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.
Checkout a review for each of O’Brien’s books on my Facebook page.
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
Another value for NCFI is Respect. The International Council of Nursing (ICN) states “respect for human rights, including the right to life, to dignity, and to be treated with respect”. This statement emphasizes the importance in providing dignified, respectful health care for the promotion of life and health. As Christians our inclusive care for all patients and families is based on Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” We also have Ephesians 2:11 that says, “God shows no partiality or favoritism” which reminds us that God values all people.
As I reflect on respect as a Christian nursing value and the Lord’s word, I see 2 challenges for nurses. The first is to not show partiality, but reconcile within our self to provide the same love and grace to ALL persons. Christ encourages us to love them as we would love him no matter what their religion, life style, or criminal behavior (Matthew 25:38-40).
Our second challenge is to respect our colleagues. I think the Lord’s teaching is explicit with Philippians 2:3b, “each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself”. Whether we are providing nursing services, conducting a meeting, or educating others, the Lord challenges us to have a humble heart of servanthood to our colleagues, our patients, and their families.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in the region of Africa. Click on the link to learn more: NCFI: Africa Region
In July, CARES: Reflections for Nurses was launched in the United States during a Christian Nursing Brunch. I had the wonderful privilege of being interviewed by a New York Times best selling author, Susy Flory. Not only did I share how CARES came to be, I also shared why the book is bilingual with English and Spanish.
Stay tuned….I will be posting a reading from the Book Launch party!
Values is defined a “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” Values are characteristics or attributes that we live by or guide our life. Everyone has values that were taught by our parents, like honesty, respect, and love. Our Christian values come from the life of Jesus Christ and teachings found in scripture. Here we see concepts like hope, forgiveness, loyalty and compassion.
Our profession of nursing also has values. They are usually based on ethic statements, professional ideals, and standards. Some values in nursing are caring, professionalism, integrity, diversity, respect, and excellence.
What are your professional values? Are they similar to your institution’s values? National professional nursing values? And/or Jesus Christ teachings? Spend some time reflecting on the values that guide your work as a nurse. Feel free to share your reflections on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/visit.ncfi/ Twitter: @CarrieDameron #ncficares or below as a comment.
Stay tuned to upcoming issues of NCFI Cares where we will discuss integrity, a NCFI values.
Prayer for our new NCFI President, Tove Giske, Norway.
As Christian nurses, we have Jesus as our source of strength and our role model. In this NCFI Cares I want to share with you how Jesus sees all of us from the God’s Kingdoms perspective. This perspective teaches us how to see and think about people and thus how to care for patients and their family and collaborate with our co-workers.
We read about Jesus who met the Samaritan women at the well in John 4:1-26. Jesus sees the woman and knows who she is; still he decides to spend time with her. As we read the text, we can sense the gentleness and the intensity of their conversation, and how Jesus touches her deep in her spirit. She becomes convinced that she has met the long waited Messiah. This makes her a witness for Christ
In Luke 19:1-10 we read about Zacchaeus up in the tree. Again, Jesus acts beyond the rules and norms and sees to the heart and longing of this man. He greets Zacchaeus up in the tree and invites himself to dinner with him. This transforms Zacchaeus. Jesus acknowledges this sinner to be a saved son of Abraham, and Zacchaeus’ transformed heart shows in action.
Jesus often asks questions when he teaches and meets with people, have you noticed that? He is interested in understanding people, who they are and how they think. Having Jesus as our role model challenges us to consider – am I interested in understanding people? Do I take the time to stop and listen to the one on my way that needs me? One of the stories I like the best from the gospels is the one about the blind beggar outside Jericho (Luke 18:35-43). Try to imagine the crowd of people and all the noise. In the middle of this, Jesus recognizes the one that needs him. He stops and askes this wonderful question: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Will you join me in following Jesus’ example and practice this question: “What do you want me to do for you?” It would be interesting to hear from your experience from using this question. Feel free to send Tove an email response at firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you,