The art of nursing is a beautiful concept. It truly is a calling that is placed on the hearts of those who commit their lives to caring for patients and their families. I am newer to this treasured field as a recent graduate from a small nursing school in southern Illinois.
However, even with this short time frame of nursing experience, I can say that this type of work has taught me the value of trust and the importance of selflessness. As a student, I struggled with finding my purpose and how to accomplish my end goal. There seems to be an unnecessary pressure on my generation to have life figured out within a 5-year plan. Stress begins to build, and the doubt starts to stack within your entire being. It becomes quite impossible to fathom how you will reach your potential, given you don't even know what you desire to achieve.
What I have personally learned during my time in school as a nursing student is that this is exactly where you need to be. You need to be at your lowest. You need to be where you feel you are weakest to truly feel the strength that only comes from Jesus Christ. Evidence in Scripture aligns with this simple truth: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, ESV). God's plan for your and my lives is already known by him, and it is up to you and me to surrender.
I have found peace in this very truth while I was in school and now as a new nurse. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). Life is not perfect and comes with many trials as we face new experiences. However, this portion of Scripture provides reassurance that even the moments of pain and confusion have a miraculous purpose. God will use everything in our lives for good if we keep him at the center.
As a newer nurse, I have found myself in a similar headspace as when I was a student: weak and lacking direction, confused at times, and concerned for the future. I am currently working as an ICU nurse at the same hospital where I completed my capstone hours while in nursing school. The working world in comparison to the world of academics, I have found, has its differences. I face a variety of challenges within any given shift as a nurse.
The long hours and high patient acuity have affected my mental health as well as my spiritual health. Reflecting on my time in school and how I placed Christ at the center of my life then, I have already seen how this has positively impacted my work ethic and patient care. I benefit from what James, a leader in the New Testament church, wrote: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-3, ESV).
As healthcare workers, we face trials every day. No matter how much we plan for our shifts, our days will present difficulties and things that interrupt our routines. Beginning a shift with the right mindset and heart can be the difference that allows a patient to see the light of Jesus inside of us. God provides fulfillment in life that nothing else can. He fills his children with the energy and strength they need. The blessings that overflow when our hearts are fully committed to allowing God to work are endless.
Nursing is my purpose and I know that God has placed me here. Even in my weakness, I am made strong. And with this strength, I hope to be used in the lives of my patients.