At times, it seems that we are under the impression that faith and science should be separate. At Marian University accelerated nursing programs, we don’t believe this is the case. Some nursing specialties even require knowledge of theology and/or spirituality. We have put together a list of our top 5 faith-based nursing careers where you can exercise your beliefs.
1. Parish Nursing
Sometimes you’ll hear parish nursing referred to as faith community nursing, a title recognized by the American Nursing Association. Parish nurses have the same responsibilities as other registered nurses. The major difference is that they typically work in their respective religious communities in this faith based nursing specialty. While parish nursing is most common within the Christian faith, it is also supported by other religions.
Parish nurses are typically staff members of a congregation. Thus, in addition to providing health education and counseling, these nurses also offer spiritual guidance. People who choose to pursue parish nursing most commonly act as health advocates to help congregation members make health decisions based on both traditional medicine and faith.
Requirements: Parish nurses are required to have an active RN license or must be a current student in a baccalaureate nursing program. Nurses in this specialty must also be spiritually and/or theologically educated. Up to 5 years of prior nursing experience may be required. Courses on faith community nursing are offered throughout the United States and in several countries, but should not be substituted for a traditional nursing education.
2. Holistic Nursing
This highly sought-after form of nursing is growing in popularity. Those working in this niche healthcare field are also called “complementary health nurses.” Holistic nurses focus on healing and caring for the “whole” person, not only including the person’s physical health, but also his or her mental and spiritual health.
This form of nursing combines the traditional form of healthcare and nursing, such as administering medicine and treatments, tracking vitals, and so on, with non-tradition medicinal methods like acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, and spiritual healing. A Christian nurse could find working for patients or clinics with a religious background who are searching for a “whole” approach to wellness and healthcare.
Requirements: In order to become a holistic nurse, you must first earn your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Then you must pass the NCLEX exam and work as an RN and work practicing holistic nursing for at least one year, or 2,000 hours within the last 5 years, before applying for your certificate.
You must also complete at least 48 contact hours of continuing education in holistic nursing no more than two years before applying for certification. If you decide you want to include acupuncture and/or massage in your position, then during this time you can get certified for those specialties within your state.
After fulfilling these requirements, you may get your Holistic Nursing Board Certification (HN-BC) from the American Holistic Nurse Certification Corporation (AHNCC). If you want to advance further in this field or if you already have your master’s degree in nursing, you may earn the next and highest level of certification (though this is optional) through the Advanced Holistic Nurse-Board Certification (AHN-BC).
3. Missionary Nursing
As a missionary nurse, you’ll likely practice in a country that is in desperate need of medical attention and education. Nurses in this specialty act as healthcare providers, educators, and advocates. Providing emotional and spiritual support is also a critical role of missionary nurses. While the majority of missionary nurses practice overseas, much work is done within the boundaries of the US, including raising money for healthcare clinics and medical supplies.
Requirements: Missionary nurses are required to pass the NCLEX-RN examination, obtain an unrestricted travel visa, and have a strong background in religion. We published a blog a couple weeks ago that provides more detail on how to become a missionary nurse.
4. School Nurse
Through this nursing specialty, you have the ability to work with and treat students in all kinds of schools, including parochial schools. If you would like to practice in a setting that allows you to practice your faith and share the word of God, working in a parochial school as the nurse is a great place to do so. As a school nurse, you will be responsible for caring for sick or injured students, taking their vital signs, monitoring their treatment, and administering medication or aid when needed.
School nurses also take on other rolls of treatment, including teaching healthy habits, information about the body’s transition over the years, precautions, and so on.
Requirements: To become a school nurse, you must pass the NCLEX-RN, gain three years or at least 4,000 hours of clinical practice, and then pass your School Nurse Certification exam through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.
5. Camp Nurse
This fun nursing specialty can easily turn into a faith based nursing career if the nurse chooses to work for religious camps and retreats. The duties of a registered nurse comes into play in this career, combined with managerial competency and an extra wide array of medical knowledge and skills to treat issues more common in camp settings, such as bug bites, skin infections due to poisonous plants, broken bones, and burns.
Other duties can include making health plans for illness outbreaks and establishing health centers to treat victims in on the camp. This career is great for nurses who want to practice their beliefs and who love nature.
Requirements: Before becoming a camp nurse, you must first earn your nursing diploma, Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), pass the NCLEX, get trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and then procure a job at the camp of your choosing.
The field of nursing opens up a world of opportunities. The best part is that you can freely share and exercise your faith! If you are interested in learning more about how you can practice your beliefs in a career path that allows you to help people and address serious healthcare needs, then call us today at 866.892.6463 or contact us to discover how you can become a nurse in our faith based nursing program in just 16 months.