Trauma-Informed Care

September 27, 2016

9272016traumaAs nurses, how can we help patients with a painful past? The experience of trauma in people’s lives has a direct impact on their health behaviors, particularly an increased risk of mortality from chronic illness.

Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach to engage people with a history of life trauma that recognizes trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role trauma has played in their lives.

“For nurses, this translates into understanding the why behind health behaviors of our patients, withholding judgment for negative health behaviors, and helping patients heal physically, psychologically and spiritually,” writes Cathy Koetting, DNP, APRN, in her article, “Trauma-Informed Care” in Journal of Christian Nursing, Oct-Dec 2016.

Trauma-informed care seeks to change the illness paradigm from one that asks, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” Studies indicate that health risk behavior and disease in childhood can be related to the span of exposure of childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse, and household dysfunction.

In her article, Koetting outlines four essential approaches and six specific principles that define TIC, including safety, trustworthiness, peer support, and empowerment—especially through spirituality.

These concepts are evident in John 4 where Jesus provides a model of trauma-informed care for the woman he encountered at the well in Samaria:

  • Jesus realized the impact of trauma on this woman’s life and reached out to her, treating her graciously.
  • He recognized her trauma and gently responded, with respect and insight.
  • Instead of judging and retraumatizing her, Jesus offered a relationship with God.
  • Jesus gave the woman a voice as he took into account current cultural, historical, and gender issues.
  • He created a safe space to interact and proved himself trustworthy.
  • He empowered the Samaritan woman by being transparent and giving her knowledge that he was the Messiah.

“Nurses need to be aware of how they can integrate these ideas into practice,” Koetting urges. “The goal is to guide patients from a state of trauma to one of healing, to help patients alter their family and community environments so it is less traumatic.”

Increasing awareness of the need for TIC and conversations with colleagues can be the start of a cultural shift in the workplace. Healthcare organizations are often stressful and chaotic places in which to work, but TIC can transform the care-giving experience for nurses by remodeling their workplace culture to one that promotes holistic recovery for all.

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This JCN article offers 2.5 CE contact hours. Become a member of Nurses Christian Fellowship and receive JCN regularly as a member benefit, as well as discounts on all CE.

A Visitation Program for Seniors

September 12, 2016

9122016waitingMaking homebound visits is an important part of the ministry of the church, especially for older seniors who are vulnerable to isolation and poor quality of life. Yet too often they are neglected and left longing for visitors.

Julia Quiring Emblen, PhD, RN, was troubled by the lonely seniors she visited in her church. “Some told me the church community had all but forgotten about them,” she writes in her article, “A Compassionate Visitation Program for Church Homebound Elders” from Journal of Christian Nursing.

Many of the elders Julia visited had been leaders of the church for years. “Recalling how much service these former spiritual pillars had given to the congregation, I felt sad that now, when they were in need, they received so little,” Julia said. She was determined to improve the care of the homebound elders in her church.

Realizing that older seniors need support, a Compassionate Visitation Program was initiated. Most of the volunteers were in their 60s or 70s. It soon became apparent that more emphasis was needed on making the visit experience enjoyable for recipients and satisfying to the visitors.

The program developed general focus points using the acrostic HOMEBOUND to help visitors remember to incorporate Humor, Observation, Music, Encouragement, etc. Parts of the program include an awareness of Nutritional issues and even the Death of the visitee.

Active listening is a nursing skill that can be taught to visitors who can listen to a person’s stories about the past and concerns about the future. Allowing them to share their pain validates their experience and helps decrease the loneliness of chronic pain. Visitors can learn to be present, listen to the visitees, help them process their feelings, and explore healthy responses.

Over time, guidelines and a structure for the Compassionate Visitation Program were developed with a Visit Facilitator coordinating the program for the church.

A friendly visit can encourage and lighten some of the lonely hours for those who have little to do during their long days. “It takes time and planning on the part of the visitor,” Julia concludes, “but the time pays off when the visitor is leaving and hears, ‘Come back soon! I really enjoy our time together.’”

Are there homebound seniors in your church who are longing for visitors? Read the full JCN article for more tips and program ideas.

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This JCN article offers 2.5 CE contact hours. Become a member of Nurses Christian Fellowship and receive JCN regularly as a member benefit, as well as discounts on all CE.

NCF Teaches Spiritual Care

September 8, 2016

882016fgraceFormer NCF Director Grace Wallace reminds us of the opportunities we have as Christian nurses to address the spiritual needs of patients with professional, compassionate care for the whole person.

I believe every person is created by God as a spiritual being who needs to know God, find life in him, and be nurtured in the growth process. As nurses, we can help, if we are alert to that spiritual dimension. Spiritual care is helping patients with their spiritual needs. It may be something we say or do directly, or it may be putting patients in touch with someone who can help.

When we listen to patients and care for them, often we establish rapport, and they would rather talk about spiritual concerns than other things during the few minutes we are with them. . . We can set a climate that lets patients know we are willing to talk about faith. The way we answer questions can encourage or discourage more discussion . . . If I am answering patients’ questions, I may be talking about my faith, but I’m not telling them to believe as I do.

Nursing students must learn that the first principle is to determine the patient’s primary need. Then provide the very best care you can. This means including spiritual assessment when you do physical and psycho-social assessment. Be sure to document what the patient said or asked related to his or her spiritual needs along with your other observations. With good evidences of spiritual need, you can demonstrate the appropriateness of intervention.

Grace Wallace, RN, MA
NCF Director 1968-1984

Excerpt from “Portrait of a Nurse,” Journal of Christian Nursing, ©1984 – Download in PDF and read the complete “Portrait of a Nurse” article.

Addressing Moral Distress in Nursing

August 25, 2016
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Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner leads a panel discussion at the
Transforming Moral Distress to Moral Resilience Symposium

Nurses at the Journal of Christian Nursing editorial think tank at the 2012 Innovations in Faith-Based Nursing conference at Indiana Wesleyan University didn’t know their ideas would impact the future of healthcare. The idea of addressing ethical concerns of nurses was big at the 2012 meeting. Afterwards, Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, JCN Editor-in-Chief and now, Nurses Christian Fellowship National Director, and Anne Dabrow Woods, Chief Nursing Officer at Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, started meeting with Shawn Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Nursing. The team grew to involve Johns Hopkins University, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and the American Nurses Association.

August 11-12, 2016 the State of the Science Symposium: Transforming Moral Distress to Moral Resiliency in Nursing was held in Baltimore, Maryland. Ethicists, clinicians, organization representatives and other key stakeholders convened to focus on how to best address moral distress at the individual to system levels. The 46 participants heard from experts on promising practices for dealing with moral distress and building moral resiliency. They then brainstormed to identify essential elements needed for addressing moral distress, and make specific recommendations for practice, education, research, and policy to address moral distress and build moral resilience. The papers and proceedings will be collated into a report and widely disseminated throughout the country.

The program was a four-year collaborative effort of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Berman Institute of Ethics, the American Journal of Nursing, and the Journal of Christian Nursing, along with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the American Nurses Association. Funding support came from Johnson & Johnson, the Heilbrunn Family Foundation, and Nurses Christian Fellowship/USA, with in kind support from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the AJN.

Learn more about moral distress and moral resiliency in the free article, “Moral Distress: A Catalyst for Building Moral Resilience” in the July issue of AJN by nurse ethicist Cynda Hylton Rushton. Look for a full report of the proceedings in February in AJN, and in April in JCN!

Meet Our New Student Ministries Director

August 23, 2016

Tim Lin Head shotNurses Christian Fellowship is pleased to announce the appointment of Timothy Lin as NCF Student Ministries Director beginning August 15, 2016.

Tim believes wholeheartedly in the ministry of NCF. “I am excited to join the NCF team!” Tim said. “We are dreaming together about how God can expand the influence of NCF in more nursing schools, and we can’t wait to see what God will do!”

 “Thrilled doesn’t even begin to describe how delighted we are to work with Tim as the Student Ministries Director,” said Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, NCF National Director. “Tim has a strong history of developing nursing students in the Central Region. He brings expertise and knowledge that will grow NCF student ministry and move us forward into the future!”

Tim is working with NCF in addition to his role as an InterVarsity Senior Area Director supervising campus ministry in Kansas.

Tim appreciates NCF for its razor-sharp focus on preparing nursing students to integrate faith and vocation so they are ready to make a difference in the world as Christian nurses. He sees that NCF offers students a clear and compelling vision for how to love God and serve others by offering competent, holistic care in their nursing practice.

“I am stepping into this new role because I long for more nursing students to have the opportunity to place their faith in Jesus Christ and to recognize the natural ways their faith impacts their vocation.” Tim said. “I long for more nursing schools to host safe spaces where students can see for themselves how Jesus is not only the great physician but the good nurse—for them, for their classmates, and for their patients. And I long for more nurses to practice living out their faith while in nursing school so they are prepared to become lifelong kingdom people in healthcare.”

“Please join us in thanking God for providing Tim to lead NCF ministry with nursing students and nurse educators!” Kathy said. “Tim is an experienced, visionary leader. We are excited about what lies ahead as Tim embraces this new role.”

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Tim lives in Kansas with his wife and two children.

Support Tim’s vision of God’s work among nursing students with a gift to NCF Student Ministries.

 

 

The Right Thing to Say

August 20, 2016

ToxicWorkplace toxicity is a desperately needed topic for nurses to know how to face. Each time I encounter toxicity, I am struck by how much our words matter. What we say—or don’t say—can have deep, lasting impact. But how do we know the right thing to say in noxious situations when our emotions are intense and negative?

Early in my Christian life I started a collection of Bible verses I named The Tongue. Over the years I’ve added other collections, such as Temper, Forgiveness, and Generosity. I keep the verses in an app on my phone so I can review them as needed. Sadly, implementation is tougher than knowledge.

I also realize I am Christ’s witness to others. My words, attitudes, and actions reflect God’s character and should reveal who he is to those around me. The best proof of what we believe as Christians, the real evidence of knowing Jesus, is a transformed life.

As a Christian nurse, I want to be a part of bringing God’s kingdom of grace, peace, joy, respect, and more, to my work. That is what thriving in a toxic workplace is all about.

I urge you to read the rest of my editorial, The Right Thing to Say, in Journal of Christian Nursing. And don’t miss the feature CE article, Surviving (even Thriving?) in a Toxic Workplace, which identifies unhealthy work environments through sick systems, toxic leaders, or dysfunctional colleagues—and what to do about them.

Working in a toxic environment can be overwhelming, but inaction is your greatest enemy. You can start the process of change. You are not alone.

kss110Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN,
National Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship/USA
Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing.

 

Become a member of NCF
and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

Taking Risks in Leadership

August 19, 2016

852016flleadersRoshawn and Talysia know that good leadership involves taking risks. They nervously stepped outside their comfort zones this summer as part of their training to lead the NCF chapter at the University of Central Florida.

NCF staff Krista Doan invites all new chapter leaders to participate in six sessions of leadership training. During one session in mid-July, Krista asked Roshawn and Talysia to call their Christian friends from school to share the vision of the NCF group and offer to pray for them.

“As Roshawn and Talysia step into leadership, I want them to know that they cannot do this alone,” Krista said. “This was an opportunity for them to practice community and invite others into the mission of living for Jesus in nursing school.”

Talysia nervously called seven students and two of them answered. She described the vision of the NCF group and prayed for them. Roshawn called eight students and talked with two about the group and prayed for them.

As they continued with the training session, those who missed calls started calling and texting back. Roshawn and Talysia continued to build community throughout the day. They also built their confidence as new leaders of the chapter.

In preparation for the training event, Krista asked her ministry partners to be praying for Talysia and Roshawn as they made their phone calls. Knowing of wide-spread prayer support for them, Roshawn said it gave him courage to take these bold steps of leadership.

“God is moving in the hearts of nursing students on our campus, and I am so excited to be a part of the journey with Roshawn and Talysia,” Krista said. “I have no doubt Jesus will move in big ways at our College of Nursing this upcoming year!”

Learn more about NCF student ministry and how to pray for God’s work on campus and in nursing.

Free JCN

August 16, 2016

33.3Check out the current issue of Journal of Christian Nursing which is this month’s FREE featured journal at NursingCenter.com. This offer is good until September 1, 2016.

JCN is the flagship professional publication of Nurses Christian Fellowship. Each issue offers continuing education activities, special features, recurring departments, and more. Published in print and online, articles and departments address everyday concerns of students and nurses in practice and education.

JCN strives to help nurses view nursing through the eyes of faith; its mission is to help nurses and nursing students practice nursing from a biblically-based, Christian perspective. The current issue includes feature articles on workplace toxicity, faith community nursing, missions, Ebola, spiritual care, and public health nursing. Don’t miss out on these great articles!

Keep getting JCN and other great discounts and benefits when you become a member of Nurses Christian Fellowship.

Invest in your nursing practice through NCF membership and JCN!

A Fellowship for Christian Nurses?

August 5, 2016

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As NCF director, I’m challenged to think through the relational piece of NCF. Why do we have a “fellowship” for Christian nurses? Is it possible that our fellowship, spread over thousands of miles, could “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)?

Technically, a fellowship is a community of people with common interest—ours being Christ and nursing. Relationally, a fellowship is about helping each other. Solomon captured why we need fellowship in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up… if two lie down together, they will keep warm… though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Christianity began as an amazing fellowship that changed the world as Christians prayed and worshiped together, ate together, encouraged each other; they stood firm in one spirit contending for the gospel (Philippians 1:27).

How might we have such fellowship? Locally, NCF can connect member nurses to meet and “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs… always giving thanks to God” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Regionally, some areas offer events. Nationally, NCF partners with Christian nursing schools for conferences. Individually, NCF communicates through our newsletters, the NCF Blog, and the Journal of Christian Nursing, trying to “admonish one another with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).

But is this enough? The apostle Paul longed to visit the Christians in Rome so that they “may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12). How could we mutually encourage each other’s faith? What if you could share prayer requests and know that a community of nurses would pray for you? What if you could ask questions, share needs, and other Christian nurses would respond?

We want NCF to be an effective fellowship. Will you take this two-minute survey to help us explore ideas for fellowship? Connect with us on Facebook and share. Subscribe to the NCF blog and make comments.

Let’s commit to praying for one another, for our fellowship, and discovering how we can “Love each other as I [Christ] have loved you” (John 15:12).

kss110


Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
, serves as the National Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship/USA and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing.


Become a member of NCF and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

Trusting an Unchanging God

August 4, 2016

842016tressie“How exciting and comforting to know that the Jesus Christ who led in establishing Nurses Christian Fellowship in 1948 hasn’t changed one bit. Nor will He change in the years to come, regardless of how many more years he allows NCF to carry on. . . I pray that every Christian nurse will be keenly alert to the voice of Christ Jesus, and respond totally to Him who is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8).”

–Tressie Myers, NCF Director 1951-1968, excerpt from “The Nurses Lamp” September 1973. Read the full “Dear Girls” letter.