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Pairing faith with health: WVU online course promotes improving health in faith-based communities

Pairing faith with health: WVU online course promotes improving health in faith-based communities

Foundations of Faith Community Nursing, a course offered by the West Virginia University School of Nursing, teaches students how to improve health in faith communities, as well as to provide quality care to members of different faith backgrounds in the clinical care setting.

The next course offering, entirely online, is set for June 7 through July 29 for $400. While tailored to nurses, it is open to other individuals who work with faith communities, such as chaplains, pastors, social workers and others. However, please note that only RNs who complete the course can use the title Faith Community Nurse.

"This course will provide you with a strong foundation for what a nurse would do working within a faith community setting,” said Angel Smothers, DNP, APRN-BC, a clinical associate professor at the WVU School of Nursing. "Nurses from all practice backgrounds have taken the course over the six-plus years that it has been offered here at WVU and have found it both interesting and helpful."

Biz Morrissey, an advanced practice nurse who took the Faith Community Nursing course a couple years after graduating, wanted to better understand how to help the community.

“In the hospital setting, I totally understood, but when it came to my faith community, where I was seeing health disparities, I didn’t really know where to start,” Morrissey said. “Faith Community Nursing helped me know what to do, how I can help and what are my limits.”

From walking groups and blood drives to vaccination information and blood pressure screenings, Morrissey learned how small moves can make a big difference. While Faith Community Nursing isn’t about diagnosing people in the field, it is about advocating for people, making connections, and helping guide them where they need to go.

“This has been one of the most eye-opening experiences for me—being able to help and answer questions for people and being able to advocate for them in a safe environment,” Morrissey said. “It allows me to give back to my community and be understanding of how different religions and faiths can impact someone’s health.”

To learn more or to register for the class, visit the WVU School of Nursing website.

The WVU School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of Nursing Continuing Professional Development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.


CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing