Nursing School: a Cross-Cultural Experience

Hospital roomBefore embarking on ministry with nursing students, there are some things you need to know about the unique culture of nursing school and the students there.

For most nursing students, nursing school is one of the hardest experiences in their lives.They have one foot on campus and one foot in the hospital or clinical setting. Their college years are a unique time of academic learning, practical training, and personal growth that influences the rest of their lives.

On campus, they are held to very high academic standards. In the hospital, they experience hard realities of suffering and death at the bedside. The nursing school curriculum emphasizes how to care for their patients’ physical, emotional and social needs, but not how to care for their spiritual needs. This spiritual vacuum presents tremendous opportunities for InterVarsity and NCF staff who can fill the void with the gospel of Jesus and equip nursing students to integrate their faith and their nursing vocation.

Nursing students today will shape nursing and healthcare in the future. It's estimated that a nurse might care for approximately 600 patients in a year. Imagine the potential if, during college, nursing students receive the knowledge and skills to give appropriate spiritual care to their patients. Imagine how nurses transformed by God’s love could change healthcare and impact the world!

The climate of nursing school offers these advantages for ministry: 

  • Spiritual interest is high among nursing students as they experience the hard realities of illness and death. Natural questions arise about pain, suffering and the brokenness they see around them.
  • Nursing students are searching for identity and significance. Many of them are trying to find personal meaning in their nursing school experience.
  • There is a natural sense of community in nursing school as the students share intense clinical experiences, challenging classes, and personal struggles.
  • Nursing students are natural advocates for justice for their patients, the underserved and the marginalized in healthcare and offer mercy and compassion to those who are hurting.

But the realities of students in nursing school can present challenges to standard ministry methods. They have complicated schedules. When nursing students are involved in clinical rotations, it may be hard for them to attend other fellowship gatherings on campus. They have natural organizational skills and need training as freshmen and sophomores so that they can carry on ministry as juniors and seniors when their demanding curriculum keeps them imbedded in the school of nursing.

Our God-sized vision is for growing numbers of nursing students to cultivate an authentic community of believers who will reach out to their classmates, care for their spiritual needs, and help prepare them to care for others.

Please help us invest in nursing students. Join in God’s mission to Be Transformed . . . Transform Nursing.