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CREATED AND CALLED:
A Journey to and through Nursing
By Chelsia Harris
165 pp., Green Forest, AR: New Leaf, 2015, $12.99, paperback.
REVIEW: In Created and Called, Harris shares a very personal journey of how God led her into nursing and has continued to lead her nursing practice. Through her story and asking the reader to “imagine you are a nurse in the emergency department...,” “imagine you are a patient dying of cancer...,” Harris causes the reader to explore his or her gifts, God's calling on his/her life, and see Jesus' supreme example of service and love. Harris poignantly relays the deep purpose of a nurse through vibrant words and lively stories. She encourages nurses to “look beyond the physical ‘visual’ blood...to the eternal ‘unseen’ flow of blood” (p. 25), to serve our patients with the love Jesus demonstrated when he shed his blood on the Cross. She invites us to offer compassionate, excellent, and sacrificial nursing through stories of both uncompassionate and compassionate caring. Harris continually points nurses to Jesus, as the compassionate caring one who humbly gave his all for us. She addresses professional issues such as honesty and integrity, the critical need for communication and collaboration of the healthcare team, the importance of being organized in our delivery of care, and the need to use the nursing process. Harris discusses nursing salaries and thanks God that nurses can “earn a comfortable, secure living” (p. 103), while emphasizing that nursing is much more than a salary. It is patient and family encounters that are “heavenly treasures” (p. 103), and the knowledge we serve God. Through a patient story told by a family member, Harris vividly relays the importance of whole person “triune care” (p. 123), of body, mind, and spirit.
Harris writes in a folksy, easy style that draws you in. Her stories keep you on the edge of your seat. A beautiful My Prayer for You at the end of each chapter encourages and inspires. This is a great book for nurses, nursing students, and those interested in pursuing nursing. Harris explains the various degree options available to nurses and what certified nursing assistants, LPNs, RNs, and various advanced practice nurses mean to the healthcare team. She introduces nursing as an endless opportunity for adventurous jobs throughout one's career.
Harris summarizes on the back cover, “It is my prayer that as you read this book, you will search your heart, cultivate a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and close the book knowing whether God is calling you to this incredible, humbling profession called nursing. Never forget we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
If you are a nurse needing revitalization of your passion for nursing, or if you are wondering if God may be calling you into nursing, this is the perfect book for you.—KSS
HEALTH HEALING AND SHALOM
Frontiers and Challenges for Christian Health Missions
Bryant L. Myers, Erin Default-Hunter, and Isaac B. Voss, editors
326 pp., Pasadena, CA: William Carey, 2015, $19.99, paperback.
REVIEW: If you want to understand how health is an intricate part of the mission of Christ's church, this book is an outstanding resource. If you want to be a part of the church's mission to bring the Good News of the gospel through healthcare, this book shows you the way. Health Healing and Shalom not only addresses what we think of as healthcare missions (i.e., missionary efforts to offer healthcare), but God's mission to make us whole persons in body, mind, and spirit, who live in right relationships with God, others, and creation (i.e., shalom).
The contributors offer a solid theological, biblical understanding of health and how the church is meant to contribute to health, locally and globally. Chapters address challenges the Christian healthcare missions community must face, such as the “need for continuing commitment to extending health systems, services, and practices to the poor, wherever they are”; “to find a way to reengage WHO again”; “to pay attention to newly emerging frontiers in global health”; and “to wonder what [problems, populations] we might be overlooking in our rapidly changing world” (pp. xxiv, xxv). The authors warn us of taking “a reductionist, Western biomedical model of disconnected body, mind, soul, and social relationships,” and encourage us to move toward a biblical view. “Western medicine cures diseases; Jesus healed sick people” (p. xxvi).
The book is divided into three sections: New Frontiers in Theology and Healthcare Missions; New Frontiers in Healthcare Missions Practice; and New Approaches in Healthcare Missions. I was drawn to an intriguing chapter, “The Slow-Motion Disaster in Healthcare Missions: Will the Churches Respond?” by Arnold Gorske and Bryant Myers. The disaster they speak of is twofold: “that the church seems to have forgotten the healing part of its vocation, except for the healing of lost souls,” and “an emerging slow-motion health disaster that began in the West and is now spreading to the newly emerging economies in the Global South [obesity, smoking, lifestyle choice]” (p. 83). They comment, “An emphasis on prevention is critically needed and is fairly simple to do. The question is whether or not churches will take up once again their responsibility for seeking the shalom of their congregations and communities” (p. 88). Other chapters focus on specific health concerns, such as care for the urban poor, trauma, HIV/AIDS, and end of life, as well as delivery of care through health workers, the lay health movement, and community health evangelism through the local church.
Former Nurses Christian Fellowship missions director, Grace Tazelaar, and Carolyn Newfoh contributed a chapter titled, “Empowering Toward Shalom: The Lay Health Movement.” Grace taught me everything I know about healthcare missions, opening my thinking to a much more wholistic and global perspective. She and Carolyn ask, “In looking toward the future, we ask: What if every local church saw health as integral to the good news?” (p. 246). For me, that summarizes the intent of this book, as well as challenges healthcare providers to live out our faith in local congregations.—KSS
Going Deeper helps you dig deeper into JCN content, offering ideas for personal or group study with others—great for Nurses Christian Fellowship groups!
- Supporting Parents When Their Child Has a Life-Limiting Illness: Read Crisp, pp. 14-21.
- Faith, hope, and spirituality are noted as important tools in assisting families caring for a dying child. List a few ways these tools are supported in the article.
- What does the B-E-L-I-E-F mnemonic represent?
- List several misconceptions regarding how parents and dying children view death/dying?
- What seems to be the purpose of near-death experiences and death-related sensory experiences (DRSEs)?
- The author provided tips for what is and is not helpful communication when a child is dying. Discuss those concepts.
- Consider the following Scripture: Revelation 21:1-4. How might this be comforting to you or your patients when facing the death of a child?
- India's Distorted Sex Ratio: Dire Consequences for Girls: Read Roberts and Montgomery, pp. E7-E15, ONLINE ONLY.
- What does research reveal regarding female gender discrimination in Asian countries?
- To what degree were you aware of the pervasive nature of this cultural discrimination?
- Wrestle with the unsettling nature of this information. What thoughts come to mind? As a nurse? As one who values all lives?
- What do the authors list as interventions for cultural change?
- Read and discuss Genesis 1:27, 5:2, and Galatians 3:28 in light of this article.
- Paths of Learning Unpredicted: Read Judge, p. 61 and Kroning, p. 60.
- Our career trajectory isn't necessary a straight line. Based on the path of your nursing career, share a few tips other may find helpful. What has surprised you the most?
- Read Joshua 1:9. Reflect on how you are experiencing God's presence in your nursing career.
- Judge writes, “Little did I know God was preparing me for a very different life.” To what degree do you relate? Share your story.