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WVU online course teaches nurses about supportive care for faith communities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia University School of Nursing is offering a new online course that prepares nurses to be able to provide supportive care and advocacy for members of faith communities.

Angel Smothers

Clinical associate professor Angel Smothers told MetroNews the nurses are there to put congregants at ease when it comes to COVID-19.

“They’re really there to answer questions as insiders within their faith communities where congregants may be reluctant to take the vaccine. They’re stepping in to provide support and education,” Smothers said Monday.

The eight week course is called “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing.”

While the program is tailored to nurses, Smothers said it’s open to others who work with faith communities, such as chaplains, pastors, social workers and others.

“A nurse who completes the training can use the title ‘Faith Community Nurse,’ but the course itself is open to different backgrounds,” she said.

The program has been offered for the last several years, but Smothers said their goal this year is to encourage nurses in more rural parts of the state to apply.

“The course is open to anybody, but right now we’re really looking for nurses who may not have heard about the course who would be interested in taking this national training program so that they can integrate what they learned back into their faith community,” she said.

Nurses will learn about the spiritual aspects of care and support. They will also learn how to start a health ministry program within their faith communities where the nurse would be a leader to support congregants with their health related needs.

The course will be held Mar. 7 through April 29 online and will cost $400.

The deadline to register is Mar. 7.

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