual practices. Recovery is considered in the major statements of faith-based community mission. At the same time, FCN differs from a community-based nursing (CBN) in its scope and context. While CBN is practiced within the community, FCN is practiced throughout the faith community, and it incorporates religion and spirituality as major contexts of the practice of nursing (Anaebere, & DeLilly, 2012). Overall, FCN has a positive influence on maintaining mental health and human well-being as it delivers spiritual care, health education and social support as well as offers appropriate healthcare services.
Today, faith communities are found in various faith settings in the USA and many other countries around the world. Such communities are the groups of people who gather in different religious institutions and acknowledge their common traditions (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2013). Such categories as client, environment, health, nurse, and nursing process make a conceptual framework, needed for organizing the model of FCN for nursing theory, practice, and research in the future. Faith communities use Faith Community Nursing as a method to provide healthcare within their groups of people. Thus, nurses collaborate with the members of faith communities, give exercise programs, and offer health education classes to all members (Ziebarth, 2014). Consequently, the relationship between the nurse and the client (an individual, family, group, or a community) is central in the conceptual framework of FCN.
Collaboration between parish nurses, or faith community nurses, and public health has proven its effectiveness in different areas of the United States and abroad. Thus, FCN supports people, families, and communities to become more active partners in the management of communal and personal health resources (Pappas-Rogich & King, 2014). A good example is Iowa, where cooperative efforts amid public health and faith community nurses have begun through informal discussions. A result of these discussions is a grant proposal to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Its purpose is to fund both health promotion and disease prevention programs. Another example is Saim Louis, Missouri’s North County with its collaborative program, created to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity for older adults. A New York state-community partnership is one more example of an effective collaboration between public health and parish nurses. The goal of this program is to eliminate health disparities amid underserved populations through resource allocation and education. It is focused on health disparities in such areas of access as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, oral health, and HIV/AIDS. Thus, the potential for increasing collaboration needs is essential for providing an efficient healthcare system in different nursing settings.
Nursing Initiatives Needed for the Faith Community Nursing Care
The main attention of FCN is the intentional care of spirit, which differentiates this task from the general nursing practice. Faith Community Nursing serves in different faith traditions. The practice of all such religions is consistent with the core assumption that nurses care for other people as an expression of God’s love (Pappas-Rogich & King, 2014). Thus, spiritual side is a significant aspect of faith community nursing practice.
Five fundamental assumptions lie in the basis of FCN. The first means that health and illness refer to people’s their experiences. The second explains health as an integration of the social, physical, spiritual, and psychological aspects of a patient, thus promoting harmony with self and the environment as well as a higher power. The third assumes that health can be experienced during the injury or disease. The next assumption states that any illness does not preclude health and does not make good health by precluding the illness. Finally, healing is presented as the process of integrating the mind, body, and spirit to make health, a sense of well-being and wholeness, even in the case a patient’s disease is not cured (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, 2012). As a member of the health ministry team, Faith Community Nursing Care puts the emphasis on the spiritual dimension by incorporating its assumptions through social, physical, and emotional aspects of nursing with persons, families, groups, and faith communities.
Standards of Practice
Nurses deliver healthcare services in various settings, including the faith community, health institution, and home. Therefore, they use the process of nursing to addresses the physical, social, spiritual, and mental health of healthcare consumers (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, 2012). The standards of practice of FCN include six steps such as assessment, diagnosis, outcomes identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The first step collects comprehensive data, relating to the individual’s wholistic health or nursing case. The second step analyzes wholistic data, based on the assessment to determine the patient’s diagnoses or health issues. Outcomes identification is aimed at identifying expected outcomes for an individualized plan to the client or their case. The next step develops a plan, needed to prescribe alternatives and strategies to reaching expected outcomes for people, groups, or a faith community in general. Implementation has five items, required to implement a specified plan. They are coordination of nursing care, health teaching and promotion, consultation, and prescriptive authority and specialized treatment (only advanced practiced nurses can apply this item) (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, 2012). Evaluating one’s progress toward achieving the outcomes is the final step of the standards of practice of Faith Community Nursing.
At the same time, the standards of advanced performance for FCN have nine steps. They are the quality of practice, education, professional practice evaluation, research, collaboration, collegiality, ethics, leadership, and resource utilization (American Nurses Association & Health Ministries Association, 2012). Each of them is aimed at providing qualified advanced and ethical nursing care to individuals, families, and faith communities.
Faith Community Nursing is a special practice of professional nursing, focusing on the international care of the spiritual side of the individual that is a central part of promoting wholistic health and preventing disease in a faith community. Five basic categories create the conceptual framework of FCN, in which the relationship between the nurse and the client (it can be an individual, a family, a group, or a community) is a central concept of providing healthcare to the community. FCN challenges the nursing profession to retrieve the spiritual dimension of patient care, prompts the traditional healthcare system to ensure whole person care, and pushes this community to reinstate its healing mission. The core idea of Faith Community Nursing Care plan is that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. Thus, the suggested plan to develop Faith Community Nursing Care serves through incorporating spiritual, social, physical, and emotional aspects of the members of a faith community.
American Nurses Association, & Health Ministries Association. (2012). Faith community nursing scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.
Anaebere, A.K., & DeLilly, C. R. (2012). Faith community nursing: Supporting mental health during life transitions. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 33(5), 337-339. DOI: 10.3109/01612840.2011.631164
Pappas-Rogich, M., & King, M. (2014). Faith community nursing: Supporting Healthy People 2020 initiatives. Journal of Christian Nursing, 31(4), 228-234.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2013). Foundations of nursing in the community: Community-oriented practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Ziebarth, D. (2014). Evolutionary conceptual analysis: Faith community nursing. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(6), 1817-1835. DOI 10.1007/s10943-014-9918-z