Archive for the ‘Education & Training’ Category

Hormones, Health and God

May 9, 2017

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It’s often cold in Minnesota but “Hormones, Health and God” was a hot topic at an April seminar sponsored by NCF Twin Cities and Hosanna Church Called to Care Nurses.

There were 65 nurses, students and other health care professionals who attended the gathering April 22. The guest speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Haglind, an endocrinologist who talked about health as personal wholeness and the integration of body, mind and spirit to create well-being.

Dr. Haglind presented information on the thyroid gland which has significant influence on physical and emotional health. The seminar focused on how the thyroid functions, how thyroid dysfunction affects body weight, and how to promote wellness personally and professionally.

Dr. Haglind also talked about the importance of spiritual care by looking at the prayers of Jesus in the garden before his death and his suffering on the cross when he cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” She spoke of the anguish of people in suffering who may be wailing and raging from grief.

As nurses, how do we learn to listen in silence while people pour out their pain and despair? Elizabeth encouraged participants to view them from the foot of the cross, as we also see Jesus pouring out his physical and spiritual agony in the crucifixion.

And when the time is right, we offer ongoing comfort and prayer.

“Elizabeth’s presentation was very significant for me,” said Mary Thompson, former NCF national director. “It was timely and applicable as I thought of a friend who is suffering terribly right now. These insights will help me care for her as a representative of Jesus.”

Participants enjoyed connecting with each other as Christians in nursing. They also had opportunities to join the NCF professional network and purchase books from InterVarsity Press.

The seminar closed with a time of reflection led by Karen Greseth, RN, seminar coordinator. While worship music played the background, Karen read biblical exhortations about caring for “the least” among us, illustrated with pictures in a Power Point.

“Karen prayed us out to care for people in Jesus’ name,” reports Mary Thompson. “It was a fitting conclusion to a special day together.”

The next event for the Twin Cities NCF chapter will be Tuesday, June 6, at Stadium Village Church in Minneapolis.

Growing a Compassionate Heart

March 24, 2017

God calls us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8), but what does this look like for marginalized people in health care? Nurses and students gathered in Minnesota to explore how to represent Jesus Christ with a growing heart of compassion for the underserved in their communities.

The NCF group in the Twin Cities hosted 35 nurses and students for a soup supper and informative discussion led by Leya Didur, Twin Cities Urban Program Director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The NCF seminar provided 1 CE credit.

Leya shared her vision for her work training students in cross-cultural urban experiences: “Throughout the Bible, from beginning to end, it is impossible not to see the theme of God calling his people to be concerned and care for the marginalized. Ultimately God wants to see all his children thrive and, as Christ’s followers, we can be active participants to bring about that thriving.”

Table groups first discussed the question, “What patients are marginalized in your work?” Then they explored barriers to providing quality care for marginalized individuals or communities.

A core component of the seminar looked at how Jesus had compassion on the people he met. Leya provided questions to ask when reading stories about Jesus engaging with people at the margins.

* How is this person marginalized in their community?

* What barriers does Jesus have to overcome or address to care for this person?

* How does Jesus provide compassionate holistic care for this person?

* How do others respond in this story?

The challenging question for nurses is how to grow in compassion and make an intentional effort to change. “It is critical to be honest with your starting point and the barriers you have,” Leya reminded the participants.

“We talked about the importance of receiving the love of Jesus for ourselves and taking care of ourselves,” said Mary Thompson, former director of Nurses Christian Fellowship. “This is at the heart of growing in compassion for others.”

Finally, Leya challenged nurses and nursing students to develop a plan for practical ways to grow in compassion and understanding for marginalized people. She suggested watching movies or reading books from a different perspective, or visiting a church of a different ethnicity or culture. The key factor is developing authentic relationships with others and loving them in Christ.

Mary Thompson is grateful to God for NCF ministry in the Twin Cities, MN, and for this new partnership with Leya as InterVarsity staff. “Through Leya’s excellent presentation, we are encouraged by the opportunities before us as followers of Jesus—in healthcare and in the community.”

As these nurses and students return to their daily lives, they take with them this reminder about the God they serve in nursing, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8). It’s a good word.

Spiritual Care Resources

February 24, 2017

2132017spiritualcarecardHow do you care for the spiritual needs of your patients? Knowing how to assess a person’s spiritual health and provide spiritual care interventions is part of caring for the whole person.

Care of the spirit, a hallmark of good nursing, is a high priority for Christian nurses. What is known about spirituality and spiritual care? How do we go about offering spiritual care?

Begin with a careful assessment using these questions:

  • Do you consider yourself to be spiritual or religious?
  • What importance does faith have in your life?
  • Are you part of a faith community?
  • What spiritual activities are important to you?
  • What sustains you and keep you going?
  • How would you like me to support your faith or address your needs?

Always remember to focus on the patient’s needs, not your own. Respect the patient’s views and support the person’s decision. Ask God to guide your care of patients and be attentive to his presence.

Find more resources on spiritual care, including a handy pocket-size spiritual care card that includes basic assessment questions and spiritual care interventions.

See the special JCN Collection of articles on Spirituality and Spiritual Care. These are free for NCF members and JCN subscribers or available for purchase. Learn from the Journal of Christian Nursing what researchers, patients, and other experts say makes for good spiritual care.

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.

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

Church Attendance Really Helps!

July 7, 2016

772016churchNurses are in an excellent position to offer spiritual support to patients—and can do so with the backing of research connecting faith and health! A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that attending religious services can help you live longer.

In a study of 74,534 women from 1996-2012, religious service attendance was associated with lower risk of mortality from all-causes, including cardiovascular and cancer death. Attending >1 time weekly led to a 33% less chance of dying, once a week attendance decreased mortality by 26%, and even some attendance decreased mortality 13%. The effect of religious service attendance was stronger than that of any other form of participation in a social group.

A large European study also found that participation in religious organizations offers health benefits beyond those gained from other forms of social participation. Study authors conclude that religion and spirituality may be an “underappreciated resource” that physicians can explore with patients.

Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
Director, Nurses Christian Fellowship/USA

Bioethics and Nursing

May 12, 2016

682015cbhdWhere can nurses and students go to get help in understanding the questions and answers that surround challenging healthcare issues?

We need help to explore pressing contemporary bioethical issues and to see how a biblical, theological view compares with other influential perspectives.

It’s important for us to develop a biblical view of reproductive technologies, stem cell research, genetics, human enhancement, end-of-life issues, and more.

Nurses 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 these resources and opportunities when encountering the challenging bioethical issues in today’s healthcare arena.

~by Jane Hall, RN, MS
Director, Nurses Christian Fellowship

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

Curious about Healthcare Missions?

October 6, 2014

MedicalMissions.comYou’re invited to connect with thousands of other people interested in healthcare missions at the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) on November 6-8, 2014 in Louisville, KY. It’s a unique opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, attend seminars, ask questions, and interact with a wide range of exhibiting organizations.

Nurses Christian Fellowship is a partnering sponsor for the conference. GMHC is a gathering where Christian nursing students and nurses can discover God’s call on their lives, especially those seeking opportunities around the world to use their gifts, knowledge and skills. Grace Tazelaar, NCF Mission Director, will be hosting an NCF booth at the conference. Stop by and say hello.

This year GMHC will feature special sessions on the outbreak of Ebola that has ravaged the lives of so many in Western Africa. The devastation of Ebola became even more real as several people in the medical missions community were infected and brought back to the United States for care.

Dr. Kent Brantly was one of them. He works with Samaritan’s Purse and SIM in Liberia. Dr. Brantly’s story caught the attention of a nation and the world — no one could understand why men and women would serve people with such a dangerous and fatal disease. Their inspiration to serve others was something deep and eternal.

Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber will be sharing their story in a live interview with Dr. David Stevens during one of the plenary sessions at GHMC. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear their story in person.

Several breakout sessions will be offered for those seeking to learn more and become more engaged with Ebola around the world. Please visit MedicalMissions.com for more information on 2014 GMHC Breakout Sessions and the other clinically related Ebola sessions.

Please pray that nurses and nursing students will embrace God’s mission to care for the needs of others around the world.

You are Part of Something Bigger

September 25, 2014

World Student Day 2014World Student Day is October 17, 2014.

NCF students and InterVarsity students are part of a global movement reaching the world for Christ. We are members of the International Fellowship of International Students (IFES).

Make plans to pray with others in your NCF group on October 17, 2014. Learn about specific opportunities and challenges facing students around the world. Open your heart and mind for what God is doing on campuses in Nigeria, China, Norway, Brazil, Pakistan or Egypt.

Sign up here for instructions, resources and ways to participate in World Student Day. Find out more about IFES in this video, “You Are Part of Something Bigger.”

Our God is a global God. Our faith is a global faith. Our mission is a global mission. We’re praying to support our brothers and sisters around the world on October 17, 2014. Will you join us?