Nurses and Bioethics: More than Spectators

TennisA friend once gave me a tote bag that said, “Nursing isn’t a spectator sport.” Obviously, nursing isn’t like watching a tennis match or a football game. Nurses do so much more than watch over their patients. They often get deeply involved. Sometimes they have to say really hard things, perform painful procedures, and make difficult decisions about how best to care.

Regardless of the challenges of nursing, nurses are always expected to be committed to their patients and to their own highly ethical practice. But as healthcare becomes increasingly technologically advanced and complex, nurses are faced with giving care that can personally challenge their ethical and moral principles.

Nurses and students often need help to explore pressing contemporary bioethical issues and to see how a biblical, theological view compares with other influential perspectives. Where can nurses go to get help in understanding the questions and answers that surround challenging healthcare issues? How do they develop a biblical view of reproductive technologies, stem cell research, genetics, human enhancement, end-of-life issues, and more?

CBHDNurses and students must be equipped with knowledge and strategies to engage with these issues. NCF partners with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (CBHD) at their annual summer conference, held at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. At the conference, nurses, physicians, other healthcare professionals, ethicists, theologians, and scientists engage with pressing bioethical issues.

InterVarsity alumnus John Kilner, author of Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God, directs the graduate degree programs in bioethics at Trinity International University. TIU’s Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity offers valuable resources and other educational opportunities for nurses to invest more deeply in the study of bioethics. To connect to a host of free bioethics resources, check out the latest issue of TIU’s Bioethics Brief e-letter.

Our hope is that students and nurses will take advantage of resources and opportunities like these to be more than spectators as they encounter the challenging bioethical issues in today’s healthcare arena.

By Jane Hall, RN, MS
Director, Nurses Christian Fellowship

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