How to Incorporate Faith-Based Principles into Your Nursing Career for Better Health

Science and religion don’t often mix. Nurses, however, spend much of their time at an odd intersection of fact-based practices and faith. For many people, illness and the potential for death are deeply spiritual experiences. For the patient and the people who love them, it is a time of frequent prayer and internal reflection.

Faith-based care recognizes this fact and engages actively with it. In this article, we will take a look at what faith-based care is and how you can incorporate it into your nursing career.

What is faith-based nursing?

Faith-based nursing is a subspeciality that incorporates the patient’s faith into how care is administered. It is a legitimately recognized subspecialty of nursing that requires a special certification.

Faith-based nurses provide the same level of medical care as any other RN. However, they deliver that care with a unique emphasis not just on the patient’s body, but also on their spiritual side as well. The integration of spirituality into healthcare has been shown to relieve feelings of anxiety in patients, which can subsequently result in better overall outcomes.

Do You Have to Be Religious to Incorporate Faith-based Nursing Principles?

No. You don’t have to be religious to incorporate faith-based nursing principles into your care approach. Most nurses thinking about faith-based nursing probably are. That said, many hospitals throughout the country cater to specific religious denominations. Not everyone working at those hospitals is a member of said religion.

You don’t have to believe in any religion at all to accept the essential component of faith-based nursing: Religion may be important to the patient you are treating. If you can find ways to honor that and incorporate it into the way you administer care, it could positively influence their outcome. You don’t have to buy into the idea of religious miracles to understand how important the patient’s mindset is to how they respond to care.

How Do You Become a Faith-based Nurse?

Faith-based nurses begin their careers by following the same steps as their secular peers. It begins with getting completing your BSN and taking the NCLEX. From there, you can get certified through the religious organization that you are interested in working within.


The Catholic church is very involved in healthcare and has many faith-based training options. However, you may be able to find any number of different options that align with your specific religious denomination.

The certification process will train you in best practices and provide a road map of how to implement faith into your nursing.

Understand Your Patient’s Perspective

Engaging with healthcare on a spiritual level allows nurses to take a more complete look at how the patient sees their situation. For spiritual people, illness can be an almost religious experience in its own right, forcing them to engage actively with their own mortality.

The patient’s religious beliefs may also define the perimeters for what they are comfortable with. Some religions have very particular rules concerning what type of care is acceptable. Understanding these perspectives can strengthen your relationship with the patient and improve the way you collaborate.

Faith-Based Care Can Improve the Way You Work with Families

Nurses everywhere know that family members play a very important role in patient care. It can be a challenging relationship for healthcare professionals, who might struggle to relate to family members who are having a deeply emotionally charged experience.

Establishing a faith-based connection can help foster trust and communication between caregivers and family members.

Lean on the Power of Prayer

The power of prayer, in this context, is abstract—or at least up to personal interpretation. It means something different to everyone. Faith-based nurses can encourage their patients to pray about their problems.

The benefit that the patient receives may not be tangible. It may not result in symptom relief. However, it may help them process their feelings more effectively and improve their outlook. Not only will these benefits make the patient feel better in the short term, but they may also improve their overall outcome.

Use Faith to Manage Your Own Stress

It’s worth mentioning that patients aren’t the only ones who benefit from faith-based care. If you are a religious person, being able to lean on your beliefs as you carry out your professional responsibilities can be very beneficial.


Nurses encounter enormous levels of stress. Being able to openly engage with and practice your spiritual beliefs at work can make a big difference. Faith is consistently shown to be a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety. Faith-based nurses have the opportunity to pray about their problems or openly discuss them in a spiritual context with their peers. This is a unique opportunity that many, or even most nurses, never get.

Provide Total Care

Let’s say that a patient only has a few months left to live. They are going to enter hospice. The quality of their life will be maintained to the fullest possible extent, but preventative or corrective treatment is no longer on the table.

In a secular setting, the patient’s physical comfort will be taken into constant consideration. In a faith-based setting, care providers can take things a step further by taking the patient’s spiritual needs into account as well.

For spiritual people, the purpose of life, in many ways, is preparing for death. Faith-based care can recognize this aspect of the patient’s perspective and engage with it more actively than would be appropriate in a traditional hospital setting.

This will provide the patient with comfort and help ensure that all of their needs are being met.

People who need health care services are, naturally enough, extremely vulnerable. Spiritual-based care does not eliminate that problem, but it does more to fully recognize it. If you hold spiritual beliefs or simply see the benefits of incorporating religious thought into certain aspects of healthcare, consider pursuing a career in faith-based nursing.