Nurses seek faith-training

Beyond the many specific types of nurses – school nurse, hospital nurse – there is a specific type that two professors at Gannon University have taken interest in: faith community nurse.

Diann Cooper and Gary Berringer, both assistant professors in the Villa Maria School of Nursing, attended the Foundation of Faith Community Nursing Program in Pittsburgh two years ago.

This is not a technique, but rather a training program for nurses who are interested in faith as nurses, Cooper said.

“We may do nothing more than sit with a person for a while just visiting, or we may actually set up health clinic activities at the church,” Cooper said. “It varies by church and the needs of that family.”

The faith community nurses are licensed, registered nurses who practice holistic health with a pastoral team that can vary in religious faiths and cultures.

“It has been around for a long time, but has become more organized in the last 20 years,” Cooper said.

According to parishnurses.org, the faith community nursing was developed in 1984 and the first foundational course in parish nursing was taught in 1991.

Kelsey Franke, a junior nursing major, said she thinks this type of training is a good idea.

“I’ve come across a couple of patients in clinical who have been spiritual and it would be beneficial to learn how to handle spirituality,” Franke said.

As a whole, the students may hear about it as a possible use of nursing care and techniques in the future as a specialty, but not much else, Cooper said.

“I think a course on this type of nursing should be optional at Gannon because some people who are comfortable with their faith would find this interesting and helpful,” Franke said.

Monique Smith, a junior nursing major, said being able to receive a certification on spiritual specialization at Gannon would be good because in lectures, religious aspects are not talked about in great depth.

“When it comes to treatments in the medical field, some religions and cultures have their own specific treatment, for example a transfusion,” Smith said.

Cooper said senior nursing students might be interested in a training such as faith community, but as of right now, there is no course developed to go along with the possible interest.

“It would be nice to know what to do during a situation involving faith because you never know how to handle it unless you have the same religion,” Smith said.

COLLEEN LANGHAM

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