Health / Parish Nurse

Health and spirituality are vital functions for a healthy church. First Presbyterian Church, OKC has a formal program wherein health and wholeness are an integral part of the life of our congregation and community. The parish nurse serves as a reminder that we as Presbyterians are committed to the full well-being of each member, body, mind, and soul.

This parish nurse functions under the direction of the Deacon Board and is an extension of the Care Team. Responsibilities are driven by both the mission and vision of First Presbyterian Church, OKC, as well as the Scope and Standards of Practice for Faith community Nursing outlined by the American Nurses Association.

A parish nurse is a registered nurse with additional training who serves members of the congregation and often people in the community as well. The role of a parish nurse is not primarily to deal with sickness but more significantly to be:

  • a health educator and teacher to promote healthy lifestyles and help people understand the relationships between lifestyle, faith and well-being
  • a personal health counselor to help people sort out health problems and make appropriate plans for handling them
  • a communication link and support for community health resources and services, to provide referrals and be a liaison for the church and its members
  • a teacher of volunteers to recruit members and train them to carry out a range of supportive services
  • an organizer of health support groups to assist groups in the congregation with particular concerns
  • a resource to assist with the assessment of congregational and community health needs.

The parish nurse program affirms the church as a place for prevention of illness or “disease,” as it teaches and supports us in living with “ease” physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially.

The 1988 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called churches to be congregations that encourage and promote health and wholeness. The Office of National Health Ministries currently serves as resource to presbyteries and synods as they help congregations to respond to the call. (Excerpt taken from

Diane Nola, RN is currently the head of our Parish Nurse program.  Her team includes a number of doctors, nurses, and dentists.

Sleep and Sleep Disorders: A Public Health Challenge (

While we often consider sleep to be a “passive” activity, sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of health promotion and chronic disease prevention in the public health community.

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome. Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. In short, drowsy driving can be as dangerous—and preventable—as driving while intoxicated.

Notably, more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. However, new methods for assessing and treating sleep disorders bring hope to the millions suffering from insufficient sleep. Fundamental to the success of all of these efforts is the recognition that sufficient sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity—and should be thought of as a “vital sign” of good health.



  1. Reite M, Ruddy J, Nagel K. Concise guide to evaluation and management of sleep disorders (3rd ed). American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2002


Lord of all creation, grant comfort and strength to those who are suffering from viruses we do not yet fully understand. May their time of recovery be a time of strengthening and hope, of rest and renewal.

Healing and teaching God, may you grant each person who is afflicted both wisdom and support to do all within their power to defeat this infirmity. We pray that you would also guide them to know when to ask for help.

Guard, especially, oh Lord, those who are weak and compromised, that they may make it through this valley.

And we ask a special blessing upon the parish nurses, clergy, and others who are providing care and comfort to those who are ill, that you would keep them safe from harm, now and always. Amen

P.S. Don’t forget, there is up-to-date information about the flu at the CDC website.