Archive for the ‘Justice issues’ Category

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.

Encountering the Untouchable

November 7, 2014

UntouchableMy patient was a convicted murderer who tried to hang himself after a life sentence. Someone found him in time and he survived, but he was severely brain damaged and bedridden with muscle atrophy and contractures.

When I was called on to care for him, I found a man covered in tattoos with long, dirty hair. His only verbal responses were guttural moans. His eyes seemed to follow you everywhere, yet no one knew if he was processing anything we said to him.

Many nurses scorned him and believed he had gotten justice for the murder he had committed. Some felt he was possessed and refused to care for him. Those who did attend him provided the least amount of care needed, and it showed in this man’s neglected appearance.

It was tempting for me to also judge this man and agree with the assessment of my coworkers. But I believed he was someone created by God, a sinner like the rest of us, and a patient who needed full care.

Whenever I remember this untouchable patient, I reflect on how Jesus was not timid about touching someone with a repulsive illness in Luke 5:12-13. Jesus extended a touch of love to a man with leprosy, a vile disease that invited ostracism and contempt from the healthy. Jesus provided a healing encounter for an unloved, unclean and chronically sick patient who came to him. As Christian nurses, we are called to follow his compassionate example.

In my nursing unit, a few of us took the time to treat our condemned patient gently and care for him with as much dignity and respect as we could. I hope that somehow he sensed God’s love from us.

~ by Bonnie Hann, RN, BSN, BS-Missionary Nursing, NCF Campus Liaison

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Healing Encounters with JesusSee “A Touch of Love” and other Healing Encounters Bible studies from NCF. Invite your friends, classmates or coworkers to discuss these gospel stories using the questions designed for those in the nursing profession. Learn how to do a nursing assessment on characters from the Bible and how to apply Scripture to nursing by putting faith into practice.

 

Crisis in Kiev to Kindness in Kansas

May 19, 2014

It's a GirlThe conflict in Ukraine is close to the heart of the NCF students at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. A touching front-page news story in The Wichita Eagle explains how the nursing students sprang into action for a woman from Kiev who was pregnant, scared, and in desperate circumstances.

The newspaper article reports,Ukraine native experiences what she already knew: Americans are good.” The story describes how one student in the Newman nursing school, Anastasiya Inchekel, went to the NCF group to ask them to pray for her twin sister who was pregnant and had just arrived from Ukraine to give birth to her baby in safety. Her sister had no prenatal care, no baby supplies, no money, and she was very anxious about her husband being drafted into the army to fight the Russians if war breaks out.

As the Newman NCF group heard about the needs of this family, they immediately sprang into action. First, the students and faculty surrounded the family in prayer, laying hands on Anastasiya when she shared her heart at the NCF meeting. Next they arranged for free prenatal care and maternal services at a local hospital. The local Pregnancy Crisis Center, a Christian ministry, was instrumental in helping to arrange the care.

When the NCF students realized the family had nothing, they hosted a baby shower and provided baby clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, shoes, a crib, and much more. The baby is due May 29, and the NCF students are committed to ongoing prayer and support for the family.

Amy Siple is the NCF faculty advisor and a professor of nursing at Newman who was first aware of Anastasiya’s concern for her sister. She is proud of how the nursing students rose up to serve the needs of those around them.

NCF staff Kathy Schoonover Shoffner said, “These students are learning to put their Christian faith into practice through the art of nursing.”

From Wichita to Kiev – with love!

Read the full news article.

Speak Up for Justice

January 27, 2014

Journal of Christian NursingWe live in a perilous world where people are sick and depressed, the elderly are abused, and the mentally ill are ignored.  Yet God’s people are called to “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).

How do we have the compassion, much less the energy, to do the exhausting work of speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves? This question is addressed by Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner’s free editorial in the Journal of Christian Nursing, January-March 2014. Other featured articles in JCN explore how nurses are in a prime position to identify, assess, manage and prevent abuse of the elderly, mentally ill or vulnerable patients.

“Some of these articles hit a personal nerve,” Kathy says. “As Christians, we are told to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, but it’s not easy.” Kathy recently took a fresh look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) where Jesus teaches on God’s standards for living and offers profound insight into how we can live rightly and bring justice to others.

“As we put God first, study the Bible, and obey his directives, we are empowered through God’s Spirit to do his work in the world,” Kathy writes. Read Kathy’s full editorial, “Justice: Speak Out for Others.”

Become a member of NCF and receive every issue of the award-winning Journal of Christian Nursing, along with other member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

Rx Rescue

October 13, 2013

Price of Life Comments

As a healthcare professional, how do you identify victims of human trafficking in your medical practice – and what can you do about it?

This was a hot topic at the Price of Life NYC as we hosted four healthcare workshops at Lehman College, NYU, Columbia University, and Hunter College. We met more than 100 students and some professionals from the community who said it was “eye-opening!”

We learned that 87.8% of trafficked persons encounter a healthcare professional during their captivity. Some who attended the seminar remembered encounters with patients that were full of the red flags of trafficking indicators, but they didn’t see it.

Our speaker, Dr. Jeff Barrows, stressed the importance of having good protocol and a plan in place before intervening in a trafficking situation in the healthcare setting, for the safety of both victims and staff. Until protocol is in place, he advised that the most important thing providers can do is report trafficking encounters to the appropriate agencies. Students and professionals learned how and what to report, and talked about how to begin to develop policy and protocol in their workplace.

Many expressed amazement and frustration that training and protocol were not already in place in healthcare settings to ensure healthcare providers can identify and help. We told them, “You are the future of healthcare. There is much work to be done in education, policy, prevention, research, aftercare, and more. Tell us how you will respond, or what your vision is for healthcare at the intersection of abolition.”

Students responded on heart-shaped papers to post on a board entitled, “Healthcare at the Heart of Abolition.” Here is a sampling of their thoughts: 

–I’ve never known that healthcare providers can play a big role to actually save human trafficking victims. I will share this information with other prospective healthcare providers and friends.

–I always hear about trafficking, but now I have a real understanding of what it is. This definitely raised my awareness, especially since I will be a nurse who hopes to work in the ER! 

–Hospitals must be educated about this. We have a huge opportunity here. We could save 87.8% of victims!

Vision: I want the ER to be aware of and educated on signs of human trafficking. Response: Try to reach out to the ER for education on the issue.

–I will stop human trafficking by being a caring and observant provider. 

–Create new intake for the office & create protocol to detect trafficked patients.

Better communication and training to detect trafficking victims.

–I plan to share this information with all the members of the nursing program, pre-nursing students, and members of the pre-health organization.

–As a future nurse, I hope to educate my future colleagues about human trafficking & implement a Human Trafficking Awareness Program into my future facility of practice.

–I am a medical student and a member of the Student Leadership Committee. We are meeting tomorrow to discuss ways to improve healthcare at our hospital. I am going to suggest training on human trafficking for physicians, especially in the ER. I am also going to push for written protocol to follow if a victim is encountered.

–I want healthcare professionals to be proactive in preventing human trafficking.

–I hope to address the issue of TIP (trafficking in persons) at its core of abuse and neglect. I intend to increase awareness of the value of self-esteem and independence in the victims I encounter.

–After learning about human trafficking, it amazed me to see the statistics of it. I am in my senior year of nursing at Lehman and all I can think or hope is that one day the hospitals will work more cohesively together and more healthcare professionals will take initiative on this topic.

We encountered many driven and passionate students who care for the vulnerable. One student told me, “We are going to go out of here and share this with others. The effects will be wide-reaching.” Praise God!

— by Morgan Hennessey, R.N.

As a nursing student, Morgan Hennessey was influential in starting the NCF group at The College of New Jersey. She shares her passion for the enslaved in the NCF blogpost, “Stop the Traffick: The Nurse’s Role.” On the lighter side, Morgan and her fellow students created the delightfully funny youtube video, NCF Head-to-Toe Assessment Music Video.

The New York City PRICE OF LIFE INVITATIONAL is a city-wide, campus-based, faith-inspired campaign addressing human trafficking in all its forms, spearheaded by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in partnership with 75+ diverse organizations.

Fighting Human Trafficking in NYC and Beyond

September 20, 2013

#PriceOfLifeNYCMorgan Hennessey is a former NCF student leader with big dreams. She is planning a special seminar October 7-9, 2013 for healthcare students and professionals in the NY/NJ area to raise awareness and fight human trafficking.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone involved with NCF in the Northeast to partner with InterVarsity’s Price of Life Invitational October 1-12, 2013 in New York City,” Morgan said. “This major student-led campaign involves more than 75 diverse organizations uniting to fight human trafficking around the corner and around the world. Please pray for how NCF can make a strategic difference among healthcare professionals by connecting spirituality and justice.”

The special healthcare seminar will be traveling to 4 different campuses: Lehman College (10/7), NYU (10/8), Columbia (10/8), and Hunter College (10/9). The keynote speaker is Dr. Jeff Barrows of Abolition International who will introduce the complex topic of human trafficking. Also speaking is Sandie Morgan, RN and nursing professor at Vanguard, who will talk about some practical ways students and professionals can engage in work against human trafficking.

 The one-day seminar at various locations around NYC is sponsored by NCF will also feature representatives from Medsend that allow health professionals to care for trafficking victims. They will be available to talk with participants who are interested in learning more about opportunities to work on behalf of a group of people who are vulnerable to crimes and abuses such as trafficking.

“I think it is so life-giving to help nurses and nursing students come together around this growing modern-day problem so that victims can move toward real wellness and not fall through the cracks of our healthcare system,” Morgan says.

If you’re in the NY/NJ area, here is your invitation to join others in the student-led Price of Life Invitational by attending the Healthcare Seminar and learning more about the intersection of healthcare and human trafficking.

As a nursing student, Morgan Hennessey was influential in starting the NCF group at The College of New Jersey. She shares her passion for the enslaved in the NCF blogpost, “Stop the Traffick: The Nurse’s Role.” On the lighter side, Morgan and her fellow students created the delightfully funny youtube video, NCF Head-to-Toe Assessment Music Video.

 

God is Just

March 11, 2013

God is justOn almost every episode of the TV show, Law & Order, there is a different judge, often with a version of justice that doesn’t always seem right, especially to the offenders!

In contrast to TV judges and real judges, God is always right.  A.W. Tozer wrote that God is both just and justice. People follow a standard of justice outside themselves, but God is the standard for justice, he is the “author of all laws.” In the Old Testament, the same Hebrew word is translated both “justice” and “righteousness” and sometimes used interchangeably.

It is so very hard for us to grasp that God is also both just and merciful. His Word tells us that we can never become righteous by living according to his law. Our justification, our righteousness, can only come because we believe in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection as payment for our sin. We are justified by our faith in Christ alone, not by what we do or don’t do. Let us rejoice that God in his mercy has provided a way for us to be forgiven and to have life eternal with him.

I am reminded of this verse from 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Thanks be to God!

This is the fifth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart.”

Worth the Risk

November 29, 2012

Worth the RiskWe received a variety of responses to the article, Compassionately Caring for LGBT Persons in Your Faith Community. As the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, I knew it was a big risk to write on this topic.

One reader responded on the NCF Nurses Blog: “I am delighted to see the issue being addressed by NCF. I worked with AIDS patients in the mid-80s and my father gave me great advice: Do not change your values, do not impose your values – do the best job you can as a nurse.When we truly reach out to others with unconditional love, our own lives are changed and enhanced forever.”

Another upset reader thought we were promoting a gay lifestyle and wanted to see us mention some approaches to this problem to help people be freed from the oppression of sexual sin. We thought about including the resources he recommended but we didn’t for two reasons:

1) The point of the article wasn’t about changing a patient’s sexual identity; it was about understanding people who are gay and their health concerns—not endorse their lifestyle.  As nurses, we can recommend resources for people who ask for help, but it is in the context of an established relationship.

2) We wanted to be sensitive and reach out to the gay community with Christ’s love and not give a typical approach they often hear from many Christians, so we did not include resources for dealing with homosexuality.

Interestingly, as a result of publishing this piece, I have had the opportunity to listen to some very personal and painful stories from gay healthcare providers. I am moved by their stories. In these conversations, I have tried to listen carefully and respond with God’s love.  I pray that I can continue these relationships and help them experience, as I have, our wonderful Savior who offers healing to us all.

I invite you to read more in my editorial, Caring for Gay Persons: Stop the Hurt. My journey continues. How about yours? Please give us your thoughts on the JCN blog, “In the Light.”

by Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, JCN Editor

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My Summer in Lawndale

November 29, 2012

Summer in LawndaleLast summer, I spent seven weeks in North Lawndale, a neighborhood of Chicago with a reputation for gang violence, poverty, STDs, obesity, and limited access to health care. I immersed myself among the urban poor to learn from them as part of the Chicago Urban Program by InterVarsity. As a nursing student, I also interned with Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC).

At LCHC, I shadowed clinic nurses and saw patients with different backgrounds and stories. I worked in human resources and participated in research projects alongside physicians to survey current demographics of the community. I even worked with medical records staff and grant writers to learn how LCHC functioned to provide quality, affordable healthcare in one of our country’s most underserved communities.

Being new to the neighborhood, our team did not know what to expect. Will we be safe? Gang violence was at its peak in the summer and the weather was ridiculously dry and hot. “Just stay indoors after 9:00pm and you should be good,” our neighbors told us. Where could we buy fresh produce around Lawndale? “Pete’s is the best we got but its 20 minutes away by bus,” they said. This level of brokenness in the community defined health disparities at a whole new level for me.

My experiences this summer went beyond the patient-client skills I gained through LCHC or learning how to develop trust in a patient-client relationship in a clinical setting when teaching them about their health. I heard stories I never heard growing up in my neighborhood. As an Asian American, the neighborhood of Lawndale taught me valuable cultural-sensitivity skills to prepare me as an effective nurse for diverse patients. Through it all, God opened my eyes and expanded my vision of His kingdom on earth and I saw how much He desired to heal the sick.

I learned of a broken system that existed for low-income families that face limited education, discrimination, poor eating habits, food deserts, gang violence, poor management of chronic conditions and increasing STD rates. All this contributes to a vicious cycle in underserved communities such as Lawndale in the city of Chicago.

Through our program’s multi-ethnic workshops and neighborhood stories, I learned that not all is hopeless. I saw that the work of the nurses and physicians at LCHC produces tangible results. I witnessed the overflowing love of God from people who were called to love the sick and preach the Kingdom of God. I realized that God desired to combat health disparities and bring justice to the poor. Their fruit is an inspiration for me to use my nursing education for the Lord and for his purposes in the world.

Living among the urban poor helped me see the need for nurses who care about them — and I am inspired to meet this need.

by Santine Hsueh

The White Umbrella

October 16, 2012

The White UmbrellaSex trafficking occurs daily in communities all around us. Every year, thousands of young women are forced into sexual exploitation. Most are under the age of 18 with an average age being 14. The damage this causes to their emotions and souls is immeasurable, but they are not without hope. Wellspring Living is an organization leading the way when it comes to survivors of human trafficking. Their true compassion and excellence in care is life changing, not just for the girls they serve, but for those who help survivors out along the way.

The White Umbrella tells stories of survivors as well as those who came alongside to help them to recovery. It describes the pain and the strength of these young women and those who held the “white umbrella” of protection and purity over them on the road to restoration.

Learn about the book and other resources at: http://www.thewhiteumbrellacampaign.com/