Archive for the ‘JCN CE’ Category

Why Suffering?

February 13, 2017

2132017sufferingAs nurses, we regularly encounter suffering. We also suffer. Suffering is a part of life, and we all ask, Why?

I’ve asked a lot of why questions. Why could I never get pregnant? Why did my brother die at an early age? Why did Hurricane Matthew kill so many and wipe out more of Haiti’s infrastructure? Why did a friend get cancer? Why can’t we alleviate a patient’s severe pain?

There are no answers to these questions. And no answer will change fact that suffering happens, and it is awful.

It seems the more valid question is: How do we cope with suffering? The Bible teaches principles that help me deal with suffering:

  • God is faithful through suffering and accomplishes bigger, even better, things than we can imagine. The most poignant example of this is Jesus who suffered to bring about the redemption of the world.
  • We can learn through suffering. Suffering focuses our attention on God like nothing else; it molds our faith and character in profound ways. Suffering can accomplish God’s purposes in our lives as we cry out to him and learn to trust and follow him.
  • Pain and suffering will end when God accomplishes the final redemption of the world. We will see for ourselves that “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54).

Even if I never understand what God is doing in suffering, I’ve learned he is worthy of my trust.

As you face hard things, bring your pain and questions to God. Dig deeper into his Word and prayer. Trust God and learn to hold on to his strength and unfailing love.

I encourage you to improve your nursing practice and learn how to respond to suffering by reading our feature article, “Entering into Suffering: Becoming a Transformed and Transforming Healer,” in Journal of Christian Nursing, Jan/Mar 2017 (1.5 CE credits offered). This article hits home for nurses.

A suffering world awaits us.

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

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Read Kathy’s full editorial in Journal of Christian Nursing, Jan/Mar 2017, p. 6. Become a member of NCF and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

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.