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Department: NCFI Your Global Connection

A Fellowship of Encouragement

Sewagudde, Sylvia N.; Brenda, Kusiima

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Journal of Christian Nursing: April/June 2022 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 73
doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000936
  • Free

OFFICIALLY JOINED IN FELLOWSHIP

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When God put a desire in my heart to start a fellowship of Christian nurses and midwives, I envisioned bringing professional nurses and midwives together for fellowship, encouragement, and education at least once monthly.

I searched for the existence of such a fellowship for professional nurses in Uganda and I did not find it, but what I discovered online was an international body for nurses called Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI) which had been in existence since 1958. The things that were being done by this international fellowship helped to shape and guide us on what we would do as a fellowship here in Uganda.

From the time we discovered NCFI, we wanted to be a part of it—we believed in their vision and incorporated some of their objectives as our own.

We consulted with American missionary Connie Jarlsberg, who was serving in Uganda at that time, as she was familiar with NCFI. Connie advised us to start by growing a local fellowship with plans to join later.

We were officially welcomed during the virtual NCFI World Congress in July 2021 where we had 16 nurses and 9 students attend. After 5 years, we were official members of NCFI. Glory be to God.—Sylvia N. Sewagudde

A FELLOWSHIP OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Musawo is the word for nurse that people use in central Uganda. A medical facility will employ as many nurses as they can afford to facilitate, which does not necessarily correlate with need. Much evidence has shown that there are insufficient numbers of nurses in Uganda available to meet the demand. A nurse in Uganda works 8 to 12 hours a day, a minimum of 3 to 5 days a week, and is entitled to a work leave of 1 month a year.

One challenge to nurses is remuneration: The average pay ranges from 400,000 shillings ($150 USD) to 1 million ($350 USD) per month depending on qualification and workplace. This has forced many nurses to look for extra sources of income—taking up work from one or two other health facilities. This often leads to burnout.

I appreciate the role of the Nurses and Midwives Christian Fellowship Uganda. They have brought together Christian nurses and midwives for mentorship, Bible study, and continuing education. It has encouraged many of us and inspired us to be proud of our work and to serve with joy, even when we work under difficult situations.

As a Christian nurse, I depend daily on God to grant me joy, peace, strength, and wisdom as I serve.—Kusiima Brenda

BENEFITS OF NCFI CONNECTIONS

  • NCFI World Congress: The 2021 Congress offered much to learn during plenary sessions, workshops, and Bible exposition. Almost everyone had lost a dear one during COVID and nurses were working extra hours. Participation in the Congress offered needed encouragement and refreshment. We are grateful to NCFI for sponsoring us and giving us an opportunity to be part of such a wonderful gathering of Christian colleagues worldwide and across generations.
  • Training: NCFI offers training opportunities through the International Institute of Christian Nursing. (This professional development division of NCFI equips Christian nurses with the knowledge and skill needed to integrate Christian faith into nursing practice, education, leadership, and research. The institute offers courses, a free online journal, and a collection of resources.)
  • Resources: Shared resources from other national fellowships, such as online Bible studies, are specifically tailored to nurses.
  • Friendship: As a result of NCFI connections, friends from all over the world have encouraged us and prayed with us. We look forward to partnering with other fellowships, Christian nurses, and midwives to encourage and equip others to live out our faith in our professional practice. NCFI is a blessing; the Uganda delegation wishes to bless others as we have been blessed.
  • Outreach: NCFI has national fellowships in more than 30 countries all over the world that offer local and national fellowship, education, and support. The organization also offers associate memberships to individual students and nurses/midwives from countries where there is no Nurses Christian Fellowship yet.
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