Journal of Christian Nursing Wins 3 Awards

May 29, 2015

2015 ASHPE AwardJenny Choi doesn’t draw attention to herself, but her stellar work as the graphic designer for Journal of Christian Nursing has received well-earned praise.

Recently JCN received three awards in the Graphics category from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE). This is an important competition in publishing, and an honor for JCN and the publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. LWW publishes over 275 medical journals.

JCN art designs come from author topics and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and a lot is due to our talented graphic designer at LWW, Jenny Choi,” said Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, JCN editor. “She is a gifted artist and a delight to work with.”

awardsJCN received awards in these categories:

  • Silver Award for Best Opening Page / Spread Photo:

“Infant Mortality in Central Asia: Sad Statistics Come to Life” (April-June 2014)

  • Bronze Award for Best Opening Page / Spread:

“Computer-Generated Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Well-Being” (July-September 2014)

  • Bronze Award for Best Cover Illustration:

“Anxiety: Etiology, Treatment, and Christian Perspectives” (April-June 2014)

“I want to help nurses see JCN as a broad-based, professional nursing journal that offers excellent content,” Kathy said. “These awards bring promotion and recognition to a Christian publication. When our work is honored, God is honored!”

Congratulations, Journal of Christian Nursing!

__________________________________________

Become a member of NCF and regularly receive Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

Good Grief: Living with Dying

May 26, 2015

Providing & Accepting Spiritual Care

April 2015

Nurses face issues of life and death which affect them personally and professionally. How do we develop spiritual resources for living with dying – for people in our care, and for ourselves?

In April, more than 90 people attended a breakfast seminar co-sponsored by the “Called to Care” Nurses group and Hosanna Church in Lakeville, MN and NCF for nurses and healthcare colleagues in the Twin Cities.

The speakers communicated love for Christ and for people by connecting powerful stories with practical principles to care for people.

Sue Steen is a nursing professor at Bethel University who also works with families suffering from the loss of a baby. She described current views on grieving and end-of-life care that includes spiritual assessment and intervention.

Sue quoted Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement, who stated, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.”

This view of life and death is vital as we care for others, as well as deal with our own mortality. Nurses are familiar with traditional grief theories about stages of grief, but more recent concepts include an integrative model of curing and healing within dying. Bereavement, palliative care, healing and hope are strands intertwined together for living while dying.

Providing Spiritual Care

Providing spiritual care is vital as people grieve.  This helps to bring God’s compassion and hope into their pain and brokenness. Spirituality is a dimension within every person, and people have spiritual needs to find meaning, relatedness, love, forgiveness and hope. These needs are expressed in unique ways during times of loss.

From Gallup and Pew research, we can assume that religious practices may be important to a large number of Americans. Spiritual care is included in the nursing scope of practice. But factors keeping us from providing spiritual care include fear, feelings of incompetence, low priority, or concern about the topic being too intimate (but think of all the “private” things nurses ask patients).

The seminar gave practical help to describe spiritual care and ways to assess spiritual needs. Discussion of a life and death video clip helped participants apply what they were learning during the seminar.

The seminar addressed concerns of nurses who care for grieving people:

  • Communication (I don’t know what to say to patients…)
  • Education (I don’t know how to care for the family…)
  • Support (How can I talk with colleagues about what I am feeling…)

Resources for ongoing learning were also noted:

  • An NCF Spiritual Care Card (with preparation for spiritual care, basic assessment questions and interventions) was given to all participants.

A new nurse at the seminar said she would keep the Spiritual Care card with her as a reminder of what to say. Another nurse ordered the guide to give to nurses in her church in a gift packet during Nurses Week.

Accepting Spiritual Care

Caring for the nurse or health professional was integrated in the seminar, a time to receive spiritual care as well as to provide it. Delores (Dee) Huanca, a Faith Community Nurse and mental health educator, spoke on coping strategies to deal with grief throughout life, both personally and professionally:

  • Meditate on this scripture verse, focusing on each phrase: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Accept dying as part of living and living as part of dying. “Getting our things in order” is an indication of accepting death: advanced directives, wills, or dealing with broken relationships.
  • Ask for and accept help. Be realistic about your time and energy. Get support. Take time for play, humor and laughter.
  • Know that God is in control and trust him. Spend time with God and let go of things that interfere with your work and living. Do not expect perfection; that belongs only to God.

Pat Moe, Care Ministries Pastor at Hosanna Church, encouraged us to consider our own self-care. She gave examples of how healthcare people positively affected families and prayed for our ministry through health care.

Guiding Truths from the Bible

Biblical truths about living, dying and grief were communicated throughout the seminar, beginning with Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted…

God cares for people and we can be part of the ministry described in Isaiah and throughout the Bible. God’s goodness brings comfort and hope into our suffering and grief.

We can live with that!

by Mary Thompson, RN, MSN, FCN
Former Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship

What is God Really Like?

May 18, 2015

1 Chronicles 28:9A.W. Tozer’s deep desire to know God intimately led him to study God’s attributes. And because he wholeheartedly believed that the strength of God’s people (the Christian church) depended on their concept of God, he was compelled to share what he found to be true about God through his teachings and writings.

What nurses believe about the fundamental concepts in nursing (including nursing, humans, health and environment) greatly influences how they function and respond as nurses. In the same way, what people believe about God (or do not believe) greatly influences how they live and how they respond to their opportunities and challenges.

In The Attributes of God Volume 2, Tozer expressed his personal concern that the faith of believers had become anemic and thin. This concern motivated him even more to help people deepen their faith in Almighty God and experience his love, power, and grace.

For over a year I have shared some of A.W. Tozer’s insights on twenty attributes of God, from his infinitude to his love, but we have barely scratched the surface of what can be known about God! So let’s reflect. How many attributes or qualities of God can you list? Name your top five favorites and why you like them the most.

And how is your faith? Is it vibrant and rich, soggy and runny, or anemic and thin?

In 1 Chronicles 28, King David told all the government officials and military leaders of Israel that he had it in his heart to build a house for God, but God told him otherwise. He heard directly from God that his son Solomon was to build the temple, not David, because he had been a warrior and had shed blood. David heard God speak this message to him. Before King David gave Solomon his plans for the temple, he instructed him in how he should live.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work” (1 Chronicles 28:9-10).

David also said to Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished” (1 Chronicles 28:20a).

Unlike King David, I’ve never heard God speak aloud to me, but I’ve heard him speak through his Word and through the spoken and written words of others. Reading these verses in 1 Chronicles is instructive to me, just like they were to Solomon.

Reading Tozer’s writings has also stretched my thinking and helped me begin to grasp the greatness and the majesty of God. I long for you to understand more of God as well. How can you know more about God? What can you do to give your faith a boost and keep it strong?

Consider this. Choose a brief daily devotional by a well-respected Christian teacher that includes at least one Bible verse and a specific application to your everyday life. Make it simple. Download an app to your phone. Subscribe to an email service. Read a printed message before you become consumed with your responsibilities and the people in your care.

Try reading Psalm 145 in the morning and Psalm 23 before going to bed. Always ask God to reveal himself to you through his Word and the words of Spirit-led teachers, and be surprised by what he will do!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

All quotes from: A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2

This is the twenty-first post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2

The Ethics of Informed Consent

May 8, 2015

Informed ConsentTo celebrate Nurses Week and this year’s theme of Ethics in Nursing, NursingCenter.com invited Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, to write a blog post on the ethics of informed consent. Here is an abridged version.

As nurses, we are typically assigned the task of obtaining and witnessing written consent for healthcare treatment, so it’s important to understand what is involved in informed consent and what nurses can do to improve the process as a collaborative activity.

I’ll never forget admitting a young mother to our busy psychiatric unit after a drug overdose. She was terrified to sign the consent form for admission and treatment, afraid for herself and her child who was put in protective custody.

I repeatedly explained what I knew about her child, treatment plan, consent process, and her options. I knew it was in her best interest to sign but understood it was her decision to be admitted voluntarily or involuntarily. I felt ethically compelled to preserve that choice.

After almost an hour, I stepped out of the room to give her time to settle down and process. Then I updated my supervisor. She hastily went to the patient, stuck the form and a pen in front of her, and said, “You need to sign this NOW!”

My patient complied, tears streaming down her face.

I’ve since thought a lot about informed consent and preserving patient autonomy. In all settings, nurses are on the front lines of assuring patients truly are giving informed consent.

A patient’s informed consent should also be assured when giving spiritual care, though not written. How do we assess for spiritual needs and appropriately respond? What ethical guidelines must be followed when offering spiritual care? A comprehensive article discussing informed, ethical, and non-coercive spiritual care that could be applied to other holistic nursing interventions is, “Spiritual Care: Evangelism at the Bedside?,” by nurse researcher and spiritual care expert, Elizabeth Johnston Taylor. Take a look at this free article and discover principles for ethical nursing interventions.

This Nurses Week, remember that informed consent is a way of nursing each of us needs to live out as we offer our patients ethical practice and quality nursing care!

Read Kathy’s complete blog post and more of the Ethics in Nursing blog series covering advance directives, moral distress, horizontal violence, pain management, elder abuse, and end-of-life issues.

Congratulations Class of 2015

April 21, 2015

GraduateWe’re celebrating nursing students who are graduating and following Jesus into the nursing profession. Well done!

“This can be a difficult time as new graduates take their licensure exams and start new positions,” said Bonnie Hann, NCF Campus Liaison. “We want to help with this transition so they can have a positive influence as Christian nurses.”

This is why NCF is providing a free gift for 2015 Graduating Seniors. Sign up for a free copy of the Journal of Christian Nursing and other materials to help nurture spiritual and professional development as a new graduate. We are praying for your transition from campus to the world of healthcare!

Spiritual Nutrition

April 20, 2015

Spiritual NutritionWhen I reflect on the building blocks of nutrition for physical health, I am reminded of the importance of the building blocks for spiritual health.

For example, protein found in fish, chicken and beans builds muscle for physical strength. When patients lack healthy protein sources, signs of malnutrition appear. Without Jesus, the living Messiah, we can lack basic nutrients of life. In 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul writes that “the promise of life” is in Christ Jesus.

Starches found in bread and rice give us daily energy, whereas Scripture is our spiritual bread. We need to nourish our faith daily through reading and studying God’s Word. Jesus responded to Satan by quoting from Scripture, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Vegetables supply the nutrients for each cell in our body, yet many of our diets lack an adequate intake. Thus, I couldn’t help but think of prayer in comparison to vegetables. Although prayer is vital for our faith, we often fall short on the amount of time we spend in prayer. Being busy isn’t an excuse. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

The building block of our faith is also found in praise and worship. I think of this as fruit. When we lift our voices in song exalting the goodness and excellence of our gracious Heavenly Father, we experience the sweetness of his presence. It is rich in nutrients, yet leaves us hungry for more and more! “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

Eat from the bounty of the Lord’s Table, feasting on all the sustenance he provides–both physically and spiritually. From Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

A toast to health!

NCFI CARES

Carrie Dameron, MSN, RNBC, who is a regular contributor for Nurses Christian Fellowship International and Journal of Christian Nursing. She provides resources for Christian nursing on her blog http://blog.carriedameron.com/.

Addressing Compassion Fatigue

April 17, 2015

Nursing on EmptyNurses who deal with frequent heartache may feel fatigued, stressed or lose their ability to nurture. But there is hope! This sensitive topic is addressed in the article, “Nursing on Empty: Compassion Fatigue Signs, Symptoms, and System Interventions,” a new article from the Journal of Christian Nursing.

“This article helped me admit I have compassion fatigue,” writes Kathy Schoonover Shoffner in her JCN editorial, “Hidden Component of Compassion Fatigue.” Kathy began searching for more resources to address her dryness and overall tiredness, and discovered a resource that deeply influenced her.

Kathy was introduced to the “pace of grace” in the book, An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling, published by InterVarsity Press.

“Quite unexpectedly, the author helped me diagnose a hidden component of compassion fatigue that I wasn’t recognizing—my sense of drive, my belief that being productive is the most valuable thing about me,” Kathy states. “I like telling people I have too much to do, that my life is crazy (fearing that if I say anything less, I’m lazy?).”

Yet Jesus worked hard and rested deeply; he cared passionately for people and was passionately cared for by his Father. We, too, can learn an unhurried, relaxed way of the heart that accepts what God thinks of us and follows Jesus’ lead.

Kathy concludes her editorial, “I think I’m ready to try this resting deeply, down time with God, unhurried approach, and see what happens to my compassion fatigue.”

If you think you may be affected by compassion fatigue, read Kathy’s editorial and take the steps you need to care for yourself—and compassionately care for others.

Become a member of NCF and regularly receive the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

How to Prepare for Nurses Week

April 13, 2015

National Nurses Week 2015Providing high-quality care and ethical practice is a primary concern of all nurses. As Christians, we have natural opportunities during National Nurses Week to focus on this theme from a biblical perspective and to celebrate nursing with our peers and coworkers.

I encourage you to connect, pray and engage with other nurses this week in the love of Jesus. Invite nurses to download (in PDF) and share the Bible discussion on Philippians 4:8-9, we have prepared on this year’s theme.

We have also prepared suggestions for planning an event and getting the word out, plus program ideas and sample schedules. Use the Nurses Week prayer guide when you gather together and pray for the nurses in your work setting. Invite your church to pray for the needs of nurses in their congregation with a church bulletin insert you can download and print.

Here is one prayer we can all keep in mind for Nurses Week:

“We pray that nurses and nursing students will experience God’s encouragement as they face opportunities and challenges in caring for others in the name of Jesus Christ.

This special week prompts us to remember nurses who represent Jesus to patients, families, and co-workers.

May God open doors for you to celebrate nursing and glorify God during Nurses Week this year!

–Jane Hall, NCF National Director

God is Love

March 17, 2015

Dad playingIn one of my first obstetrical/pediatric classes, I remember learning about infants who were raised in orphanages or nurseries with little contact or nurturing from caregivers. These babies were more likely to be lethargic or uninterested in their surroundings, and they often failed to thrive physically and emotionally.

This information was a nursing “game changer” for me. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to help parents learn to care appropriately for their children and show them love in every possible way.

Human love and nurturing are certainly essential for adequate growth and development, but they are not enough to ensure that a child will experience both a healthy, abundant spiritual life on earth and an eternal life in heaven.

The Apostle John had a lot to say about God’s love and its relationship to our spiritual health and eternal security. Not only does God love us, his creation, but he loves us sacrificially as described in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And Romans 5:8 reminds us that despite our undeserving state, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In 1 John 4:8, John quite simply states that a prerequisite for us to be able to love ourselves, and others, is to first know God’s love. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” According to A.W. Tozer, this verse not only affirms that we must first know God’s love to be able to love, but we must believe that love is an essential attribute of God’s being; it does not simply define God.

Tozer writes, “It means that in God is the summation of all love, so that all love comes from God. And it means that God’s love, we might say, conditions all of His other attributes, so that God can do nothing except He does it in love… Nothing God ever does, or ever did, or ever will do, is done separate from the love of God.”1 God does nothing except in love, and he is the source of all love!

Trusting God’s Love

When we face challenges and hurts, we might doubt God’s love and care for us. But Tozer states that God’s love is about the principle of good will. He does not will any harm or hurt to his creations, and they have no cause to fear him. 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our faith in God’s everlasting love and the evidence of his love in his Word is enough to sustain us.

David, the shepherd and the king, experienced great challenges and hurts, but God’s great love and forgiveness renewed his faith. He described many of God’s attributes in Psalm 103, including his pervasive and everlasting love.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts
.

God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, reveals to us the story of God’s love and his free gift of forgiveness of sin through the life, death, and resurrection of his son Jesus. It was God’s love and forgiveness that transformed the life of Saul to become the Apostle Paul. And it was Paul who prayed that first-generation followers of Jesus would know the full measure of that love.

A Prayer for Love

Read Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians and ask God to show you his transforming love so that you can share it with your family, your co-workers, and your patients.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

Amen to love!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

All quotes from: A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2

This is the twentieth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2

Urbana 15: Every life tells a story

March 10, 2015

Find Your Life Urbana 15 VideoGrace was a nursing student who was deeply challenged by her experience at Urbana 12. “Life is so much more than school and my daily struggles,” Grace said. “I want to live for what matters eternally: to glorify God and to love others.”

Similar life-altering experiences await 16,000 students, missionaries and speakers who will gather for the Urbana 15 Student Missions Conference, December 27-31, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. Nursing students will join with others from around the world to hear from God, reflect, pray, worship, and consider their future role in God’s redemptive work.

Hundreds of healthcare students will attend special seminars to help them learn how to practice healthcare as ministry. Leading daily Scripture expositions will be Dr. Patrick Fung, Director of OMF International, who will add his perspective as a medical doctor to his biblical teaching.

Since 1946, God has used the Urbana conferences as a key transformational moment for thousands of people who have responded to God’s call by spreading the good news of Jesus in their neighborhoods and to the ends of the earth. View past Urbana events.

God’s love doesn’t hold back. “I came to Urbana 12 for direction on where God was leading me, but those questions were unanswered,” reported Danny, also a nursing student. “Instead, I was captivated by Jesus again and repented of my sin of indifference toward him. He convicted me of the need to cling to him as a child clings to a parent. I have increasing clarity that Christ is always leading me. He is the answer that I needed.”

As sponsors, InterVarsity and NCF staff are diligently preparing for Urbana 15. It’s not too early to make plans for Urbana 15. Already 857 people have registered. Encourage the nursing students you know to attend the conference next winter break.

Scholarships are available for NCF nursing students starting April 1. Contact NCF for an application. Please support students attending Urbana 15 with a special gift to NCF Scholarships.

Every life tells a story. If you’re a nursing student, what life will you live? Find out at Urbana 15.


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