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Parish nursing or Faith Community Nursing has spread globally. You may also find it helpful to access further information from our sister organisations in USA, Australia, Canada and the UK.

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Explore Faith Community Nursing


You may be reading this to discover how to become a Faith Community Nurse (parish nurse or pastoral care nurse) or to determine whether this ministry has relevance in your community and church. You may be a minister who is exploring new forms of ministry but seeking to determine the relevance of nursing in the church in the 21st century.

We see this discernment as a journey and suggest you follow the following steps which have been developed to ensure that:

  • You become better informed about the role
  • You can find answers to your questions as you progress on the journey
  • You have considered the implications and value of undertaking this ministry
  • You have support in place as you train for and set up this ministry


We invite you to explore the basics of this ministry by following the links within this website as listed below:

Be Excited!

This is an innovative yet ageless ministry. It is rewarding but challenging. It varies according to needs but essentially it is responding to Jesus' call 'to heal'.

You may wish to view these video clips:

Of interest to ministers/clergy:

(Reading and research time for this phase is approximately: 2-3 hours.)


Nurses often speak of the 5 rights when giving medication: right patient, right route, right dose, right drug and right time. Having explored the role of the Faith Community Nurse (FCN), now consider:

  1. Am I the right person to be an FCN? Do I have the time and skills?
  2. Is this the right time for this ministry in my own faith community?
  3. Is there a need? Is this the right ministry for your church?
  4. Who would support me to provide this ministry: financially? with prayer? Do we have the right resources? Is there office space? Is there the potential for gathering a group of volunteers? Who would form the members of my health committee?1
  5. Pray and be patient. If your answer to all the questions above is YES, then you should be ready to share your vision with others. So discuss the ministry of FCN and pray about it with key people within your fellowship: your minister, key leaders, a prayer partner etc. List their names and make an appointment to spend time sharing what you have found out.
  6. Do more research as necessary.

Sharing the Vision
Experience has taught us that this ministry requires a SHARED VISION to be successful. Each of the following must determine whether they will commit to it. FCN's feel called to this role but the minister and the faith community (usually a church membership) need to play a full part in its establishment and continuity


The Process of Preparation
The nurse……

The Process of Preparation

The minister and church…

  • Does this ministry fit with your overall vision for your church into the future?
  • What financial support could you provide? Would this be a voluntary or paid position?
  • A FCN would be part of the ministry team? Where would you see the role fitting?
  • PRAY whether this ministry could form part of the mission of your faith community.
  • Would it be helpful for your chosen nurse2 to access the Introductory Module to FCN and if so, would you pay the membership fee on her/his behalf?

If you have decided that this ministry is something you wish to consider, we invite you to join the membership of NZFCNA. As a member you have free access to the introductory module of our basic training course for faith community nurses and the support of other faith community nurses including a mentor who will guide you through the training.

You can access a membership form here.

The introductory module includes:

  • Further information about the role of the FCN
  • Material to assess in greater depth the needs of the community, the skills of the nurse, the commitment of the church leaders and members and the time frame required to implement this ministry.
  • Exercises for the nurse to explore how to develop current skills and learn new ones
  • The requisite to prepare a structured report which is first shared and discussed with an allocated NZFCNA mentor in readiness to inform the leadership of the church ministry.
  • The opportunity for the nurse to determine whether to continue the journey to becoming a 'practicing FCN' is right at present or a possibility for the future.
  • Is the first of the distance training modules. The remainder can be purchased from NZFCNA as a set of modules on a CD disk. Modules include information, tasks to complete which provide a valuable resource for the nursing role, access to the Kinder Library, Auckland and the support of a mentor. Module Overview >

Please note:
On-going membership of NZFCNA also provides:

  • Peer support from regional groups as well as from the national organisation. There are regional days and regular conferences with opportunities to network with other FCN's, attend educational and spiritual sessions relevant to the FCN role and the chance to attend peer support sessions.
  • Peer review and evaluation which is required if the nurse is audited in the role by Nursing Council. NZFCNA supports individual nurses by providing guidance with the compilation of a portfolio and its component requirements.

Checklist for Assessment

  1. Is the faith community provisionally ready to support the nurse's initial education steps?
  2. Is the nurse prepared to undertake the formal educational process necessary to become a practising FCN?
  3. Are the faith community's and local community's health-related needs appropriately served by the work of a FCN?


1Health committee or health cabinet is a group of health professionals and leaders interested in exploring issues of health and faith within the congregational setting who support the FCN in establishing and maintaining the ministry as effectively as possible. See Patterson, D. (2003) The Essential Parish Nurse. ABCs for Congregational Health Ministry. The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland.

2If the nurse does not have current registration, then go to

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