About the Program
The parish nurse serves as a church staff associate to the minister (clergy) for health ministry and spiritual care. This program integrates formal theological knowledge and methodology, professional ministry skills, and advanced nursing practice to address the bioethical, health, and spiritual concerns of a faith-based community, its members, and its neighbors. That is, both a ministry of health and faith integration, health maintenance, and health promotion for the prayer community itself, and mission outreach for health advocacy and social ethics are encompassed within this specialization. The uniqueness of this program resides in the depth of theological knowledge and ministry skill that is required to be integrated into advanced nursing practice.
Some courses in the parish nursing specialty are also open to ministry students, who are ordained clergy or who are seeking ordination to professional ministry, and who wish an interdisciplinary emphasis on the integration of health and spirituality, health maintenance, and health promotion within congregations and faith traditions/denominations. For ministry students, a health ministries focus is individually designed to meet the specific ministry needs of the student (e.g., family health ministries, older adult-enablement health ministries, youth and child health ministries, women’s health ministries, etc.).
Consistent with the mission and purpose of the university, the School of Nursing is a Christian community of disciples, scholars, and practitioners. Its purpose is to advance the work of God in the world through nursing education, research, professional practice, community, and church service.
Health is defined and understood by the faculty as totality or completeness, whether for an individual, family, or community. That totality or completeness, within this conceptual definition, cannot be seen apart from the constitutive element of spirituality. Our conceptual approach to health highlights our distinctive role as a Christian university and provides the discipline of nursing with a distinctive domain for research and advanced nursing practice.