On being a nurse

Career & Life Direction welcomes Shirley Loewen from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as she reflects on nursing as a career and a calling.

Why did I choose a nursing career? Before becoming a nurse, I was in another career, but a longstanding desire to take nurses’ training remained. I believe that God was asking me to follow his calling; I did, and never looked back.

God gifts His children. If you are sensitive to the needs of others and you feel a strong desire to help them, then perhaps God has given you this passion for the purpose of reaching out in caring to those in need. Nursing is a career where you will have opportunity to express these gifts, where you will bless others in your service, and where you will find personal fulfillment and satisfaction.

Various nursing education programs are available. For anyone interested in nursing, it would be prudent to explore the various options and choose one that meets your career goals.

Nursing education provides opportunity for classroom learning as well as clinical experience, thereby allowing the student to gain knowledge and skill. For the Christian nurse, the Bible emphasizes the primary importance of adding love to the mix of knowledge and skill (1 Corinthians 13).

After completing the education program, employment opportunities exist in a variety of settings. Nurses often work in hospitals, care homes, or in the community. A nurse may also pursue a leadership and/or teaching role. With additional education, it is possible find employment as a nurse practitioner – an exciting and more recent opportunity. Opportunities for various types of nursing employment can be found throughout the world.

Continued learning is an expectation for anyone in nursing. With the rapid changes in health care, including changes in procedures, equipment, medications, and other advances in medicine, nurses find it necessary to remain abreast of these changes.

What is it like to be a nurse? Nursing is a demanding career. The hours are long, work is often physically and emotionally draining, and the responsibility is enormous when caring for a person whose well-being depends on your judgement and professional skills.

People who need medical attention are often vulnerable, and need to feel that we will be there to advocate for them, to walk alongside them when they are hurting, and to support them when they have lost hope. When we listen with empathy, we will show compassion.

Every person is made in the image of God and has intrinsic value as God’s creation. No person is just the “appendix” in the next room. Satisfaction in nursing comes when we serve each person as we would serve Christ. It is rewarding to see those in our care find healing and wholeness, to see them smile again, and an added bonus is their expression of gratitude for all we have done.

I have found that a good sense of humor helps to lighten the load. After a very stressful situation, nurses will often join their colleagues in a debriefing process. Relief comes with the sharing, and soon laughter is heard again. We learn to care for each other, and we learn how to release our emotions so that they do not overwhelm us.

You may find that retirement will come too soon. I have not regretted my decision to become a nurse. At times, I wish there would have been more years to serve in this capacity before the aging process caught up with me.

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