The Practice of Presence

Listening“I heard a commotion and found one of my patients screaming, banging doors, and hitting walls,” recalls Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, PhD, RN, during a recent shift.

Nursing experiences like this reminded Kathy of the immeasurable importance of offering presence to patients. She listened with full, undivided caring attention and asked simple reflective questions to calm the patient and address her needs.

“People just want to know we care,” Kathy confirms. “Our patients desperately want to be heard, to know we will help them. Offering true caring turns everything around.”

How do you care for patients under pressure? What strategies do you employ when you are stressed?

“Jesus is the supreme example of grace under pressure,” Kathy offers. “Even when he was arrested and knew he was to be crucified, Jesus cared for others.” His example is worth remembering the next time you feel pressure mounting.

Read more of Kathy’s editorial, “Caring Under Pressure,” in the Journal of Christian Nursing, July –September 2014.  Join NCF and receive every issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.


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