Faith Community Nurses Serve With Faith In God And Nursing Skills
Barb Serves Her Community With Faith In God And Nursing Skills.
After the last hymn is sung and Sunday morning worshippers file out of NorthRidge Church in Hernando, Florida, two women huddle on an empty pew, heads bent over prescription pill containers on their laps. Barb, 68, is the volunteer faith community nurse for NorthRidge Church.
Faith community nurses are licensed registered nurses who draw on both their faith in God and their nursing skills to support the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of individuals in their churches and faith communities.
BayCare’s robust Faith Community Nursing program was founded in 1991 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg by Allegany Sister Dolores Thorndike. It was the first in Florida. Today, BayCare has 319 volunteer faith community nurses who in 2016 put in 66,433 hours working with 171 congregations throughout West Central Florida. Every nurse is paired with a BayCare hospital that records their hours worked and is available to help if a nurse has questions or concerns.
Most of BayCare’s faith community nurses minister in their own churches, organizing health screenings, answering questions and dispensing advice about how to achieve better health. Some work in medical clinics in underserved communities, caring for low-income patients or those without health insurance. A few work in churches that wanted a faith community nurse but had no registered nurses among their own congregants.