Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Adult Health Nursing

First Advisor

Inez Tuck


Faith community nursing is one of the newest specialized practices of professional nursing. A faith community nurse is an actively registered professional nurse, who serves as a paid or volunteer staff member in a faith community. The faith community nurse promotes health and wholism of the faith community, its groups, families, and individual members. A faith community, as in a church, synagogue or mosque, is an organization of individuals and families who share common beliefs, values, religious doctrine, and faith practices that influence their lives. The faith community functions as a client system for the faith community nurse. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the experiences of Protestant faith community nurses "living the call" to health ministry. Previous researchers have explored the roles of the faith community nurse, but have not specifically investigated the experience of living the call. A hermeneutical phenomenological methodology was used to answer the question, "What is the lived experience of faith community nurses living the call to health ministry?" The participants were ten Caucasian female faith community nurses residing in four regions in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All participants acknowledged receiving a "call" to health ministry. A structured interview of 60 to 90 minutes was conducted with each participant. The interview consisted of structured and semi-structured questions and explored the meaning of living the call to health ministry. Data were analyzed using the phenomenological method of Max van Manen. Five themes emerged including: 1) the calling; 2) relating to God in living the call; 3) practice in living the call; 4) challenges in living the call; and 5) blessings in living the call. Participants described the experiences of the callings to health ministry, consistent communications with God and the challenges and blessings of faith community nursing. The practices of faith community nurses were also described by the participants. The findings provide a glimpse into the lifeworld of the faith community nurse living the call to health ministry. This study may be helpful to others wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the calling to health ministry as well as the experiences of relating to God, practice, challenges, and blessings.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Nursing Commons