An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Parish Nurse

A registered nurse (RN) who provides health care in a pastoral setting. The program was founded in 1983 by the Rev. Granger Westberg, a Lutheran pastor and chaplain at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois. It has now spread to many denominations, including the Episcopal Church. Parish nurses seek to provide care and promote wellness for the whole person, taking into account both the physical and spiritual needs of the patient. They recognize that illnesses and symptoms may result from adverse circumstances in the patient's life. They identify and assess the health needs of people in a parish or other setting of pastoral ministry and seek to enhance wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. Parish nurses often provide blood pressure screenings. They may be available for office hours to consult concerning health problems and possibilities for healthier living. Parish nurses provide information and advice for better health. They may visit people who are homebound or hospitalized, and serve as advocates in the parish for the needs of those who are sick or elderly.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.