Faith Community Nurses Support Holistic Health
Faith-based community nursing is a specialized and special practice of professional nursing that integrates faith and health and connects the disciplines of nursing and ministry.
At Lee Health, we have 24 faith-based community nurses who cover 21 local churches under our faith-based community nurse program. These nurses serve as liaisons between clergy and their congregations, our health care system, physicians, and other community agencies and resources. In their role, faith-based community nurses can act as health counsellors, educators and advocates, resource workers, volunteer coordinators, and support group builders.
The Faith Community Nurse Program has a significant impact on our community and our health care system, as nurses work to help reduce hospital readmissions, lower health care costs, and improve patient safety and outcomes. results. To aid in these efforts, faith-based community nurses focus on high-risk diagnoses, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes management/education, and risk reduction. home falls.
Barbara Kilbride, RN, BSN, MS, FCN, manager of the Faith Community Nurse Program, says nurses don’t provide hands-on care. Instead, they build relationships with church members and help connect them to the services, programs, information, and support they need to improve their health and quality of life.
“In just seven months – from October 2021 to April 2022, our faith-based community nurses completed 2,355 hours during which they conducted outreach and coordinated activities and programs,” says Barbara. “Our nurses had 1,585 opportunities for 15 minutes or more one-on-one time with patients. They wrote 46 educational articles and distributed 13,685 pieces of educational materials, 2,230 pantry items and 2,560 meal programs. During these months, our nurses also made 290 referrals to various Lee Health, community and religious resources.
As President and CEO of Lee Health, I am proud of this program and how our faith-based community nurses connect personally with others through shared spiritual and religious faith. They work beyond the boundaries of our hospitals and facilities, meeting patients where they are physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This year, after not hosting the conference due to the pandemic, Barbara shares that Lee Health is once again bringing back the “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing” course in person. “This evidence-based course, developed by the Westberg Institute of Faith Community Nursing, perfectly prepares nurses to take on this new responsibility,” says Barbara. “Nurses are not required to work at Lee Health – community RNs can take the Spiritual Development course or if they are affiliated with a church that supports their ministry. Upon completion of the course, nurses are eligible to join the Lee Health FCN program. Lee Health is an approved provider for Continuing Nursing Education by the Florida Board of Nursing and has applied for 36 contact hours.
The Foundations course is scheduled for August 5-7 and 12-14. Visit LeeHealth.org/classes.asp for more information.
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Larry Antonucci, MD, MBA is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lee Health, Southwest Florida’s leading healthcare destination, providing acute care, emergency care, rehabilitation services and diagnosis, health and wellness education, and community awareness and advocacy programs. Visit www.LeeHealth.org to learn more.