Parish nurse asks other nurses to join the flock

For some, faith and healing go together. That’s true for Teresa Pratt, a lover of family, friends and travel.

An active member of Carle’s Parish Nurse Program since 2002, Pratt calls parish nursing an “opportunity to serve as an unpaid professional in my faith community, doing something I passionately love.”

Parish nurses serve faith communities in a host of ways based on a need. A parish nurse might provide health education or blood pressure screenings, fitness classes, flu shot clinics, support groups and more. Parish nurses help homebound church members, as well as those in the hospital or nursing home.

Pratt encourages nurses to “explore faith community nursing. Carle's program is exceptional. It is award-winning. It is solid.”

Register online or call (217) 326-2583 by August 17 for weekend classes that start August 26. Please contact Faith Roberts, Carle’s director of parish nursing, professional practice and Magnet, at faith.roberts@carle.com if you have questions. Classes will be at American Lutheran Church, Rantoul.

Nurses from any congregation can volunteer a couple hours each month, offering physical, mental and spiritual support.

“We’re always looking to welcome more parish nurses, especially as we all begin to face the added healthcare needs of aging Baby Boomers,” Roberts said. “I’m sure the next generation of parish nurses will step forward and continue this strong tradition.”

Pratt wants others to pitch in because the need is great.

“We are experiencing a healthcare crisis in America. Faith community nursing is a vital link between faith and healthcare that can reduce expensive emergency room visits and help patient health,” she said.

Parish nursing complements Pratt’s work as a school nurse and offers amazing opportunities for spiritual growth.

“Faith community nursing is a calling for me,” she said. “Through times of prayer, reading the Scriptures and reflection, and with the affirmation of others, I discerned that God was calling me to this ministry to honor Him.”

The $75 class fee covers meals and supplies. Continuing education credits are available. Participants do additional online class work. 

The Community Parish Nurse Program is a nationally recognized program funded solely by gifts to Carle Center for Philanthropy.