Intersection of Faith and Passion

Stephanie Wynn, DNP, RN-BC, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC, COI, is a familiar name to readers of NCF’s Journal of Christian Nursing. Her most recent article, “Out of the Foxhole: Spiritual Support for Veteran Nursing Students” is in the current JCN.

Stephanie shared why she takes time to submit articles to JCN and how her passions in nursing practice intersect with her authorship. 

Q. Why do you choose to write for JCN?

A. I enjoy the opportunity to share scholarly work through the lens of a Christian. I believe good writing for a Christian audience should speak to the heart as well as the mind. Articles presented in JCN provide a broader and deeper understanding of what the Christian tradition has taught about God and His relationship to the world. Readers are afforded an opportunity to gain knowledge related to a variety of topics, which ultimately adds an additional layer of motivation to integrate faith into nursing practice. 

Q. How do you choose a topic for the articles you submit, such as “Out of the Foxhole”?

A. I write about my passions. I started working with veterans early in my career; it made my passion a little stronger as I gained a better understanding of such a distinct, underserved population. 

            When I had an opportunity to apply for a federal grant, I seized the opportunity. That funding helped veterans and military service members matriculate through nursing programs throughout the nation. Making this more accessible to them was my biggest hope: to help ease their transition to civilian life as they’re returning home, and to be able to use the training and credits they earned while serving [in the military] in the civilian academic setting.

Q. You teach in a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program and also work in this role. Mental health is an urgent aspect of today’s healthcare. How can nurses without specialized mental health training serve their patients better in this area?

A. One of the biggest things to be aware of during an initial patient assessment is mental illness cues. Depression and anxiety are the two biggest issues for patients and sometimes are overlooked. 

            I believe behavioral health care should be integrated with other care. We should educate those working in primary care to recognize and treat patients’ mental health needs. There are long waiting lists for mental health specialists and people aren’t receiving appropriate care. So if we [who have specialized mental health training] can help those with less knowledge to integrate care in their primary care jobs, we all can take better care of people with mental health disorders. 

Q. You work in a faith-based community clinic. How do you integrate faith and practice in that setting?

A. It’s easy for me to say I want to share my faith with others, but then I have to make a conscious effort to share it. Fortunately, I am able to live out my faith in the workplace. This involves a great deal more than just talking about it. I believe every step with the patient, from the initial assessment to the writing of a prescription or a referral, is covered by God’s favor. 

Q. What tips can you offer to nurses about writing for JCN?

A. If you’ve been thinking about an idea, it’s worth sharing. I have many people come to me and say they have an idea they want to write about, but don’t know if anyone else will be interested. I tell them, if you care about it, someone else will care about it. Be sure to stay abreast on best practices and frame all learning experiences in a Christian worldview. In the end, you will have an opportunity to make the nursing profession better by sharing what you know with others. 

If you don’t subscribe to JCN, you can read Stephanie’s current article through January for free. And if you’re thinking about authoring an article or column, browse the JCN author guidelines

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