NCFI Cares: His Chosen Instrument

When you enter the surgical suite or an operating room you will notice the patient, health care staff, various equipment, and an array of instruments. Many of you are probably more familiar with the specific names and functions of each surgical instrument than I am. Yet, each clamp, cutter, extractor, and needles have a specific purpose and use for a myriad of surgical procedures. When surgeons plan their procedures, they request specific instruments for each surgery being performed; and not all surgeons will use the same instruments for the same surgery.  Each individual instrument is chosen and then utilized for the best results.

Just as a surgeon, the Lord chooses and identifies instruments for the work of His Kingdom in the world. We see this in Acts 9:15, Luke shares with us how the Lord identified Paul as a “chosen instrument of mine” to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, kings, and Israel. In Romans 1:1, Paul identified himself as the specific instrument “servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of Christ”.

We are also chosen instruments of the Lord useful for nursing. We are not only useful for nursing and bring an array of knowledge, experience, and expertise, we bring our individual personalities, talents and spiritual gifts. And just like the various surgical instruments, we are all unique and have a specific purpose in the Kingdom of God. What is wonderful about our Master Creator, together we compliment one-another to fulfill the Lord’s plan and purpose

This is what the Lord says to each one of us: But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man or woman is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel patients, family, nurses, health care workers, students, colleagues and fellow Christians. (Acts 9:15)

Praise and thank the Lord for crafting you to be a chosen instrument, useful for nursing and the Kingdom of God.

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Christian Nursing 101: Responding to Questions about After-Life

Do you believe Heaven is for real? Do you look forward to Heaven? And, if not, why not? As a nurse or health care provider, do you feel confident in your understanding and knowledge of the scriptural basis for Heaven, to share with a Christian patient or family member?

I have provided 3 excellent Christian resources on Heaven to guide your nursing practice and to encourage patients, families, friends, and fellow believers. …check them out. …

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada

Book Review: Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground

 “Perhaps no scriptural theme so well models the spiritual posture of nursing practice ass the Old Testament depiction of Moses and the burning bush. In the biblical narrative God reminded Moses that, when he stood before the Lord, the ground beneath his feet was holy. For it is her, in the act of serving a brother and sister in need, that the nurse truly encounters God.” (p. 1) Mary Elizabeth O’Brien in Spirituality in Nursing:Standing on Holy Ground opening statement sets the stage for the examination of nursing practice in relation to the nurses spirituality in caring for patients, participation in providing holistic care, and the nurse’s role as a healer. O’Brien shares the results of formal and informal observations to provide guidelines for meeting the spiritual needs for the mentally and chronically ill, despair and dying, children and families and others in the diverse practice settings of nursing care.
Quite a few years back, while I reviewing books and articles written by experts, I discovered O’Brien’s Spiritual Assessment Scale (SAS). In my experience there are two-broad categories of spiritual assessment tools: brief and used with patients/clients (FICA, SPIRIT, HOPE, etc); and multidimensional assessments or scales that examine the complex dimensions of spirituality. O’Brien’s SAS captures the multidimensional aspects of spiritual health through the Christian paradigm of a relationship with God: Personal Faith, Religious Practice, and Spiritual Contentment. Since SAS can be used for research and statistical analysis, the scoring is a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Here is an example of an assessment question for each category:
Personal Faith: “I receive strength and comfort from my spiritual beliefs.”
Religious Practice: “My relationship with God is strengthened by personal prayer.”
Spiritual Contentment: “I feel that I have lost God’s love.”
I also want to mention that O’Brien has given permission for NCFI to use the SAS in The Art and Science of Spiritual Care. The scale is used as a self-assessment for examining the participants own spiritual health. Knowing one’s self and caring for one’s spiritual health is an important part of nursing practice and essential to providing spiritual care. 
Spiritual Care is not an “add on” or “alternative/complementary” to nursing practice. This is especially true for Christians. O’Brien invites nurses welcome nurses to stand on holy ground and encounter God through our acts of service in nursing.
Aside

My Christian Nursing Mentor

Mary Elizabeth O’Brien is an amazing Christian nursing researcher, scholar, and practitioner.  I discovered her book Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground while in grad school. I was researching Spiritual Care for various papers I wrote, as well as implementing Spiritual Care into an Associate Degree Nursing Program and then with The Art and Science of Spiritual Care: Train-the-Trainer project for Nurses Christian Fellowship International. Later, I discovered her other works and have used them as resources for my books and articles.

Sister Mary Elizabeth is a woman of God, a servant for Christ, and an excellent mentor. Even if it is only through her publications. She merges Scripture with the practice of nursing with a humble, compassionate and gracious spirit.  I owe my maturation as a Christian nurse to her and recommend her works be part of a Christian nurses library.

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 Checkout a review for each of O’Brien’s books on my Facebook page.

NCFI Cares: Be Ordinary

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Recently, a leader of a missionary organization affiliated with my church gave an update. During his speech he said, “God has enough people doing the spectacular. He needs more people doing the ordinary.” The truth of his words stuck with me. For even in nursing there are the spectacular that we strive for in comparison to the ordinary. I see the spectacular in nursing as being big, bold and noticeable; whereas the ordinary in nursing is the small, quiet, and unseen. I hesitate to give nursing examples, for what may be big and bold for me, may be different from another nurse’s big and bold.

Jesus provides an excellent example of ordinary work with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26). Jesus stops to rest from his travels and relieve his thirst and chats with a woman, isolated and rejected by society. Well, we know the rest of the story, for through Jesus’ ordinary act of drinking water and talking to woman, an entire town meets the long-awaited Messiah.

As we look through the Gospels we see that the majority of Jesus’ teachings and actions, were ordinary conversations with one-on-one moments with individuals or small groups. Yes, he fed and taught large crowds. And yes, his torture and crucifixion was witnessed by hundreds. Yet, he taught his disciples to pray, he healed individuals and post-resurrection he appeared to a few men and women.

Look for opportunities in nursing to be ordinary, so that the Holy Spirit can do the extraordinary and the Lord receives the glory (Matthew 6:4,6; 1 Corinthians 10:30)

 

 

“Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering and persist in prayer”. Romans 12:12