Nurse Educator M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Missal, Bernita


Background: With the increasing number of people who are homebound or have chronic illnesses, the faith community nurse (FCN) is able to provide whole person care to people in faith communities. Purpose: The purpose of this critical review of the literature is to identify factors that affect the sustainability of FCN programs in faith communities. Theoretical Framework: Ziebarth’s Evolutionary Conceptual Model for Faith Community Nursing was applied to this literature review. This model allows for the definition of and practice of FCNs to change in order to improve the understanding and acceptance of this nursing specialty. Methods: A critical review of the literature was conducted which included relevant research studies and literature pertaining to the factors attributed to FCN programs. Articles and studies from 1997-2020 were included in this search based on the limited amount of research and literature on FCN. Results: Thirteen studies revealed strengths and weaknesses that impacted the sustainability of FCN programs. Identifiable factors included clergy and congregational views of the church’s role in health, perceptions and knowledge of FCNs, and barriers to FCN programs. Results indicated that a lack of financial support, time, resources, and rejection of the FCN role were barriers to sustainable FCN programs. Conclusions: Despite positive views of FCNs and the church’s role in health, there was a general lack of support in churches for health programming due to financial constraints and competition for time and space. There was a lack of knowledge of FCNs within faith communities, schools of nursing and among other health practitioners. All of these factors were shown to impact the sustainability of FCN programs. Implications for practice: FCN programs that maintain sustainability have positive outcomes and are able to reach a larger number of people with whole person care. Specific ways to improve sustainability of FCN programs include continual re-defining of the FCN role and increasing the knowledge and exposure of FCN among clergy and congregational members. Other methods that were recommended to improve sustainability and improve patient outcomes include further research to identify additional factors that affect FCN programs. The research requires larger, less homogenous sample sizes to provide a more accurate, comprehensive view of FCN sustainability. By expanding partnerships between faith communities, schools of nursing and healthcare organizations, this can lead to increased support, finances and resources for FCN programs, which could lead to improved and more sustained whole person care.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse Educator

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Nursing Commons