Your interest in a health and wellness ministry is very timely. Public awareness of health and illness issues is at an all time high. The public is also becoming aware of the importance of prevention and wellness. Cut backs in Medicare and Medicaid, together with higher deductibles and co-payments, make illness prevention and wellness promotion real needs — not just idealistic goals. Many find commercial health and wellness programs to be both impersonal and expensive. Many others have found that a health ministry within their own church meets their needs in a more wholistic way.
The church has been intimately involved with the concepts of wholeness, wellness and healing since its inception. The idea of the unity of body, mind and spirit is deeply rooted in both the Old and New Testaments. Parish nursing is a specific ministry within your congregation that gives these concepts and ideas a visible presence. The nurse works with the pastor and a wellness cabinet of other caring members to fulfill the healing mission of the church.
Parish nurse ministries grew out of the wholistic health care programs started by Granger E. Westberg, D.D. in the Chicago area in the early 1970s. The original model was supported in part by the Illinois Schools of Medicine and Divinity. Wholistic health care centers were established in area churches to deliver total family care. These centers ultimately closed for a variety of reasons. They were followed by a revision developed under the guidance of Lutheran General Hospital of Parkridge, Illinois, through its Congregational Health Partners program. This model established the Minister of Health/Parish Nurse roles much as we know them today. Parish nursing and congregational health ministries are now functioning all over the world. Schools of nursing include parish nursing concepts in both their undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
In 1998, parish nursing was accepted as a specialty by the American Nurses’ Association. The scope and standards by which we practice are revised every five years. The official membership organization for parish nurses is the Health Ministries Association (HMA). Information on this organization is available through the Kansas Parish Nurse Ministry (KPNM).
KPNM invites you to join us in this ministry!