Faith Community Nursing: Education and Career Information
The nursing profession offers several specific areas of specialization. Faith community nursing involves using a holistic approach to promote the well-being of the spirit, mind, and body. Modern faith community nursing was started by a Lutheran clergyman in the 1980s. It has expanded to other Christian denominations as well as other religious communities. Faith community nursing, or what is sometimes called parish nursing, is a growing field that is recognized by the American Nursing Association.
What Does a Faith Community Nurse Do?
A faith community nurse would provide healthcare services that also included the spiritual care of individuals within the context of a faith community. This profession integrates the practice of nursing with the practice of faith. You would have many of the same duties as a registered nurse while providing care within a specific religious community. You would be expected to coordinate services and provide referrals in the community. A single church might support one nurse, or two or more churches may have one nurse. According to Faith Community Nursing, there are several specific roles that you would fulfill when choosing a career in this field of nursing.
•Provide Health Education – You would work with both individuals and groups within the faith community. You would provide education in the areas of promoting general health, addressing emotional issues, teaching illness reduction methods and disease management. You would also provide education in the areas of faith and social issues. It’s important to successfully integrate faith and healthcare in all of these areas.
•Provide Healthcare – You may be responsible for providing workshops or free clinics for the community you serve. This could specifically include things such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, weight-loss programs, and grief support groups. You might also provide general health evaluations.
•Provide Referrals and Resources – You would often act as a liaison between those in a faith community and whatever health services may be needed. You may be needed to schedule doctor appointments or make a referral to other similar types of services. You might also visit those in the hospital or attend an appointment with an individual or a family.
•Provide Advocacy – You may be asked to provide assistance to a particular individual by informing him or her of potential healthcare options or explaining particular medical treatments.
How much do Faith Community Nurses Earn?
The amount that you would earn in this particular field would likely depend on several factors including how many years of experience you had, how large of an organization or congregation you worked for, and what type of job responsibilities were included. The Nurse Journal reports that the average pay for nurse in this position is $65,470 annually. This averages out to $31.48 an hour. They also point out that there is expected to be an above average amount of job growth for this profession.
What type of skills are required in this Field?
There are several specific skills needed for an individual to practice as a faith community nurse. First, the basic skills that are required to become a registered nurse would be required. These would include strong communication and organizational skills. It would be necessary to be able to handle high levels of stress and a heavy work load. Any type of nursing would require that an individual have a deep level of compassion, caring, and kindness for other people. Being studious and academically motivated would be crucial for success as a registered nurse before continuing in the area of faith community nursing.
If you were interested in furthering your career and specializing in faith community nursing, it would be necessary to have a strong spirituality and be connected to your faith community. The Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing states that individuals pursuing a career in this particular field should have a specific understanding of the beliefs and spirituality of the faith community they serve. He or she should also reflect a spiritual maturity as well. You would need to be able to adequately combine and support the spiritual, social, and health related needs of your faith community.
What are the Educational Requirements for Faith Community Nurses?
There are several educational requirements for individuals wishing to pursue a career in faith community nursing. If you’re in high school and hoping to prepare for a career in this field you would need to take classes in advanced English and Mathematics. You would want to put particular emphasis on science and health related courses. You would need to complete biology and chemistry classes before being accepted into a college level nursing program.
After being accepted into an accredited nursing program, you would work towards becoming a registered nurse and receiving a bachelorette degree. To obtain a bachelor’s degree, you would complete four years of college. The first two years would focus on courses primarily in science such as organic chemistry and physiology. The remaining two years would involve practical nursing experience that would include clinical experience in a hospital or another type of medical facility. While some programs that certify faith community nurses require a bachelorette degree in nursing, according to All Nursing Schools, others will accept an associate’s degree. An associate’s degree normally includes two years of post-high school education and training instead of four.
Once you have received a degree in nursing, you would attend a school that provides classes specifically for faith community nursing. Courses would include learning how to apply spirituality to a variety of health-related issues. Schools offer programs that normally have 15 to 30 hours of course work. These courses and classes are conducted over a time period that ranges from a week or two to a semester. There usually aren’t any internship requirements to be a faith community nurse since you would already be required to be a registered nurse and have a current license in the state you work in. After successful completion of a program that meets the requirements for board certification, you would become licensed through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
How are Faith Community Nurses Licensed?
A license in this particular field of nursing is obtained after receiving an initial RN license and completing a program in faith community nursing. Through American Nurses Credentialing Center there are several criteria that needs to be met before applying for a license. This credential will stay valid for 5 years after meeting the following requirements.
•Have worked two years in a full-time capacity as an RN.
•Have completed 1,000 hours in a particular area of faith community nursing. This must have occurred within the past 3 years.
•Have 30 hours of continued education in faith community nursing. You must have completed this within the past 3 years.
•Have completed 2 or more types of professional development in categories such as presentations or research.
Faith community nursing is an exciting area of nursing that is expected to see increased growth during the next several years. If you enjoy working with people on a holistic level, and in particular, where the spiritual and the physical intersect, this can be a rewarding career.
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