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Parish nursing - at a glance

The most common work performed by parish nurses includes:

  • Counseling clients about personal health problems. Common concerns are parenting issues, medications and choosing and communicating with health care providers.
  • Education, with a focus on wholistic health. Parish nurses provide information through seminars, workshops and printed materials on topics such as first aid, nutrition, exercise and prevention/treatment of specific diseases.
  • Advocating for clients within the health care system. The nurse may accompany a client to the doctor’s office or emergency room, or make phone calls to set up appointments.
  • Screenings for hypertension, vision, hearing, scoliosis and other conditions. The nurse may then provide follow-up if problems are detected.
  • Directing people to health-related resources in the community, such as social services and informational organizations.
  • Developing support groups within the parish and the community.
  • Coordinating health ministry volunteers. The use of volunteers not only lightens the nurse’s own workload, but takes advantage of parishioners’ expertise to create a multifaceted ministry.

National Catholic Reporter, June 7, 2002