Christian Science nursing

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The ministry of Christian Science nursing

Christian Science nursing is available for individuals relying on Christian Science for healing. It provides skillful, practical assistance and care to the one in need. The guidance for a Christian Science nurse can be found in the Manual of The Mother Church (Article VIII; Section 31).

Christian Science nurses may work independently in individual's homes, or for Christian Science nursing facilities and visiting services. These organizations are independently run, and can be found in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and South America.

See directory of Christian Science nurses or those who may be available to work in homes.

Video: About Christian Science nursing

Christian Science nursing facilities or houses* provide a sanctuary where an individual's desire to rely solely on Christian Science for healing is supported by the spiritual reassurance and practical care given by Christian Science nurses.

These organizations offer 24-hour skilled Christian Science nursing care. They may also offer:

  • "Outpatient" care for those in need of a single visit, or requiring brief daily attention, such as changing a bandage.

  • "Home visits" for those whose needs can be met within two or three hours.

  • "Rest and study" or "Spiritual renewal" rooms for those who desire a haven for prayer and study but do not have Christian Science nursing needs.

  • "Respite care" for short-term assistance at the facility, so that family members and caregivers looking after loved ones are temporarily relieved of responsibility for care.

These organizations are not directly affiliated with The Mother Church. They are not-for-profit, independent organizations and set their own fees for payment.

*Facilities are referred to as "houses" in Europe and Canada.

View a list of Christian Science nursing facilities and visiting services

Resources for financial assistance

Benevolence and funds that provide financial assistance vary from country to country. Please check with the clerk of a branch church or Reading Room near you to find out what is available in your area.

  • In the United States some insurance companies cover Christian Science nursing costs, and if a patient is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, reimbursement for some expenses is available at participating facilities. Check the facility’s website for more information.

  • The “National Fund for Christian Science Nursing” provides assistance in the United States. More information is available at their website: nfcsn.org

  • In the United Kingdom, "The Aid Fund for Christian Scientists in Need of Nursing Care" provides grants covering Christian Science nursing in facilities and homes. More information is available at their website: csaidfund.org.uk

  • Facilities may offer partial benevolence, or be able to share information about available resources to those patients who qualify. Contact facilities directly with specific questions.

Updated November 2018

Christian Science nursing is grounded in the Bible-based theology of Christian Science, which includes Christ Jesus’ commandment to love one another (see John 15:12). This practical care is carried out with prayer, wisdom and skill, supporting the patient’s decision to rely on Christian Science for healing, which includes treatment by prayer, generally from a Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner.

The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, established the authority and standard for the Christian Science nurse in 1908, in the Manual of The Mother Church (Page 49, Article Vlll; Section 31):

Christian Science Nurse. SECT 31. A member of The Mother Church who represents himself or herself as a Christian Science nurse shall be one who has a demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science practice, who thoroughly understands the practical wisdom necessary in a sick room, and who can take proper care of the sick.

The cards of such persons may be inserted in The Christian Science Journal under rules established by the publishers.

Individuals advertising in The Christian Science Journal and The Herald of Christian Science have presented satisfactory evidence that they fulfill the requirements in this By-Law.

This Scope of Services is intended to clarify for patients and other interested persons what they may expect when engaging the services of a Christian Science nurse. It touches briefly on the main aspects of, and ethical considerations related to, those services.

Christian Science nursing care includes:

  • Accepting a case with the expectancy of complete and quick healing;

  • Giving care that is consistent with the theology and ethics of Christian Science;

  • Loving reassurance of God's tender care, ever-presence, and omnipotence; faithfully and consistently acknowledging each individual’s spiritual perfection;

  • Christian encouragement of a patient's appropriate expression of activity and vitality;

  • Reading to or with an individual from the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy, and additional literature published by The Christian Science Publishing Society;

  • Communication: maintaining an ethical, moral, and loving manner in all communications with the patient, family, friends, Christian Science practitioner, and others; observing ethical and legal requirements with regard to private information about the patient;

  • Surroundings: maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to spiritual healing and supportive of harmonious care;

  • Personal care and bathing: assisting with all necessary care to meet the needs of cleanliness and comfort;

  • Mobility: assisting with mobility including assisting with standing, walking, moving, and settling with or without mobility aids or comfort items;

  • Nourishment: preparing and modifying food; assisting with feeding; giving appropriate encouragement to eat;

  • Cleansing/bandaging: cleansing, covering and bandaging, to provide for cleanliness, protection, support, and comfort;

  • Instructing the patient or others in providing care for meeting individual needs;

  • Being obedient to the laws of the Iand.

Christian Science nursing care does not include:

  • Making a medical diagnosis or prognosis;

  • Assuming responsibility for making healthcare decisions for the patient;

  • Administering medication, drugs, or using medicated, herbal, or vitamin-based products and remedies;

  • Using and administering medically oriented techniques or technology; including, but not limited to, administering food or liquids with medical equipment, e.g.— intravenous feeding;

  • Manipulation, massage, physical therapy

  • Assuming responsibility for a patient's financial or household business transactions;

  • Intruding on the private relationship between the patient and the Christian Science practitioner, or between the patient and his or her family;

  • Giving personal advice and counsel.

Fundamental to the ministry of a Christian Science nurse is active, prayerful affirmation of everyone's innate spirituality and responsiveness to God's harmonious government. This spiritual witnessing undergirds each aspect of the care a Christian Science nurse renders.

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Christian Science nursing facilities and houses offer a wide range of educational programs and learning styles. Many offer classes onsite in conjunction with side-by-side mentoring. Offerings may include:

  • A complete schedule of classes supplemented by side-by-side mentoring.

  • Beginning classes only, referring students elsewhere for further coursework.

  • Side-by-side mentoring and instruction as an alternative to classes.

  • Creative and flexible class schedules to accommodate individual and family needs.

Some Journal-listed Christian Science nurses may be available as independent mentors, sharing the ethics, skills, and application of Christian Science nursing principles one-on-one. There is no comprehensive registry of such mentors, but qualified Christian Science nurses may be located geographically by consulting The Christian Science Journal Directory.

Interested parties should contact Christian Science nurses and Christian Science nursing organizations directly for information about their particular programs. The Mother Church does not train Christian Science nurses and the Christian Science nursing facilities and houses that offer training are not directly affiliated with The Mother Church.

View a list of Christian Science nurse’s training programs

Christian Science nurses may apply to advertise in The Christian Science Journal. The requirements for advertising are:

  • Membership in The Mother Church.

  • Primary class instruction with an authorized teacher of Christian Science.

  • A demonstrated practice of Christian Science in one's own life, based on deep study of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

  • Thorough preparation in ethics and a wide range of Christian Science nursing skills to care for patients, including: assisting with mobility, care in bed, cleansing and bandaging wounds, preparation and modification of nourishment.

  • Substantial practical experience in caring for a variety of patients.

  • References from experienced Christian Science nurses who can attest to your Christian Science nursing work.

  • Demonstrated readiness and availability to respond to calls day or night in a variety of settings such as Christian Science nursing facilities, homes, camps, and schools.

  • An interview with the Christian Science Publishing Society regarding the standards for an advertiser.

  • Satisfactory completion of a criminal background check.

Guidance for establishing a Christian Science nursing practice

Mary Baker Eddy's writings give you the best guidance for your own prayers and study in establishing a Christian Science nursing practice. We encourage your particular consideration of the following:

  • Christian Science Nurse (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 31)

  • Confidentiality (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 22)

  • Quick and whole healing (Manual, Art. XXX, Sect. 7)

  • Alertness to Duty (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 6)

  • Choice of patients (Manual, Art. XXVII, Sect. 4)

  • Aids in sickness (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pg. 395)

Advertising your services to the public, will require you to have:

  • an understanding of the prayerful, ethical and practical aspects for accepting cases

  • experience in making decisions and providing care in a home environment

  • a confidential means by which a patient can request your assistance

  • professional charges and billing system

  • confidence in communicating with family/public, etc.

Of utmost importance is your receptivity to Truth and Love and your readiness to demonstrate the whole By-Law for the Christian Science nurse. "As Christian Scientists you seek to define God to your own consciousness by feeling and applying the nature and practical possibilities of divine Love: to gain the absolute and supreme certainty that Christianity is now what Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated - health, holiness, immortality." (Mary Baker Eddy, Message for 1901, pg.1) 

If you have questions about the application please contact csnursing@christianscience.com.

Like anyone else who has witnessed or been a part of a healing through Christian Science, we rejoice whenever we hear about someone who is interested in joining with those engaged in supporting others in this vital work. Nothing is more needed in our world today than the powerful, practical healing that Christian Science offers. Becoming a Journal-listed Christian Science nurse adds your name to the ranks of those whose devotion to God and commitment to healing overflows in inspired, practical acts of caring. The world needs and feels the transforming power of this Christly love!

We're here to support you every step of the way as you respond to this calling of the Christ. We cherish your willingness to let the love of the Comforter find tangible expression in your Christian Science nursing ministry. The application process has less to do with filling out a form, and so much more about a "preparation of the heart".

Speaking to each one of us, Mary Baker Eddy writes: "I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. ... Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 250). Thank you for your daily prayer to be an active witness to the power and presence of divine Love, and for the steps this prayer has led you to take to be prepared for advertising in The Christian Science Journal.

We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about how you've prepared for this important next step.

You will find the application form below, which you can easily fill out online and submit. You will be contacted during the review process of the application, but you’re welcome to be in touch with us at any time (see email address below).

Christian Science Nursing Activities
210 Massachusetts Ave P07-10
Boston MA 02115 

csnursing@christianscience.com
617-450-2685 

By A. E. KATHRYNE RAMER

From the February 15, 1919 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel (Find the original article on JSH-Online here

Words are inadequate to express my appreciation for what understanding I have of the truth as demonstrated in Christian Science, especially during the time of the recent epidemic of hypnotic fear which swept our country from ocean to ocean. During three weeks of that time I was in bed only three nights and helped to care for twenty-four persons who asked and received help through Christian Science. The healings were complete, without the after effects of dizziness, weakness, or lassitude, or even any sense of food disagreeing with the patients. I am a trained, experienced nurse, and have been working in a small town in Nebraska in that capacity for the past five years.

A call came from a place thirty-two miles away, where a family of five were living in a box car beside the railroad track—three children, father, and mother, and previous to my going, three doctors had been in attendance whose diagnosis had been pneumonia, the so-called "flu" with complications. There was said to be only a slight hope of recovery for the man, while the seventeen-months-old baby had convulsions Saturday morning and lay in a stupor all day. I reached them Saturday at midnight. Sunday morning the baby had another attack, and to all appearance had passed on. During the night I had continually declared that God is our Life; and declared it then over and over. How long a time elapsed before the little fellow opened his eyes, I know not; but soon after he sat up. That evening he sat at the table and ate his supper with the rest of the family. At noon the man arose, dressed, and ate luncheon with his wife and two little girls, one of whom had lain unconscious most of the night from the effects of the drugs which had been given by the doctors. Toward morning the other child said, "I am all right."

I left on the evening train, and the man resumed his employment by the middle of the week. A telephone call came from the Reservation; a woman was said to be dying from pneumonia; would I come? I said I would if I could get an automobile to take me, but I could only stay two or three hours. They said I should come if only for an hour. Their words were, "We don't wish to be alone when she dies." I begged a man who keeps a livery stable to take me (this is only a village of perhaps four hundred people). He claimed that he could not get anyone to stay at the barn; so I tried several others, but was refused. I went back to the first stable and the man said, "Get a man to stay here and I will take you." This I did, but he would not go even then—the fear was so great. Just then a motor truck drove up, and when I told the men the circumstances, they said, "If you can ride on the truck we will be glad to take you." I went, and the trip was made in one hour and thirty minutes, a distance of twenty-one miles, fourteen of which was through the sand hills.

In the same house I found two others overwhelmed with fear, and ill. They would not go to bed for fear they could not get up again. I talked with them a while; they grew quieter and asked if they could have something to eat. When the assurance was given that they could, they ate, retired, slept quietly all night, and in the morning attended to their work. The woman was apparently suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy, but at four in the morning all pain left her, and I returned home. One woman had hemorrhage from the lungs all night. A doctor had taken her temperature, but she refused to take medicine, and by five in the morning she slept quietly. There was no more bleeding, and she was up and dressed the third day. The daughter, who had been in bed four days, got up, dressed, ate breakfast, and stayed up.

A man whom I was called to see was said to have pneumonia. His wife was in another bed with influenza, so called, and during the night a man called, to ask me to come over to the Hall and help to prepare a body for burial as no one would do it, there being so much fear. The casket did not arrive, however, until Sunday morning, and by that time the patients with whom I was waiting, both man and wife, were so far recovered that I went home, knowing all was well. At ten I went to the Hall to comply with the request of the previous night but not a man could I get to help.

Just then I was asked to take care of another such case. I then went out on the street to find some one who was not afraid, and another proof was given me that man's extremity is God's opportunity. I met a young man who asked my name. He said that the superintendent of the potash plant had sent him to tell me that if it meant the shutting down of the plant in order to help me, they were with me to a man. The young man added, "I have been studying Christian Science for six years; what can I do to help?" I said, "Send me a man who is not afraid," and he did. These people had been here since June, but I had not heard of them. I have been here nearly five years alone, the nearest Christian Science church being seventy-five miles distant. Can anyone imagine how I rejoiced, and with what gratitude I performed the service asked for?

That afternoon some one rushed in and said that the man I had left in the morning was dying. In a few moments I was at his bedside, and as the house was full of people I closed the bedroom door and was alone with the man. The conditions were to mortal sense very alarming, but I declared aloud that God is man's Life, over and over, until the man was quiet. Some one then said that a doctor was there, and I asked the man if he wished to see the doctor. He said, "No, no; go to my wife." When I entered the other room a lady stood there. She asked if I was a Christian Scientist. I replied that I was studying. She said that she, too, was studying. The next forenoon the man got up, dressed and ate, but as the house was quarantined that day, he did not get out for a week.

One morning a little girl of five came to the door and said, "I am so sick; can't you do something for me?" I took her in my arms and declared the allness of God, good, until she fell asleep. I laid her on the couch, and she stayed all day. In the evening she said she was hungry, and added that she was going home to get her supper for she was all right now. The next morning a little sister who could not talk came, and laid her head against me, as much as to say, "I am sick, can you do anything for me?" I took her up in my lap and again declared the truth. She slept for an hour, got up and went home healed. Three other children and the mother were healed also.

I am most grateful at this time for the privilege of class instruction; also for being accepted as a member in The Mother Church. This healing truth is surely wonderful.