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Love Changes Everything
Preparing today's students to be tomorrow's nurses
“If you’re cared for by a nurse who knows how their faith informs their nursing practice—who is the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’ to you—that’s a world-changing event,” said Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing. “You will never forget what it was like to have that nurse.”
Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) seeks to develop nursing students into world changers by helping them learn how to be “the hands and feet of Jesus” to their patients and coworkers.
“The most important nursing intervention is to be fully present with the patient, demonstrating love and concern and a listening ear, no matter who the person is,” said Jane Hall, NCF’s national director.
Nurses listen and walk alongside their patients during some of the most significant and life-changing moments: birth, death, trauma, and illness. They are constantly assessing their patients’ needs and determining how they can provide the best care possible.
“NCF has been a great leader in the development of what we call ‘spiritual care’ in nursing,” Jane said. “Looking at people and asking what kind of needs they have—not just physical and emotional, but spiritual as well.”
Patients often ask the most important questions when they’re under a nurse’s care—questions about love, forgiveness, meaning and purpose in life, and faith. And those kinds of questions are exactly the ones that NCF helps students think about and respond to.
Indeed, the strong emphasis NCF puts on helping students integrate their Christian faith with their nursing practice makes it unique among organizations on campus.
“We explore the big questions of life with nursing students,” Jane said. “And then we help teach students to understand what their role is in helping patients who want to explore those questions.”
She continued: “I think the most rewarding thing for a Christian nurse is to have that spiritual connection with your patient—being able to express the compassion of Christ and having it be received and welcomed. We’re not looking for a pat on the back, but [as a nurse] you want to see people get better, you want to help.”
NCF doesn’t just teach students to care for others, however. Another way that NCF serves nursing students is by encouraging them to pay attention to their own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
“One of the greatest challenges for nurses is walking with people who are going through suffering and pain. It’s just so hard and sad,” Jane said. “The long hours and the constant giving are difficult.”
Today, more than 90 NCF chapters equip and encourage nursing students by studying the Bible together and offering God’s love and healing to their classmates, faculty, and patients. Students are also discipled through NCF as well as empowered to share their faith with others through evangelism (to learn more, watch the video below).
Reaching Beyond Campus
NCF also supports nurses beyond graduation through membership in a Christian professional nursing organization and through the Journal of Christian Nursing (JCN).
In its quarterly issues, JCN tackles topics such as:
- best spiritual care practices for nurses
- compassion fatigue
- academic integrity
- nursing from a Christian worldview
In addition, JCN offers continuing education credits that nurses are required to get as professionals.
Because of the Journal of Christian Nursing, NCF’s ministry goes beyond the college campus. As the only faith-based journal available for nurses, the online version is currently accessed around the world.
Today, NCF has approximately 1500 members (nursing students and nurses) in its professional organization. NCF membership provides valuable resources and a Christian network for students, educators, and nurses throughout their nursing practice.
“We’re helping nurses connect faith and practice by inviting them to consider what it means to be Christ by the bedside,” Kathy said. “And we’re developing world changers as they are present during such incredibly difficult and happy events in people’s lives.”
Learn more about Nurses Christian Fellowship.
Get the Journal of Christian Nursing today!