Addressing Moral Distress in Nursing

August 25, 2016

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.”


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 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


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).


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

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.

Jesus as Our Role Model

August 1, 2016

812016womanatwellAs Christian nurses, we have Jesus as our source of strength and role model. I love how Jesus sees all of us from the perspective of God’s Kingdom. This perspective teaches us how to see and think about people and thus how to care for patients and their families and collaborate with our co-workers.

We read about Jesus who met the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:1-26. Jesus sees the woman and knows who she is; still he decides to spend time with her. As we read the text, we can sense the gentleness and the intensity of their conversation, and how Jesus touches her deeply in her spirit. She becomes convinced that she has met the long-awaited Messiah. This makes her a witness for Christ.

In Luke 19:1-10 we read about Zacchaeus up in a tree. Again, Jesus acts beyond the rules and norms and sees to the heart and longing of this man. He greets Zacchaeus in the tree and invites himself to dinner with him. This transforms Zacchaeus. Jesus acknowledges this sinner to be a saved son of Abraham, and Zacchaeus’ transformed heart shows itself in action.

One of the stories I like the best from the gospels is about the blind beggar outside of Jericho (Luke 18:35-43). Try to imagine the crowd of people and all the noise. In the middle of this, Jesus recognizes the one who needs him. He stops and asks this wonderful question: “What do you want me to do for you?”

Have you noticed that Jesus often asks questions when he teaches and meets with people? He is interested in understanding people—who they are and how they think. Having Jesus as our role model challenges us to consider these questions: Am I interested in understanding people? Do I take the time to stop and listen to people in my path who may need me?

Will you join me in following Jesus’ example and practice this question: “What do you want me to do for you?” I’m interested in hearing about your experiences from using this question. Please share your comments below.

Tove Giske
President, Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI)


Photo credit by Angelica Kauffman – Upload 1: repro from art bookUpload 2: Own Work, photo taken by Cybershot800i., Public Domain,

Introducing the New NCF Director

July 18, 2016


Meet the new director of Nurses Christian Fellowship!

Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN, didn’t plan on being a nurse until she worked in a hospital as a high school senior and was captivated by the life-giving power of the nurse-patient relationship.

“After I witnessed the intimacy of caring for people, I knew nursing was for me!” Kathy said. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing at UT Arlington and started caring for cancer patients. “I quickly realized the critical need to care for people spiritually, to be with them in their suffering, to help them reach out to God.”

Within a year of completing her BSN, God called Kathy to further education at Oral Roberts University. “The master’s program at ORU was outstanding. I learned whole person caring—body, mind, and spirit. I discovered theory and research. I heard Jesus’ call to excellence. I also was introduced to Nurses Christian Fellowship and NCF Bible studies. I discovered Jesus was the model nurse.”

After graduation, Kathy worked as a clinical nurse specialist and successfully led a cardiac rehabilitation department during the huge insurance changes of the 1980s.

Five years after completing her MSN, Kathy felt the tug to expand her research expertise and earned a PhD in Nursing from the University of Kansas. Kathy recalls, “The commute from Wichita to Kansas City was grueling, but I loved the deep critical thinking and learning how to build knowledge to provide better care for patients.”

As a doctoral student, Kathy was asked to serve at a national NCF conference as a Bible study leader and prayer minister. This connected Kathy with NCF nationally. Through the 1990s she volunteered with the NCF Central Plains leadership council where she assisted with continuing education conferences and supported NCF faculty advisors at nursing schools in the region. Through NCF, Kathy also began experiencing life-changing Bible study—and never stopped.

In 2002, Judy Shelly, then editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, asked Kathy, “Have you ever considered being a journal editor?” Kathy remembers her response. “No, but God whispered to me from Numbers 13-14 to move forward and take the promised land; He would be with me.” She started helping with JCN and became editor in March 2004.

In 2005, Kathy helped NCF partner with publishing giant Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins to publish JCN. This was a miraculous work of God that widened NCF’s influence. We now publish JCN in print, online, mobile, and iPad formats, and our biblically-based continuing education for nurses is online with one of the world’s largest CE providers.”

When Paul Tokunaga, Vice-President for InterVarsity’s Strategic Ministries, approached Kathy to consider becoming NCF director, God whispered again through Numbers 13-14. Even though his people may feel like grasshoppers, “If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land… and will give it to us” (Numbers 14:8).

Kathy says, “For NCF, that land is the college campus where there are nursing programs for almost 800 bachelor’s degrees and over 1200 associate degrees. That land is InterVarsity where we can help move the vision forward to see students and faculty transformed, campuses renewed, and world changers developed. That land is the over 3 million nurses in the U.S. who need Jesus. NCF is about bringing the Good News of Jesus to nursing, and helping students, educators, and nurses practice from a biblically-based Christian perspective.”

On July 1, 2016 Kathy became the national director of NCF and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Christian Nursing.

“I am excited about what God will do with and through NCF in the coming years,” Kathy said, “I don’t know all that will be needed to lead NCF, but I serve the One who holds all power and wealth and wisdom and strength. God will lead NCF.”

NCF Changed My Life

July 12, 2016

7122016patNurses Christian Fellowship has been an integral part of my life since nursing school when I was introduced to Jesus Christ and began to understand my need for a personal relationship with him.

That was nearly 45 years ago and my relationship to Jesus Christ has grown and flourished, largely due to the training and mentoring I received from NCF staff in the formative years of my walk with Christ.

I am grateful that evangelism and discipleship have always been two of the primary purposes of NCF and InterVarsity. I believe NCF has a dynamic role to play in our profession as we help nurses and nursing students know Jesus Christ personally and equip them to grow in their faith.

I am so pleased that Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner is the new director for NCF. She is the right person for such a time as this in NCF, and God will use Kathy to further his Kingdom-building work among nurses, students and educators.

Pat Emery Hixon, MSN, RN
NCF National Director, 2007-2009

Support NCF ministry with a donation so that more students and nurses will be influenced by the life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus.


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