A Story of Global Partnership

December 30, 2016

12302016samandmargaretWhen Rebecca Mbok died in childbirth in 2006, along with her child, news of the tragedy spread throughout a global network of Christian nurses. Her husband, Sam Mbok, was the much-loved leader for the Fellowship of Christian Nurses in Nigeria. He also served on the Board of Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI).

Ten years later, in November 2016, Sam Mbok found himself in Minnesota, sharing his inspiring story of how God met him in his grief and sadness with nurses and students at the Twin Cities NCF meeting. He recounted how God moved him from tragedy to strategy to improve the health of mothers and infants. He spoke on God’s Plan for Improving Global Health and shared what God has been doing in Nigeria.

One of the nurses stated, “I was so moved by Sam’s response to the tragedy of his wife’s death and his development of an effective strategy for preventing maternal and infant deaths. This testimony is so potent. It helps us to realize that God does bring good out of some of our most painful experiences.”

Sam’s journey from tragedy in Nigeria to sharing strategy in Minnesota is a story of global partnerships involving a supportive network of nurses around the world.

Two years after Sam’s wife and baby died, Sam shared his grief–and emerging hope–among the 400 Christian nurses from around the world who had traveled to Jos, Nigeria for the NCFI Global Conference. By then, Sam had started the Rebecca Mbok Foundation (RMF) to promote maternal and child health and reduce mortality.

God’s call to help mothers and babies was heard by Margaret Taylor, a nurse midwife in Minnesota, who attended the NCFI conference and stayed for 11 days of service in rural Nigeria.

Margaret knew about resources which could be helpful in Nigeria. The American College of Nurse Midwives Global Outreach Department developed Home Based Life Saving Skills (HBLSS), a strategy to instruct health care professionals to teach community leaders and pregnant women how to identify pregnancy/newborn complications early in order to save their lives.

The HBLSS teaching is accomplished by using “take action cards” in the form of pictures. Each problem identifies 6 actions the learners can take to sustain life. Trainers are asked to encourage learners to teach their neighbors. This approach helps to reach a population missed in countries where women do not give birth in hospitals because of finances.

In 2009 Margaret and a nurse midwife colleague, Linda, spent a month in Nigeria, teaching and working with 42 participants (nurses, midwives, and a doctor) and some public health officials. Participants practiced by teaching groups of pregnant women what they had learned. They were presented with certificates and welcomed as new health care providers to train community leaders and pregnant women.

After the course, God also opened doors for Sam and Margaret to talk with top national health officials and receive their affirmation about HBLSS being an effective strategy for reducing maternal mortality in Nigeria.

Margaret returned to Nigeria in 2011 for follow-up that included retesting the trainers individually on their retention of what they remembered. The retention result was 98%!

Margaret also provided problem-solving with leaders and talked with them about gathering statistics for research on outcomes they were seeing. The leaders continued to train others.

Throughout the partnership of Sam and Margaret in Nigeria, people around the world were praying for this significant opportunity of spiritual and professional collaboration.  God answered prayer!

As a result, 862 participants have been prepared and training is ongoing. Initial statistics record that maternal and infant mortality has been significantly reduced by eliminating avoidable causes of death that can be addressed through simple knowledge and skills, which HBLSS provides.

1112016mn220NCF Nurses in Minnesota continue to discuss God’s plan for improving global health through partnerships like the one Sam and Margaret developed. “We are praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are sharing Jesus’ compassion in Christ-centered healthcare,” said Mary Thompson, former NCF Director.

Sam knows that NCF nurses are praying for him. He left his globally-minded friends with these prayer requests:

  • Pray for God’s Kingdom to expand with the holistic salvation of mothers and children through the Rebecca Mbok Foundation (RMF).
  • Ask God to send us to people and organizations to be partners in this work.
  • Pray for funds to expand the work of Home Based Life Saving Skills (HBLSS).

Sam is grateful that nurses in the USA and around the world are vitally connected through NCFI to equip and encourage Christian nurses to integrate Biblical principles and Christ-centered values within clinical practice, leadership, education and research.

“Sam’s work is fulfilling the NCFI mission and he has given us a glimpse of what God is doing in Nigeria. We are linked to this ministry,” said Mary Thompson. “We pray that God will continue to open our eyes to what He is doing through Christian nurses and students globally through NCFI. It is exciting to be involved in God’s work in our world!

Discover more about NCFI and NCF/USA.

What’s Your Life Story?

December 20, 2016

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The coming of Jesus changed everything for Mary and Joseph. When the angel Gabriel told Mary, “You will be with child” (Luke 2:31), it took courage for her to say, “May it be done to me according to your word” (v. 38). Everything was at stake. Pregnancy could ruin Mary’s life and had huge implications for Joseph. Yet when God spoke to Joseph he did what the angel of the Lord commanded (Matthew 1:24). Jesus’ coming completely changed Mary’s and Joseph’s life story.

When Jesus changes our story, do we give him the same response as Mary and Joseph? If Jesus simply asks, “Stop, listen, and take a moment to focus on this patient,” what is our response? When he asks more difficult, even impossible, things such as apply for that job, or serve at the homeless shelter, (or be the National Director of NCF), what is our response? It takes courage to say yes to Jesus.

The reality is, Jesus will change your story in small, big, and overwhelming ways. But like Mary and Joseph—like all the life stories we read in the Bible—Jesus makes our story better. Mary and Joseph raised the Son of God! As nurses, our life story changes the lives of others.

As you celebrate the coming of Jesus, ask God what he wants to do in your life. I pray you will hear his voice and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to have the courage, like Mary and Joseph, to say yes.

Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
NCF National Director
Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing

 

Significant Moments

December 1, 2016

11292016oruRecently, I’ve been focusing on how to seek and receive God’s direction, how to find and stay in that place where I hear his voice. What I want is to understand God’s leading and the right actions, words, or decisions for everyday situations. This can feel like instinct or intuition. But as Christians, it can be the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As nurses, we need the leading of the still, small voice of God. A simple responsiveness to God in everyday events can create significant moments.

I remember how God’s whisper created a significant moment in my life the summer after I became a nurse and I traveled from Texas to Iowa to help my grandparents move. Mom and Dad said, “When you drive through Tulsa, Oklahoma, check out the campus of Oral Roberts University. It’s beautiful!” They had wanted me to do my undergraduate work there.

I took their advice, parked the car, and walked around the ORU campus. A thought hit me to find the nursing department and see what it looked like.

I was walking down the hall of the mostly empty office area when a faculty member (the only one there!) asked what I was doing. I think she listened to the still, small voice of God and stopped to talk with me. She heard my passion for nursing and envisioned something great for my life. I had absolutely no inclination toward further education, but an hour later I was applying for the master’s program in nursing.

Two months later, I began an adventure that changed me forever!

Recently I was invited back to ORU as a featured speaker for students, faculty members and community members. I spoke about “Expecting God in Nursing” and used the story in Luke 5 about how the disciples responded to a strange request from Jesus. As they obeyed and let down their nets, they saw Jesus in a new light. It’s a great reminder of what happens when Jesus shows up and calls us to new levels of trust in him.

Hearing and responding to the still, small voice of God can create significant moments.

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Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
NCF National Director
Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing

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–Excerpt from Journal of Christian Nursing, Oct/Dec 2016, p.197. Become a member of NCF and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

The Still, Small Voice of God

November 22, 2016

ID cardIn everyday nursing practice, we need the leading of the still, small voice of God—at the bedside, in the classroom, leading an organization. A simple responsiveness to God in everyday events can create significant moments.

Once I had a patient with Bipolar II disorder who had been difficult to manage since admission earlier in the day. He was extremely anxious about the loss of his state-issued identification (ID) card.

As I introduced myself, he immediately begged for help. I told him I knew this was important, and I would look into it with him after I assessed all my patients. He persisted. I started to get irritated, then a still, small voice said, “Kathy, you’d be anxious if you lost your driver’s license (my ID card). Talk to him.” So I sat down and asked him to tell me step-by-step what he remembered about the card. He mentioned the hospital safe where we keep patient valuables, but he said he’d already looked there.

He then said, “Do you think God would help me? Would he? I don’t think he would…” The still, small voice said, “Ask if he wants you to pray with him.” I cringed. He’s so manic: is that going to be helpful? I’ll check to see if he has medication for anxiety. He kept spitting out words, then exclaimed, “Lady, please, you’ve got to pray with me!” I thought, How can I pray? If we don’t find the ID, then what?

Jesus’ words came to mind, “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven…” (Matthew 18:19-20, NIV). I remembered what Jesus said about having faith, even as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). So I prayed with him, asking God to help us locate the ID card. Silently I prayed, God help me know what to do. I know you know where that card is.

As we finished praying, I noticed a security guard at the nurses’ station. I asked him about the ID card, and if he would check the safe. He said no, he’d already looked. I countered, “It would help him calm down if I could tell him you’ll check the safe one more time. Take your time so I have something to tell him for a while.”

In less than an hour, the guard came back with the card in hand. He’d found it in the wrong patient envelope. I grabbed the card and ran to my patient. We hugged, and he cried as we realized God had answered our prayer.

Responding to the still small voice of God can create significant moments.

kss110Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
NCF National Director
Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing

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Excerpt from Journal of Christian Nursing, Oct/Dec 2016, p.197. Become a member of NCF and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

NCF Membership Christmas Special

November 14, 2016

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Save 30% on NCF membership with a special Christmas offer for nurses! JOIN NCF at 30% off the regular price in all membership categories from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 2016.

Add NCF as a professional nursing membership on your résumé. As a member of NCF, you’ll receive the Journal of Christian Nursing, as well as continuing education and publisher discounts. Your membership also demonstrates your support for ministry to nurses and nursing students. Learn more about the benefits of NCF membership.

Here are four ways you can take advantage of this Christmas special:

  • Join NCF and strengthen your faith and your nursing practice.
  • If you are already a member, renew your membership now and extend your membership by one year.
  • Give the gift of membership to a colleague, supervisor, nursing student, or nurse friend.
  • Pass on this membership special to other nurses and invite them to join NCF and take advantage of the Christmas discount offer.

arrowRemember to enter Promo Code Christmas2016 during checkout in the InterVarsity Store. (Shipping is free so check “No Shipping”)

Now is the time to join NCF and become a part of a large network of Christian nurses who are devoted to serving God in healthcare.

Climate Change in Nursing School

November 8, 2016

1182016kumed“What’s the spiritual climate of your nursing school?” I asked three nursing students over lunch. Mackenzie, Sean, and Ben responded that there was no place in the nursing school where they could talk about their faith. So together we agreed—let’s start an NCF chapter at KU Med!

These are my favorite conversations: fanning into flames the dreams that God has already given to nursing students and faculty. I love hearing how God has given them a vision to bring Christ into their nursing school and change its spiritual climate.

In my new role as NCF Student Ministries Director, our staff team is developing additional resources and training opportunities to equip and encourage our student leaders to intentionally follow Jesus on their campus and invite others into their NCF community.

One exciting innovation this fall is that we are offering webinars for all student leaders and faculty advisors. I am partnering with Bonnie Hann, NCF Campus Liaison, for virtual training on Leading Effective Bible Studies (11/14/16) and on Spiritual Care (12/5/16) to understand and assess spiritual needs and appropriate interventions. Bonnie and I love the face-to-face interaction with these eager student leaders.

logo220x220We’re also excited about offering student leaders the Discipleship Cycle Framework, a simple tool to help NCF chapters consistently apply God’s Word in their lives.

The Discipleship Cycle is incorporated into a new series of NCF Bible studies, Trusting God in Nursing School. Specific Scripture passages will help students deal with the stress and anxiety that come with a rigorous academic program and clinical demands. They will grow in Christ and have opportunities to share what they’re learning with others in their nursing school.

The end of the semester is approaching but we are rejoicing in how God is actively seeking and saving students in nursing programs across the country.

Timothy Lin, NCF Student Ministries Director

Nurses in Haiti Ask for Help

October 20, 2016

10182016haitiIn the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, nurses in Haiti are deeply moved to meet the physical and spiritual needs of thousands who have lost their loved ones, homes, and communities. They are pleading for our help.

We need urgent funding to provide 200 disaster relief kits with emergency supplies, medicine, clothes, shoes and nails for rebuilding,” said Cassandra Bioche, president of NCF Haiti.

“Even more, we especially need your prayers for Haiti because we know we serve a great God who can make the impossible become possible,” urges Cassandra.

Each disaster relief kit costs $60 US.

“Our goal is to raise $12,000 to provide 200 kits for Haiti-NCF to distribute to disaster victims,” said Phyllis Ferrier, the Caribbean/North American (CANA) representative for Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI). “This is our window of opportunity to demonstrate our love and support of NCF Haiti and the nurses who are assisting those suffering in a tangible manner.”

NCF Haiti is partnering with several organizations who will provide leadership and volunteers to assist the injured, the displaced, and the grieving.

Please consider making a contribution to equip nurses in Haiti to care for people deeply affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through NCFI at http://ncfi.org/donate. Please designate as ‘Haiti appeal’ in the reference note during payment and save your receipt from PayPal for your records.

Your contribution of $60 will provide basic supplies for one kit for nurses to distribute to hurricane victims. Please help.

A final word from Cassandra: “We are waiting for your prayers, your assistance and your love for Haiti.”

MAKE A DONATION


NCF-USA and NCF Haiti are member movements of Nurses Christian Fellowship International.

Delighted to be a Member

October 17, 2016

10172016wendyI have been a member of Nurses Christian Fellowship for several years. NCF has greatly blessed my life’s calling to be a nurse as well as an educator. It is important for nurses to support and be connected to an organization such as this by joining NCF.

NCF knows nursing is more than a job, more than an occupation, and it is definitely more than a chosen career path. Nursing is a calling from God which requires a close relationship with our heavenly Father so we can embrace and operate in the fullness of his grace and favor in everything we do.

10172016wendykenyaLast summer I was on a medical mission in Kenya. I talked to the Kenyan nurses and nursing students—our partners there—about how NCF bridges the gap between healing and total health. I know God uses NCF in the lives of nurses like myself who do cross-cultural nursing.

I recommend joining Nurses Christian Fellowship to become a part of God’s family of faithful nurses serving him in our world.

Wendy Brooks, BSN, RN, shared these words of appreciation with the NCF Facebook community. Find out how you can become a member of NCF to integrate your faith and your nursing practice.

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.