The Australian Faith Community Nurses Association commenced in 1996 to promote community health and healing, prevent disease and manage illness in human beings via faith community nurses. AFCNA also provides networking, education, resources and consultancy to enable faith community nurses to fulfil this role.
We are an ecumenical Christian organisation for faith community nurses (also known as parish nurses, pastoral nurses) and their health ministry volunteers throughout Australia. Faith community nurses care for, and work with, people of any faiths, or no faith, as well as those in their own faith community. Faith community nurses seek to promote holistic health, prevent disease, facilitate the social preconditions for health and assist people in self-management to control disease and alleviate the suffering and distress associated with disease.
AFCNA membership is aimed at nurses, but is open to any person with an interest in health ministry and pastoral care in the faith community.
Our aim is simple "to promote health of body mind and spirit".
AFCNA is a charitable, non-profit institution that exists for the public benefit to promote whole person health, prevent disease and manage illness in human beings via faith community nurses.
- the community with information, education and resources that promote and sustain charitable health care through the agency of registered nurses and ancillary support persons working on behalf of faith communities.
- the community with quality charitable health services that meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of individuals and families, without distinction, via registered nurses and ancillary support persons working on behalf of faith communities.
- the community with information, education, resources, research, publications to raise community awareness of common diseases and health related issues such as asthma, arthritis, AIDS, brain conditions, bowel disease, cancers, diabetes, heart disease, kidney conditions, mental illness etc. via registered nurses and ancillary support persons working on behalf of faith communities.
- faith community nurses with education resources and publications to perform their role in promoting holistic health, preventing disease, facilitating the social preconditions for health and assisting people in self-management and disease control to alleviate the suffering and distress associated with disease.
- faith community nurses with professional practice standards and codes and curriculum standards relevant to their practice;
- faith communities with consultancy, resources and education to enable them to commence, nurture and sustain viable charitable health services;
- promotion and publicity of the faith community nurse role and its health promoting functions.
AFCNA PROVIDES MEMBERS WITH:
- an 'Introductory' Course/Conference opportunity annually
- consultancy re health promotion and FCN practice issues
- resources to fulfil the FCN role
- peer networking
- research consultation
- publicity brochures
- newsletters with health promotion information, 3 per year
- practice standards (see webpage)
- continuing education
- a resource manual (See order form)
- a promotional DVD/video (See order form)
The extended open hand symbolises the faith community nurse
The extended open hand symbolises the faith community nurse and the support, guidance, nurture, care and compassion she/he affords all individuals within and beyond the faith community – promoting health and empowering them in the process of being and becoming.
The unfolding flower symbolises the faith community
The stylised unfolding flower symbolises the faith community and the freedom it provides for people to seek and live an abundant life. Each person within the faith community is thus symbolised as unfolding - fulfilling their potential, growing toward health to experience healing and wholeness. The faith community nurse is connected to, and in relation with, the faith community, which is at the centre of her/his ministry.
The dove symbolises the Holy Spirit
The flower may also be interpreted as a dove to symbolise the Holy Spirit, the empowering source for the faith community nurse, which enables her/him to react and respond to others with the love of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is central to the faith community nurse's life and practice. The Holy Spirit also empowers the faith community, facilitating its growth and vitality.
View an article of interest "The history of Australian faith community nursing".
Faith community nursing has historical origins within the religious orders and deaconess movements of the early Christian church. The late Reverend Granger Westberg, an advocate of holistic health care, reinvigorated this movement in the 1980s by introducing parish nursing to the USA. Westberg realised that nurses had broad knowledge across the health disciplines, which provided the requisite professional linkages for care of the whole person.
The specialty of faith community nursing formally commenced in Australia in February 1996, when a seminar to introduce the faith community nurse role was held in Adelaide, South Australia. Five faith communities (1 Lutheran, 1 Anglican, 2 Roman Catholic parishes, and 1 ecumenical agency working with homeless youth) began a demonstration project later that year, under the coordination of Anne van Loon. AFCNA was formed in 1996 to support nurses in this new specialty practice.
The first AFCNA quarterly newsletter was produced in May 1996. AFCNA was incorporated in May 1997 and held its first FCN preparation course in July 1997. Courses have been held every year since then in Australia and in New Zealand which has commenced its own association the ‘New Zealand Faith Community Nurses Association’ in 2000.