Donna White shares her thoughts on the importance of Christian nurses being actively involved in a supportive community, modeling spiritual care, and mentoring. This is adapted from Donna's guest editorial in Journal of Christian Nursing.
Nursing is an ideal profession to incorporate and demonstrate God's love to those around us. Whether it is providing encouragement to our co-workers or to a suffering patient, we can easily share God's love with others.
But it's not always easy to be a Christian and have a positive attitude in a volatile social climate. Any type of working environment can become suffocating, discouraging, or toxic. Jesus did not say that being a Christian would be easy. Instead he said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). What are ways we can bring Christ into our nursing work?
When I transitioned from clinical nursing to nursing education at a Christian university, I wondered how I could share spiritual nursing care with my students. As nurses, we are taught to provide holistic care to our patients, but many of us were never taught how to provide spiritual care.
As I began my doctoral program, seasoned nurses continually asked me, “What is spiritual nursing care?” This introspection was the beginning of a journey to develop teaching tools for nursing faculty to help students learn to provide spiritual nursing care.
Not a nurse educator? You too can help equip the future generation of nurses in learning to provide spiritual care by offering your support. Call a local nursing school and offer to mentor or pray for a struggling student. Offer to take snacks during finals week. Offer to start or host a student chapter of Nurses Christian Fellowship. Visit a local healthcare facility and volunteer to pray with patients and staff.
We also have an obligation to teach new nurses how to provide for the spiritual needs of patients. Often, this is best learned by observing seasoned, compassionate nurses providing for the needs of their patients.
I challenge you to become actively involved in supporting other nurses. Join a local NCF chapter. Don't have one in your local area? Start one! NCF chapters provide opportunities for Christian nurses to connect for encouragement and support. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV).
The Journal of Christian Nursing strives to provide relevant material to encourage you in your journey. We recognize the struggles of nursing. Is being a Christian nurse easy? No. Does it take extra time? Yes. Is it worth the extra effort? Yes! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).
Every workplace environment, even Christian-based organizations, can be challenging. Having a support system is invaluable. JCN and NCF will continue to provide resources you can utilize for personal growth and for various work settings. I hope you will consider joining with us by becoming a member of the NCF professional organization.
As Christ’s nurses, let’s get involved and provide each other with encouragement and inspiration from a Christian worldview.
(Read Donna’s full editorial, “Actively Involved?” from Journal of Christian Nursing, July-September 2017.)
Donna Marie White, DNP, RN, is an associate professor of nursing and new associate editor for Journal of Christian Nursing. She is passionate about publishing material that provides encouragement, inspiration, and resources to provoke nurses to think about how they can integrate a Christian worldview into their workplace and give glory to God in every part of their lives.