As an advanced practice nurse, my clinic days often are booked from start to finish. Long waiting lists have become a norm in primary care and present a challenge to clinicians. Advanced practice nurses generally are known to spend more time with their patients than physicians but have comparable or even more positive outcomes related to patient satisfaction and cost.
However, when I start my days, I often think of the tasks awaiting me and wonder how I’ll complete them in the allotted time. But God reminds me how each person sent my way has a prescheduled, divine appointment, regardless what the appointment time may reflect.
Recently, I was seeing patients in a walk-in clinic and called the next patient to the exam room. A middle-aged man walked in and sat down. He looked completely exhausted: he was diaphoretic with sweat beads pouring down his forehead. He mentioned how dizzy he was. His BP was dangerously low. I immediately asked him to lay down and prepared to administer CPR, fully expecting he would be in cardiac arrest.
A few moments passed, and he said the dizziness was fading as his BP slowly rose. While observing him, we talked about his family and life. Nothing else mattered but standing beside him as we determined what was wrong. As his dizziness faded, we waited for his daughter to arrive and drive him to the ER.
After they left, I noticed he’d been in the room with me for 45 minutes; he'd been scheduled for 15 minutes. I panicked. When I opened the door to see the line of waiting patients, I thanked them for waiting patiently. To my surprise, no one was upset that day. As a Christian nurse practitioner, it’s obvious to me that God opens windows of divine appointment; I never know how short or long those may be.
God's Word gives us a perspective of how a day is like a thousand years to God (2 Peter 3:8). This offers a renewed perspective amidst hurry. Acts 1:7 notes that dates and times are under God's authority.
A few hours after the man left, his daughter called. He had been diagnosed in the ER with dehydration from the flu. She had called to thank me for my time.
Time is one of the most important gifts we can give one another. As clinicians, we strain against how little time we have to give. Yet, God is subtly reminding us that he is the best manager of our time.
May we walk with renewed confidence into our clinical settings, knowing that God can and will manage the seen and unforeseen details of our days!
Kristene Diggins, RN, MBA, FAANP, is a full-time nurse practitioner and frequent author for the Journal of Christian Nursing.
This post is excerpted from Kristene’s article, All in God’s Time, in the January/April 2020 issue of JCN.
NCF offers free resources for nurses and nursing students to integrate faith and practice. Check out Applying the Bible to Nursing and other resources on the NCF website.