What is your model of caring?

            Many of us think of caring as an important part of nursing, yet hospital staff are telling me that nurses are no longer as caring as they used to be. I had one staff person share with me that she was in the room and the patient was crying in pain and distress. The nurse came in, turned off the call light and began hanging a piggyback antibiotic. She did ask the patient why she called, but never looked at the patient and hung the medication. The nurse did say she would be back with pain medicine, but never once looked at the patient, touched the patient or acknowledge her beyond “words to the IV pole.”

           As Christians, we should be the most caring of all people, because of the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, we all know Christians that aren’t even civil to one another, let alone caring. So then, what can be our model of caring in Christian nursing or how can we live out the example of Jesus? When I reflect on my model of caring in nursing, I think of empathy. I really try to imagine what is going on with the person, almost like the old adage, “Don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins (shoes).”  Imagine how hard it is to be diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis or losing your loved one in a car wreck, loss of a child, etc. All of the diseases, illnesses, and traumas that we face as nurses, stop me in my tracks, wrenches my heart, and spurs me to strive to be an excellent, caring nurse. What is in your model of caring in nursing?

Fruitful in Nursing: VINE

            In the article for Christian Nursing 101, I discuss the necessary components of a fruitful nursing practice using the acronym VINE: Vitality of Joy, Intimately connected with the Lord through unceasing prayer, Nutrients found in the bible and Christian nursing resources and Emulating the living Savior. Is there one of these four components that speaks to your heart more than the others?

            For me it is “Emulating the living Savior.” I have to share with you an experience to explain. One of the hospitals I work at has a wonderful spiritual care department, with many caring, gentle chaplains who work very hard to meet the spiritual needs of the patients, families, and staff. There is a specific gentleman who radiates peace, gentleness, and caring. He doesn’t even say anything. When he enters a patient’s room, I feel his calm demeanor. One day, I realized I wanted to radiate this same qualities.  As an energetic, med-surg nurse who feels like most of the time I seemingly run on a hamster wheel with tendencies to be klutzy and loud; the thought of being meek and gentle is a hope of mine—found through Christ Jesus. How about you, what components of the VINE do you pray for?

Christian Nursing 101 Intro

I became a Christian while taking my prerequisites for nursing, thus when I graduated and started working as an RN, I was challenged to integrate my new faith into my new career. I knew the Lord had called me to be a nurse and had sustained me through trying personal times during nursing school; and I wanted to honor and glorify God through the work he had for me.
I immediately became connected to Nurses Christian Fellowship and grew as a Christian and as a professional nurse. Over time, I discovered the lack of resources for the new Christian who was a nurse or a Christian who was new to nursing. Also, what is truly the difference between a nurse who is a Christian and one who doesn’t profess faith in Jesus Christ?
This all lead to a desire to get down to the bare bones of Christian Nursing. If I taught a class, or led a workshop on the basic tenants of Christian Nursing, what would it include? Well, I created a bible study to answer the question.
What is amazing is when God is working in your spirit about something, he is also working in others. This is how we know it is from God, for he is putting the same passion and need in other people that he has placed in you. That is exactly what happened with the editor of JCN and leadership for NCF. When I spoke with them about my bible study, they agreed with the need for something on the basics of Christian Nursing, but thought a regular feature in the JCN would be a better place. I agreed, who am I to disagree with God.
So, that is the story of Christian Nursing 101. This regular column seeks to explore the basic tenants of Christian Nursing and be a resource for nurses new to the Christian faith, Christians new to nursing, or Christian nurses seeking ways to integrate their faith with their nursing practice.
I hope you will follow along with each issue of JCN and join the discussion. I welcome your input on what you think are the basic tenants of Christian Nursing.