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Background image: A Healthy Start nurse with a young mother and child.

Nurses Extend Healing Beyond the Hospital

Faith community nurses, sometimes called parish nurses, are working or retired nurses who have taken special training to minister to people at their places of worship. This type of nursing is a blend of ministry and health care. A faith community nurse can serve as a counselor for health and spiritual questions. These nurses also are trained to educate people in health matters, develop support groups, advocate for those who seek their help and train others for this field.

Samaritan’s Faith Community Program is a local adaptation of the international Parish Nursing program that brings health screenings and wellness information to people through their faith-based congregations. Our hospitals employ faith community nurse coordinators who work with dozens of local nurses, working and retired, to reach out to thousands of residents in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. These coordinators meet regularly with nurses to provide training and other resources. Together with Samaritan’s hospital chaplains, they work to assure that no patient is alone during a hospital stay or medical emergency.

Samaritan supports and promotes parish nursing as an effective way to extend health care beyond the walls of its hospitals and clinics. It’s a way to reach populations that might otherwise be underserved by the medical community.

Health Services Offered by Faith Community Nurses

  • Taking blood pressure and/or glucose readings for congregation members before or after regularly scheduled services
  • Counseling congregation members with chronic disease or emotional problems
  • Arranging medical appointments and transportation for congregation members who may be uncomfortable accessing the medical system on their own

Community Services Offered by Faith Community Nurses

  • Services at local wellness fairs
  • Training for prospective parish nurses throughout the three-county region
  • Training volunteers in “healing presence,” so they may sit at the bedside, or simply “be there” for people who are in a lot of pain or confusion, who are dying or who don’t want to be alone
  • Immunizing school children
  • Working with local health departments to disseminate information on epidemics and other potential disasters
  • Contributing to Samaritan hospitals’ patient experience committees, which have facilitated the inclusion of in-house healing decor and landscapes, including soothing water features, pleasing natural-setting artworks, and the gentle strains of piano, harp and Native American flute music
  • Directing an active group of women who knit prayer shawls for patients who might be comforted by a spiritual healing touch
  • Working in Lincoln County to set up classes to help parents initiate parent-teen conversations about sex and other teen behavioral concerns
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Become a Faith Community Nurse

Many faith community nurses are retired from active nursing. Several of them previously worked at Samaritan hospitals and clinics, and they want to keep using their skills and compassion to help people in their community. Faith community nursing gives them that opportunity.

For more information about faith community nursing in our area and opportunities to get involved visit or call:

Albany: 541-248-0595