Many patients find difficulty accessing the health system as the health system is complex, has its own language that can be hard to understand (and remember), and with increased workloads staff have less time to spend with patients.

The role of the FCN

The Faith Community Nurse can help clients to access and appropriately utilise the health system, find additional resources to both inform and support the client, help the client access and evaluate information on health, and can be an advocate for the client in the system.


Emeritus Professor Dr Anthony Radford says, “Another particularly powerful area of potential for parish nurses is the area of patient advocacy. As poverty, powerlessness, lack of education and lack of access to resources are such major determinants of health care, linking people with available resources and standing up for patient rights will gain significance.”

Health Literacy

‘Only about 40% of adults have the level of individual health literacy they need to be able to make well-informed decisions and take action about their health. Some of the impacts of low health literacy can include:
• difficulty understanding health information
• not taking medications correctly
• poorer knowledge of health conditions
• less use of preventive health services, like screening or vaccinations
• more visits to hospital
• poorer health status.1’

Read more:  Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care brochure ‘Health Literacy: A summary for clinicians’

Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care, Health Literacy

FCN’s may provide health promotion and management material to clients. For some hints on writing material see below

Resources for writing health material

Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care, Fact Sheet 4 Writing health information for consumers 

Canadian Public Health Association, Easy does it! Plan language and clear verbal communication. Training manual



Photo credit: Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash