Missionary nurses work with religious non-profit organizations, churches, humanitarian groups, and more to bring physical and spiritual care to individuals who are living in underdeveloped or developing areas around the world. In addition to treating illness and injuries, these nurses assume various roles such as nurse educators, ambulatory care center directors, and nursing home administrations. They also share their faith with the patients they care for. Missionary nurses often consider their work as more of a moral or spiritual calling instead of merely a job. Since money typically isn't the primary objective of these nurses, it's not at all uncommon for missionary nurses to work as volunteers. When they're not attending to the physical and spiritual needs of their patients, these nurses often get involved in fundraising and awareness initiatives so that missions to provide healthcare to underdeveloped and developing countries can continue.
What Are Some Missionary Nurse Duties?
Some common duties that missionary nurses carry out may include:
Educate underserved communities about hygiene, proper health techniques, dental care, and disease prevention
Provide direct patient care to patients such as administering vaccinations, dressing wounds, and treating various illnesses and injuries
Help raise money for schools, medical facilities, and medical supplies for underserved communities
Share religious beliefs with patients/communities
Provide spiritual and emotional support to patients
Teach reading and writing skills
Where Do Missionary Nurses Work?
Missionary nurses often travel to remote locations that lack proper funding and healthcare access. Employers may include:
Churches and other religious organizations
How to Become a Missionary Nurse
Like other careers in the nursing field, beginning a career as a missionary nurse usually means first earning a nursing education from an accredited academic institution. While studying, it would be wise to take some courses in cultural and religious studies and to study a foreign language. Experience in public health nursing or faith-based nursing is also a plus.
Step 1: Educational Requirements
To become a missionary nurse, individuals should have the following in their educational background:
Earn an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university
Take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam
Hold an active and unrestricted RN license
Proficiency in one or more foreign languages
A strong background in theology and/or spirituality
*In some cases, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) can travel abroad and lend their skills to underserved communities in the same way that RN missionaries do.
Do Missionary Nurses Need an RN Degree?
Although not always required, most of the time missionary nurses will hold RN licenses. In other cases, they may be Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
Step 2: Required Certifications/Credentials
There is no specialty certification for missionary nursing. The only official certifications or credentials that missionary nurses are required to have are their RN license, an official passport, and an unrestricted travel visa. Although it's not always a requirement, it's suggested that missionary nurses hold a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification from the American Heart Association.
Missionary Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment
Is nursing for you a spiritual calling? Are you independent, ambitious, and anxious to make a real difference in the world? If so, missionary nursing could be right for you, as the profession goes far beyond simply providing medical care.
Job Description & Information
Essential Skills Needed - Proficiency in multiple languages, cultural competency, strong faith, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, compassion, sensitivity, empathy, strong clinical skills, ability to effectively carry out nursing tasks with limited resources, ability to work and live abroad for extended periods of time
Job Outlook - Although there is no data on employment projections for missionary nurses, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the nursing field as a whole will experience significant growth - about 16 percent - through 2026.
What Is the Average Salary of a Missionary Nurse?
Missionary nursing salaries fluctuate so much that there isn't a very good benchmark for average pay. Often, missionary nurses work as unpaid volunteers. With that being said, the earning potential of a missionary nurse will almost entirely depend on the financial might of whichever organization is employing them. Despite the demand for nurses being incredibly high, a missionary's pay is often dependent upon charitable giving - something that's often in short supply.