“Trusted to Care” is the theme of National Nurses Week (May 6-12). Polls show that nursing is one of the most trusted professions; nurses offer care and comfort to people during some of the most difficult times of their lives. It is a huge responsibility.
A nursing student attending the National Student Nursing Association convention last month wanted to know, “Can we talk about God with our patients?” Another student said, “I have so many questions about how to help my patients. I see they have spiritual questions and are afraid.”
Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing was able to share with these two students, and many others, answers to their spiritual questions about nursing. The Journal of Christian Nursing is published by Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF), a part of InterVarsity. As Kathy shared on the NCF Nurses Blog, many students that she talked with were not aware of NCF. “They were thrilled to learn of an organization whose mission is to bring the good news of Jesus to nursing and healthcare.”
The nursing approach taught in many schools values wholistic care but leaves God out of the picture. “In NCF we’re mobilizing students to be committed to whole person care,” said NCF director Jane Hall.” We want students and nurses to understand that they need to be very ethical in their approach to spiritual care, and not to impose their own beliefs. But there’s more that they can do.”
She explained, “We work very hard to help students and nurses understand the basic principles of giving spiritual care but also to be prepared. If they ask a patient whether the patient would want prayer, and the response is yes, that they would feel comfortable in giving that, and that they would be able to explain to the patient who they would be praying to.”
A Model of Compassion
Jane Hall believes that a major reason that nurses are “trusted to care,” is because many follow Jesus’ model of compassion and selfless service to others. During National Nurses Week NCF provides online resources for prayer and Bible study that emphasize the spiritual foundation of nursing. Throughout the year NCF provides resources and staff to help students and nurses grow in their faith and their profession.
Audio Extra: Listen to a talk on nursing and shalom, by Grace Tazelaar, NCF Director of Missions