Archive for the ‘Nursing Students’ Category

Learning to Trust God

March 14, 2014

NormanStudent leader Norman Bisda loves his NCF chapter at the University of Central Florida. “As a group, we learn how important it is to have a relationship with God on a daily basis. We strengthen and train each other, and we want to spread the Word of God to everyone,” Norman said.

Nursing was not Norman’s first choice of a major. But he ambitiously fought his way into the nursing program after many closed doors and rejections. God opened his heart and opened the doors to a highly competitive nursing program. Norman writes about the numerous obstacles he encountered in the article, “Fighting for a Spot in Nursing School.”

“Ever since I started college, I learned how to trust God more. I faced many challenges and I knew God was my immediate help and peace,” Norman said.

Read more of Norman’s joys and challenges of NCF ministry at UCF in the article, “Learning to Trust God.”

Seeds of Hope

March 6, 2014

SproutsInviting nursing students to talk about the spiritual needs of patients – and themselves – is a challenge. Recently I gave a presentation on spiritual care to all of the senior nursing students at the University of Illinois. One student responded boldly, “I would rather ask my patients about their bowel movements than about their spiritual needs.”

I was thankful for his honesty. As part of the workshop I led on “Caring for the Spiritual Needs of Our Patients,” students asked each other what gave them strength and what they believed in. One student responded, “I believe in myself. I rely on myself and I also believe in science.”

This student is probably not the only one who puts his hope in himself and in his own ability to get through any situation. I was reminded of the need for these students to have a personal experience with God and to see Jesus’ character reflected in the lives of Christian friends.

We discussed how spiritual needs are foundational in life: the need for love, for hope, for forgiveness, and for meaning and purpose. I asked students to describe a patient they had cared for who had a spiritual need. One student shared that she had taken care of a pastor over the summer who was waiting for an organ transplant. He was very hopeful at the beginning of the summer but, as the months wore on, she could tell that he was losing hope. Thankfully, he was able to have the surgery before it was too late. He later shared with this student how he had really been close to losing all hope. He had a strong belief in God and God’s faithfulness, and yet it was difficult for him to hold on to hope when his circumstances were dire.

One of the nursing interventions that can be used to meet the spiritual need for hope is “Hope Inspiration.” This involves:

  • assisting patient and family to identify areas of hope in life
  • expand the patient’s repertoire of coping mechanisms
  • involve the patient actively in own care
  • create an environment that facilitates patient practicing religion, as appropriate
  • demonstrate hope by recognizing the patient’s intrinsic worth and viewing the patient’s illness as only one facet of the individual.

She saw first-hand how hope and faith played a part in the pastor’s strength, even though at times his situation made hoping much harder.

As I left the classroom at the end of the seminar, I felt like the farmer who scattered seed on different types of soil. I don’t know what each student heard and retained throughout the class, but I shared what I thought would help and challenge them to grow in their own spiritual lives.

I am praying that God will reveal himself to these students in tangible ways and they will realize that “believing in myself” will not last. They need the strength and hope that comes only through journeying each day with Jesus.

–by Renee Lick, Director of NCF Student Ministries

Discovering Real Mission

February 27, 2014

WSU NCF

Nursing students who go on short-term mission trips are often personally transformed by serving in another culture, but how does their experience influence their mission on campus when they return?

The students at Wichita State University (KS) discovered an inspiring connection when they prepared posters and shared mission trip experiences with their Nurses Christian Fellowship chapter. At the meeting, an NCF faculty advisor gave a brief devotional on journeying with God. She then served as a roving reporter to each display, asking students questions about their mission trips.

After exploring the basic questions of who, what, when and where, students were asked, “How did this experience change your life and commitment to Christ?”

One student felt too ordinary to accomplish much for God, but the challenges of the trip showed her God really does do extraordinary things through ordinary people like her. She went to Central Asia to build relationships with local college students as an outreach with local churches. Several college students she met that month came to understand and believe in Jesus!

Another student said she was terrified to share her faith. She was surprised how easy it was to share her faith in East Asia and be bold for Christ by using some simple tools. She learned to ask people questions, sit with others at meals, or start conversations by wearing a multicolored “gospel bracelet.”

Each student said the key to helping people in these other cultures was to build genuine relationships with them. All of the students were humbled by experiencing God’s powerful presence on their trips.

Taking it Home

Students then were asked, “How did your trip help you see your campus or clinical areas as a mission field?”

Initially everyone was stumped by this question. Then all at once several students in the group called out the answer: “Build relationships!” It was an electrifying moment as everyone realized their mission on campus was to do the same thing right here – to pray for God to bring people into their lives that need relationships and to be responsive to the Holy Spirit to make connections.

Students also learned great lessons about best practices in short-term missions. Each student was part of a mission group that had long-term ties with local churches and healthcare providers. They discovered how their short-term efforts have long-term impact as they came alongside the people who lived and worked in the country. The students learned humility and grace as they played with children, or helped college students practice English, or handed out healthy snacks and talked about nutrition. They developed great respect for local churches and health workers who have few resources but accomplish amazing things.

One student said he realized every small task, even though it seems like nothing, is significant when done for Jesus. When people see you are willing to serve in whatever way is needed, they want to know more about who you are and why you do what you do.

Students were provided with resources from NCF Missions and the Journal of Christian Nursing on best practices in short-term healthcare mission.

God spoke powerfully to the group as he translated the students’ short-term mission experiences into the realization of living missionally in school, in the hospital – and wherever they are today.

by Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
Editor, Journal of Christian Nursing
Staff, Nurses Christian Fellowship USA

Heart Health

February 20, 2014

Heart Health“Give me your hand,” the surgeon said to student nurse Peggy Heppner during cardiovascular surgery. As she anxiously held the patient’s heart in her palm, she felt the unforgettable power of that one beating muscle in a person’s life.

Peggy reflects on how her own heart was dead from sin but restarted by the power of Jesus’s resurrection. “Like undergoing heart surgery, Jesus healed my heart with his restorative love.”

Read more of her article, Heart Health, from the Student TXT Topical Collection in the Journal of Christian Nursing, January – March, 2014.

*****

If you’re a nursing student or educator, find out how you can use more Student TXT articles for discussions in your classroom or campus group.

 Nursing students who join NCF receive the Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit at the greatly reduced membership rate of $35.

Nursing Students See Answered Prayer

February 10, 2014

When Meghan and her friends started a new Bible study last fall at Grand Valley State University (MI), they prayed that God would bring more students. God answered their prayers beyond what they imagined!

NCF at GVSU

A few months later their group expanded to two Bible studies — one for nursing students and one for pre-nursing students — with a total of 22 students involved. Students saw God’s Spirit at work among them and one student re-committed her life to Christ!

Last Saturday I led a special day of training with GVSU students, along with Curt Kuiper, the InterVarsity area director.  We studied the story of Jesus and Zaccheaus  (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus was just passing through Jericho when he looked up and saw a man who was eager to see Him. Jesus changed his plans and told Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house today.” Jesus reveals his guiding purpose: “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Curt asked us some very challenging questions to actively respond to this Scripture lesson:

  • If Jesus passed through your school of nursing, would he see anything that prompts him to stay?
  • In your life, who do you consider “outside of God’s family,” like Zaccheaus? (Zaccheaus was considered a traitor to his own people because he was a chief tax collector.)
  • How is Jesus inviting you to seek out marginalized people because He wants to spend time with them today?

After hearing the Word, Meghan and the other students discussed how they could take new risks to reach out to others and follow Jesus in their school of nursing.

In my work as NCF staff, I love equipping students like Meghan to lead NCF ministry on campus. We talk about their leadership of the group and discuss where they have seen God at work. We pray together for God’s guidance and thank God for what he has already done!

I also help the leaders plan for the future of the ministry and make sure their vision and purpose is clear. God gives me a glimpse of how he is transforming students’ lives during these conversations and I am so grateful to be part of his mission!

–by Renee Lick, NCF Director of Student Ministries

Jesus in the Clinic

December 12, 2013

HeatherAs a nurse in urban health, Heather Cutillo, R.N., lives out God’s love in tangible ways through her work in clinics that serve the homeless, the uninsured, and the afflicted in the inner city. Years ago, she responded to God’s calling as she saw how urban health centers can be a support network for those without one. Heather sees her work as an opportunity to model Jesus’ incarnational love.

The work is often discouraging, but Heather’s antidote for burnout comes from a supportive faith community and the spiritual strength she receives from daily time with God. She first learned about the importance of having a daily quiet time in Scripture and prayer in nursing school as a member of Nurses Christian Fellowship. “I really appreciate the emphasis on discipleship and developing my relationship with God that I got from NCF.”

Heather has a global influence as she helps manage the online ministry of Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI).  She regularly communicates with nurses all over the world who request information about NCFI ministry.

Read more of Heather’s calling and passion for urban health ministry in the InterVarsity news article, “Jesus in the Clinic.”

Scripture Exchange

November 18, 2013

Post-it Notes

NCF leader Sharon North knows how to encourage her classmates at Nyack College (NY). She created a Scripture Exchange bulletin board in the nursing school and posted dozens of Scripture verses, then asked the other nursing students to take one — and post one of their own.

Sharon sent an email to her classmates, “The Word of God is essential to our life and very existence.  If we do not feed our spirits with the Word of God, we will not be able to face those challenges of life which confront us daily.”

Sharon thought it was a great way to encourage others with meaningful Bible verses while being strengthened spiritually.  “When we love others, we can be a part of God’s restoration in their lives,” she reminds her classmates. “Whether it is a patient, a classmate or someone else who crosses our path, the Lord can use each Discipleship Cycleone of us to fulfill His purpose–bringing love and hope to all we touch!”

The bulletin board also includes a large diagram of the NCF Discipleship Cycle, used as a model for how students can follow Jesus into mission as a community. The display demonstrates the discipleship principles of: Hear the Word, Actively Respond, and Integrate & Interpret.

Sharon is a pastor who entered nursing school as a second career. She views her ministry with NCF as part of her pastoral calling. She takes seriously the admonition from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV), “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Is there a sticky note for that?

Bulletin Board

Nyack College is a Christian school in New York.

Teaching Spiritual Care

October 28, 2013

Renee Teaching“This could only be God!” thought Renee Lick as she stepped into the sunlit room to speak on spiritual care to more than 220 nursing students and faculty. Renee’s workshop, “Caring for the Spiritual Needs of our Patients,” was sponsored by the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

It was ten years ago that Renee first visited the UIC College of Nursing and she has often prayed that Christians would have opportunities to influence what the students were taught. Now, a decade later, Renee is part of the answer to this prayer. Her workshop is mandatory for all bachelor’s degree nursing students.

Christian faculty members and administrative staff at UIC paved the way. One faculty member pointed out during a curriculum review that spiritual care was not being taught as part of the nurse’s role. She lobbied for change and other faculty members agreed.

At the seminar on October 21, Renee addressed how the spiritual life of nurses directly affects the spiritual care given to their patients. She asked every student to find a partner and answer one of these spiritual assessment questions used with patients:

  • Who or what provides you with strength and hope? 
  • Is prayer useful in your life? 
  • How do you express your spirituality or religious beliefs? 
  • What type of spiritual or religious support would you like? 
  • What are your spiritual goals?
  • How does your faith help you cope with illness? 

“I prayed that students who have not asked spiritual questions themselves would begin to do so and start on a journey of seeking God,” Renee said. “I knew they would come with questions, past hurts, and varying spiritual perceptions of God. Yet God knows each one of them; I know he is here.”

One student said she was excited about the spiritual assessment questions because her faith is what motivated her to pursue nursing. Another student said that the assessment questions were difficult for her to answer because she didn’t often think about “these things” (i.e. her source of meaning, purpose, or strength, etc.). Renee assigned the students to reflect more on the spiritual assessment questions before their next seminar on November 4.

One highlight was Renee’s conversation with Jane* who entered the nursing program in her 30’s after surviving a brain tumor. She had been far from God but he really got her attention when her life and health were in jeopardy. Then she knew that God wanted her to make a difference in people’s lives through nursing.

“I prayed with her and was so thankful to hear about her journey with God,” Renee said. “I know that she is going to be an excellent nurse and, more importantly, she will be a nurse who is following Jesus!”

Renee Lick is the Director of Student Ministries for Nurses Christian Fellowship. Please pray for Renee who will be presenting the second session on November 4th.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Rx Rescue

October 13, 2013

Price of Life Comments

As a healthcare professional, how do you identify victims of human trafficking in your medical practice – and what can you do about it?

This was a hot topic at the Price of Life NYC as we hosted four healthcare workshops at Lehman College, NYU, Columbia University, and Hunter College. We met more than 100 students and some professionals from the community who said it was “eye-opening!”

We learned that 87.8% of trafficked persons encounter a healthcare professional during their captivity. Some who attended the seminar remembered encounters with patients that were full of the red flags of trafficking indicators, but they didn’t see it.

Our speaker, Dr. Jeff Barrows, stressed the importance of having good protocol and a plan in place before intervening in a trafficking situation in the healthcare setting, for the safety of both victims and staff. Until protocol is in place, he advised that the most important thing providers can do is report trafficking encounters to the appropriate agencies. Students and professionals learned how and what to report, and talked about how to begin to develop policy and protocol in their workplace.

Many expressed amazement and frustration that training and protocol were not already in place in healthcare settings to ensure healthcare providers can identify and help. We told them, “You are the future of healthcare. There is much work to be done in education, policy, prevention, research, aftercare, and more. Tell us how you will respond, or what your vision is for healthcare at the intersection of abolition.”

Students responded on heart-shaped papers to post on a board entitled, “Healthcare at the Heart of Abolition.” Here is a sampling of their thoughts: 

–I’ve never known that healthcare providers can play a big role to actually save human trafficking victims. I will share this information with other prospective healthcare providers and friends.

–I always hear about trafficking, but now I have a real understanding of what it is. This definitely raised my awareness, especially since I will be a nurse who hopes to work in the ER! 

–Hospitals must be educated about this. We have a huge opportunity here. We could save 87.8% of victims!

Vision: I want the ER to be aware of and educated on signs of human trafficking. Response: Try to reach out to the ER for education on the issue.

–I will stop human trafficking by being a caring and observant provider. 

–Create new intake for the office & create protocol to detect trafficked patients.

Better communication and training to detect trafficking victims.

–I plan to share this information with all the members of the nursing program, pre-nursing students, and members of the pre-health organization.

–As a future nurse, I hope to educate my future colleagues about human trafficking & implement a Human Trafficking Awareness Program into my future facility of practice.

–I am a medical student and a member of the Student Leadership Committee. We are meeting tomorrow to discuss ways to improve healthcare at our hospital. I am going to suggest training on human trafficking for physicians, especially in the ER. I am also going to push for written protocol to follow if a victim is encountered.

–I want healthcare professionals to be proactive in preventing human trafficking.

–I hope to address the issue of TIP (trafficking in persons) at its core of abuse and neglect. I intend to increase awareness of the value of self-esteem and independence in the victims I encounter.

–After learning about human trafficking, it amazed me to see the statistics of it. I am in my senior year of nursing at Lehman and all I can think or hope is that one day the hospitals will work more cohesively together and more healthcare professionals will take initiative on this topic.

We encountered many driven and passionate students who care for the vulnerable. One student told me, “We are going to go out of here and share this with others. The effects will be wide-reaching.” Praise God!

– by Morgan Hennessey, R.N.

As a nursing student, Morgan Hennessey was influential in starting the NCF group at The College of New Jersey. She shares her passion for the enslaved in the NCF blogpost, “Stop the Traffick: The Nurse’s Role.” On the lighter side, Morgan and her fellow students created the delightfully funny youtube video, NCF Head-to-Toe Assessment Music Video.

The New York City PRICE OF LIFE INVITATIONAL is a city-wide, campus-based, faith-inspired campaign addressing human trafficking in all its forms, spearheaded by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in partnership with 75+ diverse organizations.

Recognizing My Limitations

October 10, 2013

sleepyIt’s just the beginning of the school year, but the Lord has been talking to me about rest. I’m discovering how to be refreshed by him.

What does this look like for me? It means that when I’m out of energy, I’m out. And that’s okay. God created us to rest, and when we deny ourselves that, we aren’t caring for the body he has given us, and we aren’t able to truly love others.

I think one reason God made us to rest is so that we can know our limits. I can’t be at every ministry event on campus. Sometimes, I have to skim the end of the chapter I’m supposed to read for class instead of actually reading the whole thing. The great thing is that when we reach the end of what we can do, God says, “I’ve got this. I really did all along, but you’re just realizing it now.”

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul writes, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

MeghanSo I’m done hiding my weakness, my limitations, or the fact that I’m out of energy, and I’m finding refreshing grace and the strength of the Lord.

By recognizing my limitations, God’s strength is revealed.

Meghan Wisdom is pursuing majors in Nursing and Human Development & Family Studies at Edgewood College and UW-Madison. She loves Jesus and is a leader in campus ministry. 


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