Nurses Christian Fellowship, (NCF), is celebrating National Nurses Week this week, along with hospitals and other health care agencies around the country. National Nurses Week is traditionally celebrated during the week before the birthday of Florence Nightingale, May 12.
NCF director Pat Emery said that the week is a time not only to honor nurses for the work that they do and the sacrifices they make but also to let people know that there’s a shortage of nurses. The nursing shortage is not a new issue, and it will probably continue for years to come.
“There are quite a few of us in the baby boomer generation that are nurses who are nearing retirement,” she said. “When we were in high school there weren’t all of the options for jobs that women have today. So there are a lot of us in the 50 and 60 year age range.”
Nursing is now one career option among many. And it is not an easy option. Most nursing jobs are in hospitals, which have to be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. “When you start raising a family, the schedule does get in the way,” Pat acknowledged. However, there are options within nursing. “You don’t have to work in a hospital. There is school nursing and parish nursing, a variety of nursing jobs.”
Pat Emery has been director of NCF for eight months. Her first annual NCF staff meeting was held in Chicago this past weekend and included brainstorming in preparation for a strategic plan which will guide NCF in the years ahead.
“We are well and healthy. But we’re looking at a new focus,” she said. “Our greatest thrust right now is to enhance and revitalize student nursing within the colleges of nursing around the country.”
Unlike most other areas of InterVarsity’s ministry, NCF serves both professionals in the field and students. Pat believes more emphasis is needed on student ministry at this time. She will announce further plans related to student ministry in the next few months.
Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was known for her commitment to professionalism and to compassionate care. Her Christian faith guided her into and during her nursing career. NCF continues to provide Christian models of professionalism and compassionate care to today’s nurses and nursing students.