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Department: Called to Teach

Influencing the Future

Mack, Rachel

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Journal of Christian Nursing: April/June 2020 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 124
doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000707
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Teaching in the field of nursing is an exceptionally challenging career but also rewarding. Teachers start each day knowing that they can inspire, encourage, and motivate not only students but also other faculty with whom they daily work. Educators may sometimes wonder if they have been called to teach. This is an important question to ponder.

According to Colossians 3:16, teaching is a normal component in the life of a follower of Jesus. A teacher is a person who has received a gift from God to enlighten the body of believers as well as groups of students or faculty. Teachers are called and enabled by God to teach in a specialty or area of interest. A teacher is an instructor, a coach, a tutor, a trainer, a leader, a mentor—someone who influences others for good and for God (2 Corinthians 4:15). Although teaching is a spiritual gift as described in Romans 12:7, it is to be used particularly in the Church for the building up of believers. However, those who choose to give through teaching outside of the church as their vocation can be encouraged by Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) that says, “The generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Most nursing faculty have a desire to work with and teach nursing students. The majority of educators find it rewarding to help nurture the future of the profession in hopes of improving healthcare around the globe. Faculty can positively influence nursing students, which in turn affects the patients for whom students provide care. Nursing, like teaching, is a calling. The desire to serve others may well have led many a nurse to care for the sick and the underserved. The calling as a teacher to pass on this knowledge and passion to others is, sometimes, even stronger than the calling to be a nurse.

Nursing education is a highly satisfying profession that offers nurses the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with others. Most faculty members have an aspiration to teach, stemming from a desire to convey meaningful knowledge to students; this can be extraordinarily gratifying. At times, faculty reflect to students their enthusiasm when they are speaking about curriculum content that impassions them; this passion can be contagious. Most faculty find the art of teaching, or pedagogy, of interest and a driving force behind their work.

Some nursing educators are drawn to teaching because of a positive experience or an influential instructor in their own learning journey. These experiences leave an imprint on one's memory that can guide one along a specific life path. Others enter teaching because of family influences or because a family holds this career in high regard.

Teachers and nurses, though humble in their profession, are in a respected position in society. Students place great trust in faculty by consigning the learning, growing, and shaping of their future careers to them. Educators touch many students' lives throughout their careers as nursing faculty and often are unaware of the positive imprint they leave on students.

God helps nursing instructors to prepare to teach long before they know they will be entering the field of teaching. According to Hebrews 5:12, one should learn the basics of discipleship first. A desire for continued learning is important and will guide one's journey. Often God connects us with nursing mentors through mutual commonality, conferences, and positive encounters.

Choosing to teach is an honorable undertaking. The most passionate and effective teachers may not choose teaching; rather, teaching chooses them. Much like many religious leaders have felt called to become preachers, leaders, and ministers, many teachers are called by God to teach. This calling is often identified early in childhood and continues to grow throughout one's life. However, this does not mean that nurses new to the teaching profession cannot be taught to teach in higher education.

My job, my goal, is to teach, motivate, and inspire students and faculty with God's guidance. I must strive to be the person whom students and faculty look up to for knowledge and guidance. My wish is to end each working day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I made a positive impact on at least one person whom I've encountered that day.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship