Georgia Faith Community
Nurses Association

Significance of

American Nurses Association's Specialty

Why is it so important of the ANA to approve FCN's Practice & Standards/Scope of Practice?

In January 1998, Faith Community Nursing (was called Parish Nursing at that time) was officially recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) as a nursing specialty with a defined scope and standards of practice, acknowledging faith community nursing’s unique contribution to the health and healing of people, the faith communities and society.

Faith community nursing is a nursing specialty practice that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit and the promotion of a distinctively integrated approach to health and health care within the context of such faith communities as a church, congregation, parish, synagogue, temple, mosque, or faith-based community agency. The faith community nurse (FCN) provides nursing care and spiritual care to a faith community and others by drawing on professional skills, knowledge, and resources, as well as individuals and groups within and outside of that community. In the context of the values, beliefs, and practices of a faith community, the goals of each FCN are the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; the prevention of illness and injury; and the alleviation of suffering.

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Why is specialty status important?

FCN Specialty Status recognizes that faith community nursing has its own scope and defined set of standards that distinguishes it from other nursing practices.  Specialty status provides faith community nurses with clarity and a foundation for their practice, and strengthens the voice of the entire profession.  It provides us with a clear description of who we are, and helps us identify our practice: specialty status helps us better articulate who we are to nurses, other health care professionals and the public.

Who wrote the Standards of Practice?

To describe the current professional responsibilities of this specialty, ANA and the Health Ministries Association (HMA), a nonprofit membership organization and support network for people of faith who promote whole-person health through faith groups in the communities they serve,  are co-publishing the                                                                        Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition in early 2012.)


To Maintain Professional Integrity:

The 16 standards of faith community nursing practice are authoritative statements that reflect the specialty’s professional values and priorities, providing directions for its practice and the framework for practice evaluation. Each standard is further delineated by a set of specific competencies that serve as evidence of FCN practice compliance. Comprised of the standards of practice, which reflect the six steps of the nursing process, and the standards of professional performance, which describe a competent level of behavior in the professional role, these standards must be considered in conjunction with the specialty’s scope of practice. This scope statement discusses the specifics of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the practice.

Qualifying for Specialty Status

Faith Community Nursing is a specialty that is based upon:

§  A body of knowledge

§  Evidence-based research

§  Sophisticated skills

§  Defined standards of practice

§  A diversity of modalities from a broad range of health practices

§  A philosophy of living and being that is grounded in caring, relationship, and interconnectedness

      ANA required the completion of a document explaining why faith community nursing should be granted specialty status, the development of a scope of practice statement indicating the “who, what, when, where and why” of faith community nursing, and the articulation of a defined set of standards depicting the details and complexity of the practice. 

Specialty Status: The Future  

Each specialty nursing scope statement and standards of practice can deeply influence nursing practice in each specialty.

These standards:

§  Provide schools and universities with a template for curricula and influence the development of continuing education programs 

§  Validate research and attract research funds 

§  Provide for recognition by state boards of nursing 

§  Describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities that hospitals and other health care agencies can expect from the nurses they hire.

  Working together, will will continue to improve the professional integrity and standards to promote the balance of the 'mind-body-spirit' connection to create the best possible Health Ministry programs, lead by Faith Community Nurses.

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Georgia Faith Community Nurse Association

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