Functions of a Community Nurse



1. Health Educator and Facilitator

The CN uses various and appropriate methods to educate individuals and to facilitate small group learning in the areas of: lifestyle, behaviour, faith, health enhancement activities, illness risk reduction, disease management, environment awareness, social justice and other health and well-being issues that are pertinent to the group of people the CN serves.

2. Advocate

CNs may be requested to support a person, or persons regarding their health care, or their rights regarding health care. This may involve interpreting points of view and helping people to ‘see’ another perspective. Thus this function may include mediation to bring about agreement and/or reconciliation between people. Advocacy includes prayer with (and for) clients and their families.

3. Personal Health Counsellor

Personal and small group counselling is an important aspect of the role. This may entail helping people with health problems through listening, advising, supporting and recommending referral, as required. In addition, the CN provides home visits and monitors progress as requested. The role includes offering knowledge of viable options to assist the individual to make informed choices in a supported environment.

4. Resource and Referral Agent

The CN liaises between the individual and the faith community, and also the individual and other health and community services. The CN is able to negotiate access to, and assist entry into health services or support networks in the local community, of which people may be unaware. This resource and referral activity occurs within the faith community and beyond. The aim is to better manage and coordinate care for individuals and communities.

5. Coordinator of Health Ministry Volunteers

The CN organises, educates and supports groups of ancillary workers and volunteers to support the health ministry of the faith community.

6. Care Manager

The CN assists clients with an existing illness, complex condition and/or disability to manage their condition, prevent exacerbations, and/or limit complications. The CN’s holistic approach to care management considers the client, their family, the client environment and the faith community, when developing care management with the client.

Other responsibilities of an CN include:

  • active participation in the worship life of the faith community
  • active team membership/leadership within the congregation
  • creating, maintaining and storing confidential client records
  • on-going evaluation of the CN role, functions and
  • self-care: to ensure personal spiritual growth and capacity to cope in this demanding position


The majority of CN’s in New Zealand work voluntarily but increasingly salaried positions are becoming available as churches or health agencies acknowledge the value of this nursing speciality.  Whilst NZCNA endorse the concept of both voluntary and salaried positions, even voluntary job contracts should include expenses for the requirements of this ministry.  We encourage that expenses should include:

  • a mileage allowance
  • a book allowance
  • payment of annual Nursing Council registration fees
  • the cost of indemnity insurance or annual membership of an organisation such as NZNO which provides such insurance
  • cost of expenses for educational expenses e.g. attendance at NZCNA annual conferences (registration, accommodation and travel) e.g. cost of initial (by distance learning)
  • provision of office facilities with lockable filing cabinet and office expenses

If the CN is salaried, the industrial rates for a registered nurse should apply and appropriate remuneration can be guided by contacting the regional NZNO office.  See target=”_blank”>NZCNA manual for aspects of a salaried job contract. Salaries for CNs may be funded in the following ways:

  • private sponsorship from individuals, or corporate sponsors
  • sponsorship from private benefactors, foundations, and funding agencies
  • grants for specific project work from community and government funding agencies
  • contributions from members of the faith community
  • partnerships with other community, health and aged care agencies

Whether voluntary or salaried, a contract and job description will be required to include as proof of hours of employment for the requirements of Nursing Council, should the CN be audited.  We advise that CN’s include these in a portfolio together with evidence of professional development.