Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

How NCF Student Chapters Are Changing Lives

June 23, 2017

6232017students.jpgNursing students are immersed in rigorous academic and clinical demands. In the relentless pressure-cooker of nursing school, NCF chapters provide authentic faith communities that encourage, equip, and empower students to be followers of Jesus in life and nursing.

How does this happen? These comments from chapter leaders demonstrate the impact of the NCF community on some of the nursing students involved this year:

  • “NCF is a place where people feel they belong. We all share in the difficulties and joys of nursing school. The barriers of class status are broken and we are all one. I appreciate how the older students mentor the new students. It’s a time when we all step away from the busyness of school to take a breath and be reminded of God’s love and goodness.” – Student Leader (MI)
  • “We provide moral support and prayer for each other. NCF keeps its members centered on Christ and growing in his truth during this stressful time in our lives.” – Student Leader (FL)
  • “Students in our chapter grew closer and built deep relationships for support, spiritual encouragement, and accountability. Our weekly Bible studies taught us how to apply the Gospel to our school work, lives, and nursing practice. Visiting RNs from the community helped us learn how to share our faith in practice and serve God in our care.” – Student Leader (IA)
  • “We got to know each other by sharing our highs and lows each week. We studied and discussed God’s Word and prayed for one another.” – Student Leader (PA)
  • “Initiating an NCF chapter gives the students a forum to discuss the challenges of their program and how they can apply their faith to help them through those challenges. NCF provides hope and a support system.” – Faculty Advisor (IL)
  • NCF provides a support system for us and encourages us to live out the word of God in both the classroom and clinical setting. We urged each other to step out of our comfort zone to share our faith with classmates and engage in community outreach. – Student Leader (TX)
  • This year we focused on the faithfulness of God which instilled peace in the students, especially during exam time. It also opened conversations about how we can pursue a deeper relationship with God and trust in him more. – Student Leader (NY)
  • Our meetings gave students an opportunity to worship, share concerns, and learn new ways to pray and connect with God through activities that corresponded with the NCF Bible studies we used. – Faculty Advisor (PA)

We thank God for growth in student ministry this year. We witnessed a 14% increase in the number of students (1,862) who are meeting Jesus and learning how to follow him in nursing. Rejoice with us that 46 nursing students committed their lives to Jesus!

Today’s students will be the hands and feet of Jesus as tomorrow’s nurses. When we invest in the spiritual development of nursing students, they are more prepared to identify spiritual needs and offer holistic care to patients throughout their nursing practice–an investment with eternal dividends.

Please partner with what God is doing to change the lives of nursing students with a financial gift to NCF Student Ministry.

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.

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

A Visitation Program for Seniors

September 12, 2016

9122016waitingMaking homebound visits is an important part of the ministry of the church, especially for older seniors who are vulnerable to isolation and poor quality of life. Yet too often they are neglected and left longing for visitors.

Julia Quiring Emblen, PhD, RN, was troubled by the lonely seniors she visited in her church. “Some told me the church community had all but forgotten about them,” she writes in her article, “A Compassionate Visitation Program for Church Homebound Elders” from Journal of Christian Nursing.

Many of the elders Julia visited had been leaders of the church for years. “Recalling how much service these former spiritual pillars had given to the congregation, I felt sad that now, when they were in need, they received so little,” Julia said. She was determined to improve the care of the homebound elders in her church.

Realizing that older seniors need support, a Compassionate Visitation Program was initiated. Most of the volunteers were in their 60s or 70s. It soon became apparent that more emphasis was needed on making the visit experience enjoyable for recipients and satisfying to the visitors.

The program developed general focus points using the acrostic HOMEBOUND to help visitors remember to incorporate Humor, Observation, Music, Encouragement, etc. Parts of the program include an awareness of Nutritional issues and even the Death of the visitee.

Active listening is a nursing skill that can be taught to visitors who can listen to a person’s stories about the past and concerns about the future. Allowing them to share their pain validates their experience and helps decrease the loneliness of chronic pain. Visitors can learn to be present, listen to the visitees, help them process their feelings, and explore healthy responses.

Over time, guidelines and a structure for the Compassionate Visitation Program were developed with a Visit Facilitator coordinating the program for the church.

A friendly visit can encourage and lighten some of the lonely hours for those who have little to do during their long days. “It takes time and planning on the part of the visitor,” Julia concludes, “but the time pays off when the visitor is leaving and hears, ‘Come back soon! I really enjoy our time together.’”

Are there homebound seniors in your church who are longing for visitors? Read the full JCN article for more tips and program ideas.

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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.

A Fellowship for Christian Nurses?

August 5, 2016

842016fellowship

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).

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

God at Work at SDSU

March 8, 2016

382016sdsuKirsten Sakata was nervous about starting a Bible discussion in her nursing school, but got excited when five people came to the first meeting a few weeks ago. The group discussed “Stress in the Life of a Nursing Student” from the What’s Vital? NCF Bible study series.

“God exceeded my expectations! We laughed, shed tears, and had deep conversations. The Lord met every one of us tonight,” Kirsten said. “I can’t wait to have the next meeting.”

Afterward, one of the girls texted Kirsten: “The study went really well. God was definitely in it.” Kirsten sees this as confirmation that God is moving in the nursing department.

“I see how many of my classmates are yearning for something more than just being “a nurse.” They want something more, and I believe this is a personal relationship with Jesus,” Kirsten said.

“I am thankful for what God is doing—and will be doing—on our campus!”

Urbana15: Miraculous Encounters

January 25, 2016

1222016restroomsUrbana 15 was marked by miraculous, divine encounters where God put us in specific places at precise times so he could act! One such time was the 4th evening during a Communion Service for the 16,000 attendees in the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis. It was a sacred, solemn moment as we were led by ushers to stand row-by-row to be served the bread and wine representing Christ’s body and blood sacrificed for us.

As I waited quietly in prayer, my aging bladder started talking, then screaming at me. I tried to ignore the growing sensation but realized I would need to take action soon. Finally our row stood and received the elements, then I quickly exited to find a bathroom.

To my surprise, as I left the bathroom, a young woman said, “I know you. You’re famous!” She clarified that she’d been in a seminar that I had taught a few days earlier with Jane Hall, NCF National Director. I discovered she was a nursing student, and like many of the students at Urbana, seeking God’s calling on her life. Then suddenly, she began to cry. As her voice broke, she asked if I would talk with her for a moment.

We quickly found a quiet place and she poured out her story. The Bible studies at Urbana had brought into sharp focus the reality of God’s judgment for those who reject him. Her voice trailed off as she said, “I don’t know if I can serve a God who will send some to eternal punishment…”

I shed a few tears with her, and I told her it was a good thing to ask God hard questions. That he welcomes our questions. Then I said I wondered if God was breaking her heart for the lost so she would realize the urgency of reaching out to others, of being his messenger. We then went to scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3 and talked about how it is God’s will for all to be saved; that he is patiently waiting, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. We talked about how God is calling us to bring the good news of salvation to the world.

We prayed, cried, hugged, and I promised to stay in contact with her as she continued to seek God’s will for her life. We laughed as we both realized God had spoken to my bladder to create a divine encounter. He had ordained our meeting in the hallway during Communion at Urbana 15.

NCF Badgers Host Christmas Party

December 18, 2014

Bucky cookiesDecorating sugar cookies the week before finals was a fun stress-buster for the NCF chapter at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A cookie cut-out of the school’s mascot, Bucky Badger, invited artistic creativity to busy nursing students at the end of the semester.

The NCF leadership team made the sugar cookies in advance and hosted a Christmas party which included a very entertaining white elephant gift exchange.

“It was a great way to get to know each other better as we decorated the cookies and chatted,” said Bonnie Hann, NCF staff. The “Decorate Bucky” contest proved that our NCF chapter has some very talented artists!”

Christmas partyStudents appreciated a fun event that wasn’t centered around studying or going to the bars, two popular choices on campus at this time of year.

The NCF Christmas party was a culmination of a busy semester for the NCF group. They gathered for a weekly Bible study in the Gospel of John on Wednesday afternoons led by Stephen, the chapter co-president.

Khloe is the other co-president who leads a prayer group on Mondays and organizes many of the social events. Both Stephen and Khloe have really reached out to the juniors in the group to get them more involved in the group to provide continuity for next year.

“We’ve seen a lot positive changes and growth in the group this year,” Bonnie reports. “The UW campus has a brand new School of Nursing so it’s a fruitful season for the chapter. Nursing students are open to God’s work in their lives.”

Just ask Bucky Badger.

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Read more stories about NCF student ministry or visit the NCF website for nursing student resources.

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.

Discovering Real Mission

February 27, 2014

WSU NCF

Nursing students who go on short-term mission trips are often personally transformed by serving in another culture, but how does their experience influence their mission on campus when they return?

The students at Wichita State University (KS) discovered an inspiring connection when they prepared posters and shared mission trip experiences with their Nurses Christian Fellowship chapter. At the meeting, an NCF faculty advisor gave a brief devotional on journeying with God. She then served as a roving reporter to each display, asking students questions about their mission trips.

After exploring the basic questions of who, what, when and where, students were asked, “How did this experience change your life and commitment to Christ?”

One student felt too ordinary to accomplish much for God, but the challenges of the trip showed her God really does do extraordinary things through ordinary people like her. She went to Central Asia to build relationships with local college students as an outreach with local churches. Several college students she met that month came to understand and believe in Jesus!

Another student said she was terrified to share her faith. She was surprised how easy it was to share her faith in East Asia and be bold for Christ by using some simple tools. She learned to ask people questions, sit with others at meals, or start conversations by wearing a multicolored “gospel bracelet.”

Each student said the key to helping people in these other cultures was to build genuine relationships with them. All of the students were humbled by experiencing God’s powerful presence on their trips.

Taking it Home

Students then were asked, “How did your trip help you see your campus or clinical areas as a mission field?”

Initially everyone was stumped by this question. Then all at once several students in the group called out the answer: “Build relationships!” It was an electrifying moment as everyone realized their mission on campus was to do the same thing right here – to pray for God to bring people into their lives that need relationships and to be responsive to the Holy Spirit to make connections.

Students also learned great lessons about best practices in short-term missions. Each student was part of a mission group that had long-term ties with local churches and healthcare providers. They discovered how their short-term efforts have long-term impact as they came alongside the people who lived and worked in the country. The students learned humility and grace as they played with children, or helped college students practice English, or handed out healthy snacks and talked about nutrition. They developed great respect for local churches and health workers who have few resources but accomplish amazing things.

One student said he realized every small task, even though it seems like nothing, is significant when done for Jesus. When people see you are willing to serve in whatever way is needed, they want to know more about who you are and why you do what you do.

Students were provided with resources from NCF Missions and the Journal of Christian Nursing on best practices in short-term healthcare mission.

God spoke powerfully to the group as he translated the students’ short-term mission experiences into the realization of living missionally in school, in the hospital – and wherever they are today.

by Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
Editor, Journal of Christian Nursing
Staff, Nurses Christian Fellowship USA