In the early 1930’s, a few existing groups of Catholic nurses from the USA, along with nursing groups from elsewhere in the world, assembled in Lourdes, France, and founded the International Catholic Committee for Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants (CICIAMS). This private, international group promotes Christian and professional values in nursing care. It is recognized by the Ecclesiastical Authority, and has a close working relationship with the Holy See, along with all national and international Catholic organizations around the world.
Following the development of CICIAMS, the National Council of Catholic Nurses of the United States was formed, along with several local-level councils/chapters in various states. The organization was very active early on, but later in 1970, it was disbanded. Yet, several local/regional councils remained active, and some of their members continued to participate in the meetings held internationally by CICIAMS.
After more than 20 years, a resurgence of interest in having a new national association arose.
Between 1993 and 1994, the National Catholic Nurses Association-USA (NACN-USA) was newly formed under the auspices of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, with the permission and spiritual advisement of the bishop at that time, Bishop Joseph L. Imesch. In October, 1994, the Association became a full voting member of CICIAMS, thus all NACN-USA members are also part of CICIAMS through the Association. Two years later, in October 1996, NACN-USA was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for inclusion in the “Official Catholic Directory” under the Joliet Diocese. NACN-USA is registered as a non-profit 501c3 organization. Several local/regional councils remain as independent affiliates of NACN-USA and others are in formation.
The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. gives nurses of different backgrounds, but with the same Roman Catholic values, the opportunity to promote moral principles within the Catholic context in nursing and stimulate desire for professional development. This approach to Roman Catholic doctrine focuses on educational programs, spiritual nourishment, patient advocacy, and integration of faith and health. As we continue to share our faith and values with each other, and with other healthcare providers, we simultaneously reach outward to the larger Church and also our communities, as we offer support to those in need.
Objectives of the Association
- – To promote education in Catholic nursing ethics.
- – To nurture spiritual growth.
- – To provide guidance, support, and networking for Catholic nurses and nursing students, as well as other healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals who support the mission and objectives of the NACN-USA.
- – To advocate for those in need through efforts which integrate faith and health.