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.

O'Brien books

 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

An NCFI Value: Respect for All

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 Greencfi-valuesk, 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

 

Video

Book Launch: CARES

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!

 

 

NCFI Cares: Nurse Values

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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.

Blessings, Carrie

Prayer for our new NCFI President, Tove Giske, Norway.

NCFI Cares: Jesus as our Role Model by Tove Giske, NCFI President

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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 president@ncfi.org

 

God bless you,

Tove Giske

NCFI President

 

NCFI Cares: My Work Christ’s Home

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Christ at Heart’s Door by Warner Sallman

 Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come into him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

When I was a brand new baby Christian more than 24 years ago, a fellow believer gave me a novella entitled “My Heart Christ’s Home” written by Robert Boyd Munger (1951). The story is about a new Christian with Christ in his heart, inviting the Lord into all areas of his life through the metaphor of a home. For example, when the new believer shows Christ the library and the recreational room, Christ points out the importance of inviting Christ into our reading and into leisurely activities. We as believers can compartmentalize our Christianity. Meaning we keep Christ on Sunday and our family, but we may be tempted to leave our faith out of our non-Christian relationships, television or movie choices, or our work environment,

As I reflected on the simple, yet powerful truths found in the novella, I thought of nursing. As Christian nurses we seek to live out Christ’s life and teachings in our clinics, schools, and/or hospitals. Christ doesn’t want to just come into the comfortable areas of our work and reside as a guest. Christ wants to dwell in every work relationship, every patient encounter, every project, class and meeting.

I encourage you to take time to allow Christ to walk through each area of nursing. Even though, many of us are mature believers, I am sure each of us will find a locked closet, a dusty cabinet, or even a hidden room that we have kept from his Spirit. The good news is we can always repent.  “I saw it in a minute and dropping to my knees, I said, “Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master and Lord.” (Munger)

Click on the link for free pdf of My Heart Christ Home.

Christian Nursing 101: Avoiding Ageism

We may readily admit that there is a “bias” or “negative attitude” towards older adults in our health care systems. This can be seen in assuming that a 90 year old should not have an organ transplant to putting adult diapers (depends) on a 70 year old. What may surprise you, is that ageism is in the Christian church!  One such example is the divide over types of worship music during Sunday service. One church’s solution was to have separate rooms for the worship–one room was the traditional hymns, while the other main service had the “christian rock” style of worship. I am sure it wasn’t intended, but the segregation of music brought ageism front and center to the body of Christ. There are and always will be the challenges of reaching the next generation for Christ, while embracing the wisdom and experience of our older brothers and sisters.

XLargeThumb.00005217-201607000-00000.CVAn important part of this balance is for nurses, who represent Christ to our profession and to the older adults in our church communities. Scripture is filled with examples of honor, respect, and dignity for seniors in the Kingdom.

Read the article in Journal of Christian Nursing and explore the various references used as citations.  We will not only avoid ageism, but we then can encourage and educate our fellow colleagues and parishioners in caring for senior saints across their entire lifespan!

NCFI Cares: Pray for June 2016 Congress

It is with anticipatory excitement that I write this NCFI Cares. For in a few days the NCFI Congress will be convening in the Philippines. As I pack my bags and make final preparations for the trip, I am reminded of the beginning of CARES (Caring Across Regions with Encouraging Scriptures) that was birthed at the previous Congress in Chile, 2012. For more than 3 years, CARES has provided bimonthly devotions, prayers, and encouragement for Christian Nurses around the world. As the NCFI delegates come together with open spirits, listening ears, and soft hearts, we seek your prayers in return.

Beyond the typical prayers for safe travel, etc. pray for the attendees, leaders, organizers and presenters to learn and live out the Congress theme: Healthy Lives in a Broken World: A Christian NurseCongress 2016s Response (http://ncfi.org/conference/congress-2016/).

Pray for how the Lord will use this rich time of fellowship, prayer, and worship to build up his body of believers and purpose his plans (Acts 2:43-44). Pray for the divine fruit we will share with our patients and families, colleagues, and students.

And of course, pray that our lives and work resounds across the 6 regions: “Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12)