Chaplain/Nurse? Such a thing?

  1. 0
    Hi yall, im new here. Just started nursing school last month after 7 year period of being lost in life (since graduating highschool) and am so far digging nursing school. I've had this sudden bug in my brain about combining an education in theology/divinity with nursing. Like, after I obtain my RN I go and study theology (im a Lutheran) and become a Nurse Chaplain? I don't know if such things exists, that you can only be one or the other...I've spent a good chunk of my life in a hospital inpatient setting and met with many chaplains and been to a few in hospital services, but I never knew if the ministers were also RN/LPN/BSNs or no.

    And the internet seems to be rather bare in supplying me information to this topic. I'm currently without a church right now, and since my hours have switched to me working Sunday mornings (at a coffee shop) my sundays are pretty much committed. I might try to find time (HAHA, BIG LAUGH RIGHT THERE) between studies and school..and work...to find a pastor and strike up a conversation, but until then, I'm relying on you guys for some information.

    Hope you can help a guy out! Thanks
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    What would you envision a job as a nurse/chaplain to entail? Would you be a nurse who provides spiritual care, or a chaplain who has nursing knowledge?

    You might see if you can volunteer in the Pastoral Care dept of a hospital so you see what being a chaplain involves. You could discuss with the hospital chaplain your ideas. BTW......some chaplains are volunteers. Some of the ministers at our church are also volunteer hospital chaplains.
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    Take a look at "Parish Nursing" via Google or your browser of choice. It is a genuine nursing specialty in the community health world. But if you'd rather focus on the inpatient side, I think it may be more difficult due to patient confusion & ethical concerns about the clinical and spiritual aspects of care. For instance, if the patient sees you as a Spiritual counselor, this puts an entirely different spin on any advice you may offer.... they could interpret your advice as "do this because God wants you to". Not exactly kosher (forgive the pun) right?
  6. 0
    Quote from HouTx
    Take a look at "Parish Nursing" via Google or your browser of choice. It is a genuine nursing specialty in the community health world. But if you'd rather focus on the inpatient side, I think it may be more difficult due to patient confusion & ethical concerns about the clinical and spiritual aspects of care. For instance, if the patient sees you as a Spiritual counselor, this puts an entirely different spin on any advice you may offer.... they could interpret your advice as "do this because God wants you to". Not exactly kosher (forgive the pun) right?
    The OP has posted this in the Parish Nurse forum, so I assumed he is familiar with Parish Nursing. You can get information about Parish Nursing from the threads in this forum. Or post your questions about Parish Nursing here and I will try to answer them, since I am a Parish Nurse.
  7. 0
    How did you go about getting proper education for parish nursing? What was your education path? What does the job entail exactly? Im not exactly clear on what it is except that it exists. Is more of a preach/spiritual/emotional advice and guidance job or is it much more medical like what traditional nursing is?
  8. 1
    A parish nurse is a registered nurse who serves a church or parish in a volunteer or paid position. In order to become a Parish Nurse, you must first get a nursing degree. Most parish nurses have many years of nursing experience before becoming parish nurses. The job of a parish nurse requires one to be able to call upon this experience when addressing various health situations.

    Various training programs exist to prepare parish nurses. Most range from 30 to 40 hour courses, offered in the nursing or theology departments, medical centers, hospitals, or interfaith institutions. Several programs offer distance learning options. Content in Parish Nurse courses evolve around the role of health educator, personal health counselor, integrator of faith and health, health advocate, referral agent, support group facilitator, and coordinator of volunteers. Courses also focus on the history and philosophy of parish nursing, assessment, legal implications, team ministry, documentation, pastoral care, spiritual distress, etc. There is also ongoing training, many times on a monthly basis to keep abreast of current treatments, referral sources, etc.

    Most of the time, parish nurses are connected to a church congregation, serving in a variety of ways as they strive to promote health for the whole person, addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. They act in the role of health educators, personal health counselors, health advocates, referral agents, coordinates of volunteers, and integrators of health and wellness. They can be viewed as a bridge between the healthcare system and the church, as they practice on an independent level under the standards of parish nursing and licensure in their state.
    HappyWife77 likes this.


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