Do Patients See Jesus When They See You?
Maureen J. Juarez, Pamela K. Friesen, and Bernita E. Missal are affiliated with the Department of Nursing at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Do Patients See Jesus When They See You?
by Christeena E. Koshy, BSN, RN, graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ,” (Ephesians 5:1–2, NLT).
“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did,” (1 John 2:6, NLT).
During my clinical rotations in nursing school, several patients told me how pleased they were with the care they received from me. One patient said she wished she could always have me as her nurse, saying how different I was. She felt the care she received was special.
What accounts for this difference? I think it is in the way I'm able to view patients. I try to see patients the way I think God sees them. I think about caring for people as though I was caring for God.
On one occasion, my patient was on bed rest and had continuous bowel movements. She needed assistance with the bedpan and cleansing. She felt as if she was a burden each time she called for help and continually apologized. I finally told her she did not need to apologize. I indicated it wasn't a burden for me to care for her and certainly this was not her fault. Because I had assessed her coping mechanisms earlier and learned of her Christian faith, I felt the door was open to discuss her care from a spiritual perspective. So I told her if Jesus was her nurse, he would be smiling while helping her because of his great love for us. I told her I found joy in helping her because when I assisted her, I did so for God (Colossians 3:23). She told me she felt much better.
As one who believes in Christ, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; Christ lives within (1 Corinthians 6:19). Wherever you are, the presence of Jesus is there. Jesus has called us to be light in this dark world (Matthew 5:14). You are to stand out if you are a Christian nurse. Your patients need to feel the presence of Jesus with them. The care we give should be the very care Jesus would give. How is that possible? By including God in everyday life, even while at work. We must remember that no matter what, we are not alone. Jesus promised he will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). Why not include God in the everyday care you provide? Build a good relationship with God through time in his Word, prayer, and worship. As we spend time with Jesus, we become more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
A Compassionate Nurse
Patricia Webb is one nurse integrating faith and practice. Webb, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Child Advocacy Center in Springfield, MO, was recently honored as nurse of the year in Southwest Missouri. She understands the needs of children who are physically or sexually abused, as she grew up in an environment of abuse. At age 23, her world shifted when she came to realize the love God had for her.
Webb also understands the two common emotions children experience when they arrive at the Center—fear and shame. She tries to make the children feel like they are in charge during her time with them. “I take time to talk to the children and connect to them. I make positive statements. 'Oh, you have beautiful eyes.' Or, 'You're really smart.'”
Sometimes the children don't want to leave (Okeson, 2012).
The story is told of a group of salesmen, who in a rush to catch their flight knocked over a cart with a display of apples in an airport. The group continued on without looking back at the damage they had done.
One of the men, however, feeling sorry for the girl with the apple stand stopped to help her. As he picked up the apples, he realized the girl who was softly crying was totally blind. He organized the display, setting aside the apples that had been bruised. Then he gave the girl 40 dollars for the damage that had been done, telling her he hoped her day had not been spoiled by this incident.
The girl responded “Mister, are you Jesus?”
Has anyone ever asked you that question? Knowing God means living out his Words on a daily basis. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”