Parish nurses also referred to as Faith Community Nurses, are licensed, registered nurses who practice holistic health. Combining nursing knowledge and spiritual care, they advocate for the needs of self, congregants, and the community at large. Generally, parish nurses do not provide hands-on care, but through their roles as health educators and counselors, referral sources, volunteer coordinators, and health advocates, they assist others in finding health and wholeness.

Parish nurses may function in paid or unpaid positions. The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of the faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. Their practice is governed by the New York State Practice Act, the American Nurses Association’s Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, as well as its Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements (for nurses).