Theology of Nursing…Or Why Do I Do What I Do?

If you don’t know me, I am a Registered Nurse.  I work on a cardiac unit that functions as both an intensive care type unit and regular medical floor.  Because it is a cardiac unit, I work with alot of older, nursing home type patients.  So 60 years old is considered young to us.

Anyway, I’ve thought about writing a sort of theology of health care.  Or how do I work in this environment as a Christian.  One scripture that comes to mind is the one about man being created in God’s image in Genesis.  I also think about how Jesus met with lepers and other social outcasts of his time.

Man, to be honest, I sometimes look at my patients and thumb my nose at some of them.  Let me be specific, I have a patient who is in his mid to late 60’s.  He admits to doing drugs, drinks, and smokes.  Now, his heart and his lungs are in bad shape.   This guy, if given the option, would continue to drink, smoke and do drugs.  but he’s in bad shape.   I’ve also seen patients who weigh about 700 lbs.  In both of these cases, I look at them and think “What’s the matter with you?!”

But then, the reality of the Gospel sets in.  I was dead in my transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2).  And I still, as Charles Wesley wrote, withstand His grace and provoke Him to His face.  But, again, the Good News brings me back to reality!

There for me the Saviour stands….Shows His wounds and spreads His hands….God is love I know, I feel…Jesus weeps but loves me still (From Depth of Mercy)

I am the leper who Christ reached out to.  And I am the rebellious sinner who continues to cling to these worthless idols in my life.

A resident physician asked me if I “love what I do.”  My initial response was simply “No.”  I get caught up in the busyness of my job and the ongoing frustrations that go along with working in health care.  But, upon further reflection, I feel God has called me to be His hands and feet in this messed up health care system.  I was literally dead in my transgressions.  Many of these older patients are bedbound and are quite bored laying in a hospital bed all of the time.  I sometimes feel sorry for them and think they have nothing to look forward to.  They look like they have little hope.  But the light shines in the darkness (John 1:5).  Present tense.  2 Corinthians 1 mentions how God comforts us in our affliction so that we may comfort others in their affliction with the comfort we have in God.  Just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also is the comfort we have in Christ.

I pray, before I go to work, that I would be His light and comfort to these patients.  And also to my coworkers.  In the midst of work stress or coming home after a rough day at work, the Gospel restores my sanity.  “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”


~ by cvillegas on June 25, 2007.

2 Responses to “Theology of Nursing…Or Why Do I Do What I Do?”

  1. Saw you linked to my blog and now I discovered that you are a cardiac nurse. my wife was acradiac nurse and worked on a cardiac step down unit when we married. and I am going to need heart valve replacement in a couple years – kind of cool hwo the Lord gve me a wife who spent years taken care of cardiac patients. Anyway, thought that might interest you – grace and peace, Kevin

  2. Kevin, thanks so much for replying. Yeah, that’s great that your wife worked on a cardiac unit. That expertise, I’m sure, will definitely help when you get that surgery. She’ll be able to help navigate through learning about all of those medications and procedures.

    And thanks so much for your work with the Indelible Grace CDs. And thanks also for the resources at the website and at the RUF site. I hope I haven’t plagiarized too much of your material:)

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