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Parish Nursing

Two Ladies in Foundations in Parish NursingWhat is a Parish Nurse? 

A parish nurse is a registered nurse with specialized education who is called to ministry and affirmed by a faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness among its members. Recognizing the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit, parish nurses promote wellness through health education, advocacy, spiritual support and linking the needs of those they serve to resources in the greater community, health care system and their community of faith. 

Parish nurse ministry is designed to involve people of all ages, families, and congregations as active partners in their personal health and wellness.

Activities can include

  • Health education and counselling
  • Linking to community resources
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Nutrition & exercise programs
  • Support for the hospitalized, home-bound, & parishioners transitioning to Long Term Care
  • Assisting those facing illness, loss, grief & bereavement
  • Support of babies & new parents

NOTE: Parish nurses do not provide technical nursing care such as dressing changes, medications or personal care.

Our Formation Program

This program is designed to introduce fundamental concepts of the practice of parish nursing, which has its basis in the Christian faith, and seeks health promotion with a preventative focus. It’s suitable for any registered nurse interested in integrating spirituality, health and wholeness into their nursing practice. This program meets the criteria of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry (CAPNM) Standards of Practice and Core Competencies.

Main Objectives

  • Introduce participants to the foundations and practical knowledge necessary to begin a parish nursing ministry
  • Gain biblical, theological, and ethical perspectives on health care issues
  • Recognize the parish nurses’ role in assisting clients to achieve wellness while modeling self-care
  • Acquire understanding in pastoral and spiritual care
  • Develop a support system among other spiritually centred nurses
  • Foster a learning community and provide ongoing education opportunities to support faith community health

Program Components

Summer Residency

A week-long intensive program to introduce registered nurses to wholistic health care, spiritual healing and parish nursing as a ministry. As part of the education and personal growth aspects, the program incorporates knowledge sharing and prayer in a communal setting for a genuine camaraderie and friendship. Some reading and reflection work is required both prior to and following the summer residency. 

Foundations in Parish Nursing - Class of 2017

Participants experience a week-long intensive program in a serene setting at Holy Family Retreat House on the shore of Lake Erie. Learning is facilitated by experienced and passionate parish nurses, professors and pastors representing various Christian faith communities. There are abundant opportunities to build a network of support and friendships as well as time for both communal and personal prayer and reflection.

Included are topics such as:

  • Scriptural foundations of whole person health care
  • History of Christian healing
  • Understanding spiritual nursing practice
  • Roles of the parish nurse
  • Professional practice and legal issues
  • Values and ethics in health decisions
  • Working in a ministry team
  • Prayer, devotions and worship leadership
  • Theological reflectionFr. Mark Miller
  • Establishing a parish nursing ministry

Among the distinguished faculty who facilitate this program, we are pleased to welcome again Fr. Mark Miller, C.Ss.R., 

Clinical Bioethicist

Fr. Mark has a particular passion for faith-based health care ethics, hospice palliative care, and parish nursing. He is currently the provincial superior of the English-speaking Redemptorists in Canada while working part-time for the Centre for Clinical Ethics out of St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s Hospitals in Toronto.

ARTICLE:  Parish Nurse Ministry by Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR


Foundations in Parish Nursing BROCHURE

Foundations in Parish Nursing POSTER 

Foundations in Parish Nursing APPLICATION FORM

Foundations Plus

Following the summer residency, one to two years of ongoing education will lead to a Certificate in Parish Nursing Ministry. Requirements include:

Online Studies

Are you a registered nurse or parish nurse looking for some insightful and interactive online professional development opportunities?  All nurses are welcome to enroll in our online learning courses for their own personal and/or professional development. The Institute has partnered with Dayton University to develop two online Parish Nursing Education Programs. Courses include: The Parish Nurse as Counsellor and Spiritual Companion and The Parish Nurse: Facilitating Wholistic Health Through the Lifespan.

Upcoming Online Course – Winter 2018

Parish Nursing:  Facilitating Wholistic Health through the Lifespan.  Interested - for indepth course details click on Courses

  • Registration Period:  October 25, 2017 to January 10, 2018
  • Course Dates:  January 14 to February 17, 2018

Two steps to register for an online course:

  1. You must complete a registration form with the Institute (to receive affiliation discount)
  2. Register with the University of Dayton Virtual Learning Community

Please Note:  In order to run this course we need a minimum of 8 students to register for each offering.  If registration is not sufficient, the course will be withdrawn and offered again in the following year.  We regret any inconvenience to those who have registered.

Program Fees:


Summer Residency (2018): $1,495.00
Foundations Plus: $1,000.00
Text books, online registration and travel not included.

APPLICATION DEADLINE for Summer Residency: May 31, 2018

To find out more about our Parish Nursing Program or to obtain an application to register, contact:
Catherine Leach, Administrative Assistant
tel: 1-888-548-9649 - ext. 281 or 519-432-1824, ext. 281

For more on parish nursing, visit: