Quick Facts :
Missionary Nurse

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Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses, May 2017

info-icon ADN or BSN
info-icon $73,550 Annual Wage
info-icon 15% Job Growth

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What Is a Missionary Nurse?

In spite of the global progress of medicine over the last century, there are still hundreds of thousands of individuals and communities around the world that suffer from inadequate medical care. Communities in undeveloped and developing regions of the world, for instance, often suffer from a lack of access to healthcare facilities, qualified medical practitioners, antibiotics, and immunizations that could dramatically improve their lives.

Missionary nurses work hand-in-hand with medical teams to provide direct patient care, educate communities about health and illness, participate in community development projects, and promote spiritual well-being – in an effort to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

As a missionary nurse, you will most often find yourself in remote areas of the world, serving economically depressed communities that lack basic necessities that most people take for granted. Access to clean, running water, adequate housing, and a source of food are a few of the challenges that an underdeveloped community may be challenged with.  Other challenges include the threat of violence from war or local conflicts, inadequate transportation, and language barriers.

Working as a missionary nurse, however, can also be very rewarding. In addition to seeing the world and experiencing different cultures, you’ll also experience the personal satisfaction of helping individuals that are the most vulnerable, and seeing the positive impact your efforts can have on a community.

What Do Missionary Nurses Do?

Missionary nurses perform the same basic tasks as traditional nurses. This may include assessing and caring for patients who are ill and injured. They may administer medications, set broken bones, dress wounds, and even deliver newborns. However, missionary nurses have a number of obstacles that make their jobs much harder. For example, missionary nurses typically work in undeveloped or developing nations. This means that they are often working with limited resources. In some areas, everyday luxuries like electricity, telephone service, and even running water are non-existent.

Preventing illnesses in these areas is often a primary goal of missionary nurses as well. To do this, they will often administer vaccinations to adults and children, as well as educate individuals on ways to eliminate infection causing micro-organisms. For instance, missionary nurses may stress the importance of good hygiene and clean drinking water, by showing them how to create a dedicated toilet area and how to boil water to kill bacteria.

Other skills, besides nursing skills, are also important to have if you wish to become a missionary nurse. You will often be expected to jump in and help wherever you are needed. This can include digging wells, erecting buildings, preaching, or teaching basic skills.

Where Do Missionary Nurses Work?

Typically, missionary nurses work with churches, non-profit organizations, and humanitarian groups. They work all over the world, usually in undeveloped, developing, and remote regions.

How Do I Become a Missionary Nurse?

As with any nursing career, you will first need to obtain a nursing diploma or degree and pass a licensing examination before pursuing a missionary nursing career. You should also focus on becoming fluent in a few different languages, as well as studying different customs and cultures.

Some nursing experience may also be required as will a solid foundation of spiritual beliefs. Finally, you must also hold a current unrestricted travel visa and obtain nursing licensure in the country where you will be practicing.

Additional Resources for Missionary Nurses