Facing Pain as a Nurse

Pain. It’s part of our human experience, acknowledges Christy Secor, DNP, RN, CDWF. She writes (in an upcoming JCN article), “The pain we witness in others’ lives can be physical, emotional, mental, relational, or spiritual. Pain is an important measure within our overall nursing assessment. It’s a sign providing information about acute injury, trauma, inflammation, infection, or rehabilitation.”

“Pain provides indicators of the stages of labor and delivery. It may draw our attention to whether healing is taking place. Pain also can reflect emotional trauma, broken relationships, and abuse. There is the pain of loneliness and the pain of grief,” Christy writes, from her own experience.

Personal Pain

When pain is personal, “we can focus on all of the pain in the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or the injustice of a situation,” writes Christine Wagoner, on the blog at The Well, an InterVarsity site where Christian women scholars and professionals meet up.

“Where is God in the cancer diagnosis? Where is God in the midst of divorce? Where is God in the long-term unemployment? It can be tempting to be see nothing good in these seasons of life. Surely God is absent in this grief. I am all too familiar with this pain,” Christine admits.

Responding to Pain

Christy Secor relates how we respond, as nurses, to pain:

  • We communicate, advocate, and educate when pain is present.
  • We provide support, encouragement, and are present.
  • We promote comfort in the turning and repositioning of patients.
  • We implement interventions based on our critical thinking and clinical judgment as well as on orders from others on the healthcare team.

Additionally, Christy points to how our pain enables us to identify with the pain of others. “With all that we do, it can be easy to forget the power of a hand placed on the arm of a patient or the impact of sitting at the bedside to listen to a story. We provide support spiritually, whether that’s praying with someone or listening without judgment.

With patients, their families, and in our personal spheres, our pain can open up a means of blessing: We can extend to the hurting the kind of comfort God has given us in our pain and distress (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We believe “The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress; He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7).

If you need prayer and support, NCF invites you to submit your prayer request for our prayer team to pray over. If you would like to pray for other nurses, you can join the prayer team. See many more resources at ncf-jcn.org.

Secor, C. (2023). The nurse’s role in addressing pain. In M. Manning and E. Nix, The impact of post-operative patient aromatherapy on nurse self-efficacy. Journal of Christian Nursing, 40(4). 20-25.

Wagoner, C. (2014, November 4).  Holding all of it together. The Well. https://thewell.intervarsity.org/blog/holding-all-it-together



Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.