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.
Some common duties that missionary nurses carry out may include:
Missionary nurses often travel to remote locations that lack proper funding and healthcare access. Employers may include:
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.
To become a missionary nurse, individuals should have the following in their educational background:
*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.
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).
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.
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.
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.