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Saint Thomas Health Faith Community Nursing Program Hosts Classes For Nurses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (Dec. 3, 2013) – Saint Thomas Health is pleased to again offer the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing , a course that provides basic preparation for registered nurses to become Faith Community Nurses (FCN). 

Faith Community or “Parish” Nursing is a specialized area of independent nursing practice in which registered nursescare forindividuals and groups within a congregation to promote overall wellness in the community.

The Saint Thomas Health FCN program will host the 32-hour course on March 14 and 15 and March 28 and 29, 2014, at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital. Classes are open to registered nurses throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, and will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free breakfast and lunch included.

Class fees have been substantially reduced through the generous support of Saint Thomas Health System and the Tennessee Department of Health.  Class fee is $100 and includes all educational materials and meals. Clergy support from candidates’ local church is recommended and partial scholarships are available.

Faith community nursing embraces the historical connection between faith and health. FCN is recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) as a specialized area of nursing that prepares registered nurses to serve as a member of the ministry staff of a faith community. Emerging as one of the fastest growing movements in nursing today, FCN focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting wholistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.

The Foundations Course is based on ANA’s Scope and Standards of Practice for Faith Community Nursing and meets the requirements established by the International Parish Nurse Resource Center (IPNRC).  The Foundations course focuses on the primary functions of a parish nurse:  1) integrator of faith and health, 2) personal and group health counselor, 3) health educator, 4) referral agent, 5) health advocate, 6) coordinator of volunteers and 7) developer of support groups.  It is organized around four core concepts:  spirituality, professionalism,  wholistic health and community.

“Being healthy includes spiritual, mental and physical health,” said Heather Wills, parish nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tenn. “As a recent graduate of the program I am so excited to know that, as a parish nurse, I can help my church and community lead healthier lives.”

Faith community nurses help their congregations in many ways, including health education, resource and referral services, post-discharge home visits reducing potential for return hospitalization, counseling or support groups, health fairs, blood pressure clinics and parenting classes.

“Like Heather, many nurses in our area cherish the opportunity that faith community nursing offers to connect their professional skills with faith and prayer to promote whole person health,” said Mary E. Donnelly, Faith Community Nursing liaison.

A second class will be offered this year for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course: September 12, 13, 26 and 27, 2014.  More details will be available as that date approaches.

To register, visit and click on “Classes and Events.” Select March 14 and click the course name. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your registration. Registration ends March 7.

For more information, contact Mary E. Donnelly, Faith Community Nursing liaison, at  or call 615-222-6603.  Also visit


Saint Thomas Health is Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united under the common mission of one healing community. With more than 7,000 associates, Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes – Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit


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