What do nursing students identify as their top spiritual need? At a recent convention for 3,000 nursing students, an interactive exhibit by Nurses Christian Fellowship asked delegates to tag their top choice: inner peace, significance, belonging, security or comfort. Which would you choose?
“We weren’t sure what to expect when we asked the question,” said Renee Lick, NCF Director of Student Ministries. “But students quickly opened up to us – sharing their struggles and spiritual needs. Their most common desire was for inner peace, followed closely by the need for belonging. They shared some very painful and personal stories with us.”
Many students feel overwhelmed by nursing school and often their relationships are noticeably affected — as well as their care for patients. “We were able to pray with many students who realized that their relationship with God was also suffering during their time in school,” Renee said.
The exhibit was hosted by Nurses Christian Fellowship at the annual convention of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) in Orlando, Florida. Renee and five other NCF staff and volunteers also surveyed students about what is missing in their lives and what they identify as the primary need of their patients. NCF also provided a “Prayer Chair” in the exhibit space for people who asked for prayer, along with a prayer box for people to write down their requests anonymously.
The interactive exhibit, or proxe station, was a springboard into spiritual conversations and sharing the gospel. As the week progressed, it also became a significant place of inner healing, prayer and life-giving hope for those preparing for demanding careers as nurses. Students who opened their hearts about their emotional and spiritual needs were invited to embrace Jesus as the one true healer of body, mind and spirit.
“The students we talked to appreciated having someone ask about — and listen to — their spiritual struggles,” said Renee. “They quickly opened up to us, even those who consider themselves non-religious.”
For more on this story, go to InterVarsity’s website for students, StudentSoul.org.