Franciscan Health’s Parish Nurse Program ‘Meets People Where They Are’

By Jacob Musselman

They are nurses with a special calling—and they have been reaching out to central Indiana people in various and important ways for 25 years.

Franciscan Health’s Parish Faith Community Nurse Program (FCN) has been serving thousands for 25 years. These faith community nurses are fully licensed who practice holistic health for self, individuals and the public using their clinical skills in tandem with spiritual care.

The program formally serves 14 churches locally. Currently, about 20 parish nurses offer a variety of services. In 2020, the nurses touched the lives of nearly 78,000 people and volunteered 2,500 hours. Those numbers are down compared to previous years because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the nurses continue to persevere.

“We are grateful for our dedicated parish nurses and their health ministry,” said Jan Gaddis in a press release, who was among several Franciscan Health leaders who originated the FCN program in 1996. “They work directly with churches, building relationships, making connections and serving those in need, offering the healing ministries of Christ. We meet people where they are and provide them with support, love, prayer and a healing presence.”

Services provided:

  • Wellness screenings such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks
  • Health fairs and seminars
  • Collaborations and partnerships with Franciscan Health and local health departments and agencies
  • One-on-one counseling about individual healthcare issues
  • Giving referrals to local health system partners and resources
  • Visits to hospitals, nursing homes and patient homes
  • Interacting with local healthcare agencies on behalf of faith community members
  • Developing and overseeing support groups for various health issues
  • Overseeing a team of healthcare volunteers
  • Coordinating wellness and health-related activities