New certifications in parish nursing available for ordained and lay leaders

United Methodist parish nurses now have the opportunity to earn certification in their specialized ministry. The United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) announced March 24 that, in consultation with United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and the Global Health Division of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), it is now offering deacons or elders who are also parish nurses a certification in parish nurse ministry. In addition, Discipleship Ministries is offering a parish nurse specialization for nurses through the certified lay ministry process.

“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 the Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of deacon ministry development and provisional membership with the Division of Ordained Ministry at GBHEM. “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.

Clergy (or those pursuing ordination) seeking professional certification in United Methodist parish nursing must meet standards set by GBHEM’s Division of Ordained Ministry. Candidates for certification are certified by their conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) in cooperation with GBHEM.

Nurses who are lay people, and who expect to remain lay people, should pursue the Certified Lay Ministry Parish Nurse specialization.

To learn more about certification in the United Methodist parish nurse ministry for clergy, please send a message to certification@gbhem.org. To learn more about certified lay ministry certification, send a message to laity@umcdiscipleship.org.