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With the rising popularity of online learning, many adult learners returning to school are searching for a degree program that more closely fits their specific needs or lifestyle. For some, that means enrolling in an online RN to BSN program that aligns with their faith and religious beliefs. Students who take this path find that a faith-based curriculum is beneficial in more ways than one.

What Are the Benefits of a Faith-Based Degree Program?

Faith-based degree programs appeal to students of all ages across a variety of religious backgrounds. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans state that religion is somewhat or very important in their lives. Nurses who fall into this category prefer a degree program that utilizes a faith-based curriculum. Enrolling in such a program offers several benefits.

Supports personal religious beliefs. Students are drawn to a faith-based curriculum because it supports and nurtures their personal religious beliefs. Instead of a curriculum that avoids or minimizes the importance of one’s spirituality, a faith-based curriculum advocates ways for students to incorporate their beliefs into daily professional life. Many RN to BSN degree programs also provide courses or opportunities to prepare nurses for any ethical dilemmas in the workplace.

Recognizes patients’ religious autonomy. Faith-based nursing programs offer in-depth guidance on how to handle a patient’s religious requests or needs. Course topics address the role that patients’ religious beliefs play in their overall well-being and healthcare experience, which can be significant as identified by an American Cancer Society study. The study found that patients undergoing cancer treatment reported improved physical health when their religious or spiritual needs were met as part of a comprehensive care plan.

Shows a focus on mission and values. Faith-based curricula appeal to nurses who appreciate the continued focus on core theological values. For those who view nursing as a mission, participating in a faith-based degree program centered on their beliefs serves as further motivation and inspiration for their critical contributions to society.

Aims to be inclusive. Just because a degree program or curriculum is classified as Christian or Catholic, for example, does not mean that students with other religious beliefs are excluded. Most faith-based RN to BSN curricula aim to be inclusive in that the religious autonomy of students as well as patients and caregivers is respected.

What Role Does Faith Play for Some Nurses?

Nurses pursuing an online RN to BSN degree are often driven by a deep desire to help others. This sentiment is shared by nurses with a strong faith or religious background who believe in reaching out to others during difficult times. Some nurses feel called to serve or give back to the community and find that furthering their education allows them to do so more effectively.

As patient-centered and holistic care methods become more mainstream, nurses find encouragement to address the needs of the whole patient — mind, body and soul. Instead of focusing largely on the physical aspects of patient care, nurses partner with patients to work through any emotional, social and spiritual concerns or requests, too. The online RN to BSN curriculum at Mississippi College is based on Christian principles of caring for the whole patient, which includes recognizing the importance of a patient’s faith and spiritual health. Nurses who practice faith in their own lives or who have completed a faith-based curriculum feel more confident in providing this type of care.

Moreover, given the tremendous levels of pain and loss that nurses witness on a daily basis, they may find that drawing strength from their faith eases the burden and provides comfort and hope. The support nurses gain from their own beliefs often extends beyond the self. It also serves as an example to others, including patients, caregivers and coworkers.

A Holistic Approach

Enrolling in an online RN to BSN program that uses a faith-based curriculum is a welcome change for nurses who believe deeply in religion or spirituality and wish to incorporate it into their professional lives. With theological principles integrated throughout the coursework, nurses learn how to turn their faith into an asset in providing holistic patient care.

Learn more about the MC online RN to BSN program.


Pew Research Center: Importance of Religion in One’s Life

American Cancer Society: Religion, Spirituality, and Physical Health in Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis

FierceHealthcare: How Spirituality and Religion Impact Patient Outcomes

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