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Washington County Health System
  Parish Nursing



Parish Nurses have the unique opportunity to teach and encourage patients of all ages to become active partners in the management of their health care .

Parish Nursing services are designed to build and strengthen the capacities of families, individuals and congregations to understand and care for each other in light of their faith traditions and relationship to the faith community.

What is a Parish Nurse?

A parish nurse is a licensed registered nurse who practices in a faith community and offers health and wellness services. Parish nurses assist congregational members to gain and /or maintain optimal mental, physical and spiritual health by serving as a:

  • Health educator
  • Health counselor
  • Referral source
  • Case manager
  • Trainer of volunteers
  • Facilitator of support groups

Parish nursing is a specialty practice in nursing, recognized by The American Nurses Association. Educational participation for this specialty practice is strongly recommended.

Any registered nurse with a current license who embraces the concept that spiritual care is an important part of a person's wellness can serve as a parish nurse. Licensed practical nurses may serve as parish nurses under the direction of a registered nurse. They receive special training in the relationship between faith and health.

What do Parish Nurses do?

Parish Nurses are usually volunteers in a church or synagogue, but some are members of a paid church staff. All work closely with the pastoral staff and under the general direction of a congregational Health Council.

How do I become a Parish Nurse?

Basic preparation for parish nurses includes the history, philosophy, roles and function of the parish nurse, the role of the church in health, how to function as a member of the pastoral team, health promotion and maintenance, documentation, accountability, confidentiality, legal considerations, spiritual care, working with volunteers, how to access community resources, and self-care for the parish nurse.

A parish nurse education program held annually is conducted by Washington County Health System, Inc. in cooperation with Hagerstown Community College.

Wendy Zimmerman
Parish Nurse Coordinator
1799 Howell Rd.
Hagerstown, MD 21740


© 2008
Washington County Health System
251 East Antietam Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740

TDD: 1-800-735-2258