The ministry of Christian Science nursing
Christian Science nursing facilities or houses* provide a sanctuary where an individual’s desire to rely solely on prayer for healing is upheld 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 a bandage that needs changing.
- “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 ongoing responsibility for care.
These are non-profit, independent organizations—each setting its own fees for payment. These organizations are not directly affiliated with The Mother Church.
*Facilities are referred to as "houses" in Europe and Canada.
Resources for financial assistance
- Vary from country to country.
- In the United States some insurance companies cover Christian Science nursing costs, and if the patient is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, reimbursement for some expenses is available at participating facilities.
- 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.
- 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.
Christian Science nursing is a practical, spiritual ministry that actively supports the patient’s decision to rely on Christian Science for healing. It is grounded in the Bible-based theology of Christian Science, which includes Christ Jesus’ commandment to "love one another" (John 15:12). This ministry is carried out with prayer, wisdom, compassion, and skill.
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 (Article VIII; 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 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 those services.
Christian Science nursing care includes:
- Accepting a case with the expectancy of complete and immediate 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 man’s spiritual perfection;
- Christian encouragement of an individual’s expression of normal activity and natural 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 land.
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 an active, prayerful confirmation of man’s innate spirituality and responsiveness to God’s harmonious government. This spiritual witnessing undergirds each aspect of the care a Christian Science nurse renders.
Print this scope of services summary in several languages
Christian Science nursing facilities and houses offer a wide range of educational programs and learning styles. Most 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 and locations 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.