Christian Nurses

  1. Hey all. I'm finishing up my last semester of my BSN at the University of Tennessee and I'm just curious about experiences others have had as a nurse and a Christian. I love God and have been praying for His guidance in this area as I have always struggled socially. I had a somewhat "off the beaten path" start to my adult life. I have found that I rely on my faith more and more the closer I get to graduation knowing I am quite different, mainly in how I think, (artistic type and right-brained).

    I have been through some interesting experiences that have somewhat shaped me and it's been difficult to balance that when it comes to interacting with others.

    Does anyone have any stories, similar struggles, experiences they would be willing to share?

    I am going into this career as a 30 year old-female and former United States Marine to give you some perspective.

    I would greatly appreciate feedback on how you've been able to bring your own uniqueness, struggles, and/or faith into the nursing profession.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    Hi HannahMarine30.

    I became a nurse at age 40 as a second career and when my youngest child was in 1st grade. I'm also a Christian.

    When I started working full time as a nurse it was in a small hospital and we were "jack of all trades, master of none" sorts of nurses. I worked med-surg, L&D, PP, and I was the ER nurse as well.

    I work hospice now.

    I'm headed out the door but will come back later and add some thoughts about your question.

    Thanks for asking.
  4. by   HannahMarine30
    Thank you so much for your reply. I'm really both anxious (I know, anxiety won't add one minute to my life). At the end of the day if I can glorify Him in my work that's all that really matters.

    As long as I can remember I've always felt different but my goal is to be as humble as I can.

    The age difference between myself and the rest of my nursing class is about 9-10 years so it's been interesting for the last couple of years just in that regard alone. In some ways it's worked out and i've found that I became a mentor of sorts for several of my fellow students.

    I would really love to become a clinical instructor for a nursing program at some point. I enjoy teaching, its in my blood and runs in my family, the only time i'm not awkward (outwardly at least) is when i'm teaching. I think the role of teacher and mentor in some capacity is what i'm meant to do, kind of funny that God would gift me that way given my anxiety about social settings.

    Perhaps there is a lesson for me to learn in all of that. God's clever that way.
  5. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Hello HannahMarine30! Welcome to AN.
    I've been a nurse for over 20 years, though I've taken some time off here and there to focus on my kids. For me, nursing was a calling I grew into. It was not something I thought I would do when I was younger. I am also a Christian and I always thought I would go into a more "ministerial" type field, like social work. I laugh at that now. I was SO young! Nursing has definitely been a ministry for me (and TO me) and I would say it's a calling I've grown into.
    I've learned that God will use all sorts of things to grow us and bring us closer to Him. I've been through a lot in my life (as many have) and I think, generally speaking, nurses tend to be 'old souls' -- most of the nurses I know are wise beyond their years. You see and do and learn a lot in this job -- stuff the general public never sees or thinks about. I have worked most of my career inside an ICU. I have had to learn the art of caring from a distance in order to keep working in this specialty. I do care deeply about all my patients, but I often don't allow (or tempt) myself to feel the full weight of that care. And it's only a fraction of how the Lord loves them. So I pray for them, yes, but I spend most of my time (with regards to work) making sure I am the best nurse I can be. Much of that involves frequent studying, continuing education, learning new competencies -- none of that may seem "spiritual" but it is. I've also learned that we tend to compartmentalize stuff I don't think God does. He led me down this path and made sure I'd be equipped. It's my pleasure to trust Him and do the best at what I am wired to do.
    Any given nurse will not be naturally proficient at all aspects of "being a nurse". All of us have stuff to work on and it's usually different for different people. Don't ever get discouraged about that -- it is true in anything -- as I'm sure you can attest to as a former Marine.
    And Thank You for serving!!!
  6. by   SarahLeeRN
    Quote from HannahMarine30
    Thank you so much for your reply. I'm really both anxious (I know, anxiety won't add one minute to my life). At the end of the day if I can glorify Him in my work that's all that really matters.
    What a great topic...
    I have always been extremely thankful as I navigate the nursing profession...with the anxieties that I can have about staffing and patient care and doing the right thing and the complexities and the complicated patient situations and the often unanswered and depressing situations...thankful that I know Someone who cares more about those I care for then I do. That I know Someone I can pray to for help and roll off my worries onto every step I take from the time I leave my car to the time I get report and start my shift. And Someone I can talk to during my shift. Leave it all with Him to work out, that has worked for me!
  7. by   atriRN
    Hi HannahMarine30,

    I can relate to the social "awkwardness" that you speak of, however that which I've found awkward to me, is what God has used over and over to set me apart and draw other people to Himself. I started nursing over 10 years ago with the thought I would work with postpartum women and their healthy babies, after having such a great postpartum rotation in nursing school. Little did I know, God had bigger plans for me. In the last semester, while finishing my undergrad, I looked for an externship to bridge my transition into nursing. Of course, there were no postpartum positions, but there was a (single) NICU position. Before graduating, I did not see myself as an intensive care nurse-just the thought alone intimidated me and then the thought of sick newborns scared me even more. Despite this intimidation and fear, God knew best and He knew what would truly challenge me, intrigue me, bring me growth, and ultimately bring me closer to Him. So I surrendered in the moment of decision and asked of God, " if this is Your will, let it be done" and- it was. I would have never chosen this path for myself, but I'm thankful that God opened the door and guided me through. It hasn't always been easy, but the more I work remembering the example of Jesus , I'm able to accomplish more. I have been able to truly see what it means to "lose yourself in the service of others" and to cast ALL your cares upon the Lord. He always takes what little I have to bring and makes it more than enough to accomplish what needs to be done, the key is to not try to go it alone. I wish you best!
  8. by   quiltynurse56
    I was in my 50's when I went to nursing school. Imagine that age difference! It was frustrating during school, but in the end it was good for me as I work LTC. It prepared me for the issues and attitudes of the teens and 20's who are CNA's.

    I always wanted to be a nurse, but life kept getting in the way of it. Then I finally had nothing stopping me so went for it. I am also a Christian. Prayer and support of others, help one along their way in life. Because it is who I am, I feel it can affect how I treat others. Since I work in LTC, my patients are at or nearing the end of their lives and discussions of this type can become the normal.

    Prayer and studying the Bible helps me a lot.
  9. by   kakamegamama
    Quote from atriRN
    Hi HannahMarine30,

    I can relate to the social "awkwardness" that you speak of, however that which I've found awkward to me, is what God has used over and over to set me apart and draw other people to Himself. I started nursing over 10 years ago with the thought I would work with postpartum women and their healthy babies, after having such a great postpartum rotation in nursing school. Little did I know, God had bigger plans for me. In the last semester, while finishing my undergrad, I looked for an externship to bridge my transition into nursing. Of course, there were no postpartum positions, but there was a (single) NICU position. Before graduating, I did not see myself as an intensive care nurse-just the thought alone intimidated me and then the thought of sick newborns scared me even more. Despite this intimidation and fear, God knew best and He knew what would truly challenge me, intrigue me, bring me growth, and ultimately bring me closer to Him. So I surrendered in the moment of decision and asked of God, " if this is Your will, let it be done" and- it was. I would have never chosen this path for myself, but I'm thankful that God opened the door and guided me through. It hasn't always been easy, but the more I work remembering the example of Jesus , I'm able to accomplish more. I have been able to truly see what it means to "lose yourself in the service of others" and to cast ALL your cares upon the Lord. He always takes what little I have to bring and makes it more than enough to accomplish what needs to be done, the key is to not try to go it alone. I wish you best!������

    What an encouraging story of how God has led you. I think that sometimes He gets really creative, and uses the most unlikely/feared think in our lives to grow us and for ultimately, His glory. I never thought I'd leave the comfort of my home in the States, only to find myself thrust out of my comfort zone by the death of my first husband into a world beyond anything and any place I ever imagined. Through it all, He has been faithful, consistently. I was just reflecting this morning as I approach the 15th anniversary of my husband's death upon how He knew I needed to be somewhere other than where I thought I needed to be and how He has given me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination. ANyway-=-===I digress----losing ourselves in the service of others brings a great satisfaction. Blessings to you in your career as you care for those special babies and families.
  10. by   Kooky Korky
    Congrats on your achievements, OP.

    One important piece of advice is to never try to get patients or their families to become Christians. If they approach you with spiritual concerns, I guess it's OK to share your beliefs and tell what you do when faced with life's happenings. Otherwise, keep it to yourself if you want to avoid complaints, which could come even from other Christians.

    Best wishes in your new work and in your spiritual walk with God.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Here is the beginning of a good thread I thought you might like.

    Want happiness…apply the 10 second rule...on and off the nursing floor
  12. by   stevemac
    I didn't think y'all become "former" Marines...? (I was a sailor, so you'll understand sibling rivalry is required!)

    Some years ago the pastor of the church I was part of had what I think is the most excellent answer to the age-old question of Christians: "What does God want me to do with my life?!" Not word for word your question, but I think the direction is similar. Shane's answer: "Love God, and do what you want."

    Which dovetails nicely with what Paul wrote in Colossians 3, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it as working for the Lord and not men." which he must have stolen from Solomon's statement in Ecclesiastes.

    My resume looks like a sampler platter rather than a main course also. And I was 42 when I entered nursing school. I'm able to draw from a wide experience to help build rapport with a huge range of patient types, and their families. I owned a successful construction company, and am able to relate to guys in the trades, the "little guy" just starting his business, and the professional business person. And I've been a complete and utter failure, and can kneel on the floor and meet the guy crouched in the corner because he feels unworthy to be on the hospital bed.

    It is not "despite being a Christian," but because of my relationship with the King, that I meet the HIV+, gay, homeless guy, the depressed and ragged Marine sniper who has abandoned his high ideals, and the in-fighting homosexual couple just the same as I meet the self-important guy from my church: "Hi, my name's Steve. What's your name?"

    Welcome to the world of nursing--where we care for our patients but too often eat our young. Now that you're here, work hard at being a good one. When you finally earn that chance to teach, remember to include the lessons that never get published in a text book.

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