Home EMU offering second-semester parish-nursing course

EMU offering second-semester parish-nursing course


Story by Jim Bishop

By popular demand, Eastern Mennonite University will offer its online course on “Basics of Parish Nursing” again the second semester in 2008. The course is running the fall semester through EMU’s Adult Degree Completion Program, which is sponsoring the course.

The course, open to any registered nurse or upper-level nursing student in an RN nursing education program, will run Jan. 14 -Feb. 18, 2008.

“Parish nursing is the most fulfilling type of nursing I’ve ever done,” said course instructor Tammy Kiser, RN, MSN. “Understanding health to be a dynamic process that includes the spiritual, psychological, physical, and social dimensions of the person is very important in the ministry of parish nursing.”

Parish nursing in the United States is recognized as a specialty practice by the American Nurses Association. Interest in this arena continues to grow as many congregations are making strides to address the health and well-being of their members, with some having “parish nurses” to promote such efforts.

According to the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, “Parish nurses are licensed, registered nurses who practice under the guidelines set forth by their State or Provincial Boards of Nursing and the standards of care and professional performance identified in the Scope and Standards for Parish Nursing Practice developed in their country of employment. In the United States, this document is Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA/HMA, 2005).”

Dr. Arlene G. Wiens, chair of EMU’s nursing department, said parish nursing “sees the roles of the community health nurse as health educator, counselor and advocate and referral agent in a faith-based setting.”

Aspects unique to the parish nurse role are “an emphasis on health within a faith community and the emphasis on coordination of services and volunteers rather than as provider of direct care. The parish nurse functions within the ministerial team,” she said.

Wiens said that the course “is based on the accepted philosophy and practice of parish nursing and examines the roots of health and healing found in many religious traditions.”

She noted that “critical thinking strategies, such as Socratic questioning, are used to analyze the spiritual dimension of health and healing for the practitioner as well as clients being served.

“Students are using the standard core curricula developed through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center as the foundation to explore the practice of nursing in the faith community and its ministry,” Wiens said.

For more information regarding course content and the online format, contact Tammy Kiser directly at [email protected]. For more general information, visit www.emu.edu/nursing/parish/course.


Jim Bishop is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.



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