Sharing Faith and Medicine
The missionary nurse is a professional affiliated with a faith organization. Most faith missionary nurses will work overseas in impoverished or undeveloped countries. While attending to the medical needs of the population, the missionary nurse will also minister to their spiritual needs.
Missionary Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
The missionary nurse will perform all the functions of the hospital or doctor’s office nurse. These medical professionals will assess patients, take medical histories, administer IVs, assist in emergency procedures and teach patients methods to prevent the spread of infection or how to make water safe to drink.
In addition to the standard nursing procedures, the missionary nurse will also offer spiritual comfort and share their faith. The focus of the missionary nurse is twofold, to bring healing to the body and hope through sharing their faith with the people they help.
Many of the populations that the missionary nurse is working with overseas may live in impoverished nations where even clean water is unavailable. The missionary nurse and health team help provide health services and training in basic sanitation methods to villages that may lack medical care entirely.
How to Become a Missionary Nurse
The licensed RN or LPN/LVN who is drawn to missionary nursing will normally contact their own minister to find out what opportunities their particular religious organization may have available. If the nurse’s congregation doesn’t have any opportunities, then many nurses interested in missionary work contact larger religious groups that may have spiritual and medical missions going continually.
National organizations may offer more opportunities for missionary nurses. The need for these nurses is often dire. The reason is that the pay is very poor in general and some missionary nurses volunteer their services entirely. This is not a calling in which the nurse who plans to get rich will have much interest. However, a year or two as a missionary nurse can be a wonderful and broadening experience for any nurse.
Missionary Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
- The nurse must hold a valid RN or LPN/LVN license
- The nurse must be free to travel and able to accept a nominal fee for their service.
- The nurse must have religious faith. The purpose of a missionary nurse is not only to help heal the body, but to minister to the soul. Most faith-based organizations accept only those who profess a strong belief in a higher power.
- Certifications are optional but usually gratefully accepted. The need for trained nurses is so critical especially in disaster areas that specialty certifications are considered optional.
- Missionary nurses do not need special certifications to work for faith-based clinics and non-profit organizations. However, the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers several certifications that can be obtained by missionary nurses including pediatric, public/community health, cardiac rehabilitation and many more. Nurses who obtain certification through the ANCC are designated at RN-BS and backed by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).
Missionary Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The need for missionary nurses is critical and expected to remain so for the near future. It takes a special type of person to go to another country, face deplorable conditions and help make the lives of the population there better. Many nurses choose to volunteer for short periods as missionary nurses before continuing with their careers. No matter how long the nurse is able to stay, the help is generally appreciated.
The salary of a missionary nurse is around $25,000 yearly. Housing and food may be provided by the sponsoring organization.