Our Purpose in Christian Nursing

Purpose in Christian Nursing

            One look at health care reveals an industry filled with chaos, clutter, and seemingly not very purposeful. The regulations seem to continually change, the staffing and workload is on a continuum and nurses are constantly trying to keep up with the newest diseases, newest treatments and newest technologies. The calm in this storm is Jesus. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it is true. God is in control and knows exactly what is happening and is actually working out His will for today and tomorrow. Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Exodus 15:18, says the Lord God will reign forever and ever. God does not change, respond as in crisis mode, nor suddenly have new and emerging ideas. Now I do need to stop and laugh, as children of God we may enjoy our new and innovative smart phones with apps; but God’s purpose hasn’t changed–it just becomes hi-tech.

            Changes have been fast and furious in the profession and practice of nursing. It is easy to get lost in the flurry and leave our purpose in Christian nursing behind.  Judith Allen Shelley and Arlene B. Miller wrote a wonderful text entitled “Called to Care: A Christian Theology of Nursing.” In the chapter entitled, “A Christian Worldview for Nursing,” they state, “The actual tasks of nursing may vary as needs, contexts and resources change, but Christian is always a faithful response to God’s gift of salvation. We love others because God first loved us. That love is lived out in compassionate action toward our neighbors.” (page 68, 2nd Edition, 2006). In other words, our purpose is to bring grace, truth, and love to our patients and to our colleagues.

            We discover a more specific purpose when God takes our passion (as we have discussed in a previous SBAR) and uses it for His purpose.  Here is an example of 3 Christian nurses with different purposes: A retired nurse providing nursing care for men at a homeless shelter in a recovery center; a nurse researching the implications of prayer in patient care; finally a nursing student who provides supervised childcare for disabled children so their parents can attend church service. All of these nurses are using their unique passion and talent to meld with God’s purpose in nursing. Just as our passion may not be specific the same is true for our purpose. We shouldn’t sit back and wait for a “divine plan” to be laid out before we feel we are being used by God. Instead, we are to continuously devote our careers to God’s purpose and will.

            Another thing I want to mention, is remember the nurses that I shared with you? One was a student, while another one was retired. This brings up two key points: if you are a student don’t think God is waiting for you to become a nurse before he can use you; or if you are retired, don’t assume God is done with you. Oh, no! God uses all of us all the time in furthering His kingdom. Our job description may change, but God’s purpose is constant.

            I am excited to hear about your purpose in nursing, so please tell your story!

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