United Methodist parish nurses now have the opportunity to earn certification in their specialized ministry. Developed in consultation with Discipleship Ministries and the Global Health Division of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is now offering deacons or elders who are also parish nurses a certification in parish nurse ministry. Discipleship Ministries is offering a parish nurse specialization for nurses through the certified lay ministry process.
While other organizations offer certification in faith-community nursing, the GBHEM certification is explicitly United Methodist in that in entails education in United Methodist history, doctrine, polity, resources and mission.
“This is an opportunity for United Methodist parish nurses to get a distinctly United Methodist certification and enhance their connection with other United Methodist nurses,” says Victoria Rebeck, director of Deacon Ministry Development and Provisional Membership, Division of Ordained Ministry at GBHEM. She adds, “Parish nurses continue John Wesley’s interest in health and wholeness. This certification recognizes and supports that vital community ministry.”
Parish nursing has long been a part of congregational health under Global Ministries’ Global Health Unit. The term “parish nurse” was chosen by Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg in 1985 to name this specialty practice because it connoted service not only to congregations, but also to the wider community. Global Ministries will promote the ministry tracks for the parish nurse through its UMC Health Ministry Network of parish nurses.
“For health ministry to flourish, you need a parish nurse or person with a passion for health to advocate for programs that will improve the health of the local congregation and the community,” says Dr. Olusimbo Ige, executive director of Global Ministries’ Global Health Unit. “Not every community has a hospital or medical facility, but every community has a church which can positively influence and educate congregations and communities regarding holistic health practices of health ministry,” she explains. Global Ministries will assemble a roster of nurses who have completed the certification process for support and networking purposes.