Nurses Christian Fellowship meets to pray for nurses

| January 26, 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE – In the mid-1930s, three nurses met to pray for their patients and their peers at a Children’s Hospital in Chicago. From that simple act, the Nurses Christian Fellowship was formed with a purpose to encourage nurses to give spiritual care to their patients and to pray for the nursing profession.

In the early 2000s, a member of the national organization encouraged local nurses to form a chapter of the Nurses Christian Fellowship in the county. By word of mouth, the organization grew and now meets monthly at the West Lafayette United Methodist Church.

“One of our missions is to bring Christ to nursing,” said Marian Murphy, a member of the group. “One thing we do is pray for nurses and pray for each other. We encourage other nurses to give spiritual care and discuss how to teach spiritual care to young nurses and give spiritual care especially to nurses who are not in a faith-based hospital.”

The group of approximately 10 women meet to not only pray for each other and the nursing profession, but to talk about the challenges and rewards of nursing.

“Our goal is to have a fellowship to share things and integrate Christianity into nursing,” said Amy Kubala, a member of the group. “It’s helpful to communicate with one another and to encourage one another.”

The group also enjoys talking about nursing to their fellow peers in a way that family and friends who are not a part of the profession don’t understand.

“With most of us, our families have no idea how difficult nursing really is, so it’s nice to get together to talk,” said Tami Shotwell, a member of the group.

During each meeting, one member of the group gives a brief presentation taken from the Journal of Christian Nursing, the national publication associated with Nurses Christian Fellowship. After the presentation, the group prays for friends and family who need physical or spiritual healing, and rejoice in those who are celebrating a healing or a life-event.

“Being Christians, we care about people and want to make them better in whatever way we can,” said Shotwell. “It’s a very rewarding job and I loved every bit of it. Seeing someone smile and knowing you helped them make it through a difficult time, that’s what you’re there for.”

Amy Bower, a member of the group, remembers praying for a woman who was going home from the nursing home on a trial bases.

“I could tell she was scared to death because if the trial home trip didn’t work out, she would have to return to the nursing home,” she said. “I spent extra time with her and prayed with her.”

One of the hardest things a nurse can witness is the death of a patient, but in some cases, it can be a very peaceful experience.

“I had a 98-year-old man who knew he was going to die,” said Murphy. “His family was at his bedside and we all held hands around his bed and prayed for him and he died not long after that. It was so peaceful because this man was a Christian and he knew he was going home.”

Margaret Smart, a member of the group, remembers being asked to pray with a patient.

“The patient asked me to pray with her and the doctor was in the room,” she said. “I kind of looked over at him but he joined in with us. We all held hands and prayed together. It was wonderful.”

Even if a nurse can’t pray with a patient, they can still be there in their time of need to offer comfort.

“We’ve all been there,” said Kubala. “We’ve all reached out to hold someone’s hand when they’ve been frightened.”

Praying doesn’t have to happen only at the patient’s bedside. Because of the demanding nursing career, a lot of praying is done after the nurse is done for the day.

“I know I did a lot of silent praying, especially after I got home,” said Waunita Stoecker, a member of the group.

For most nurses, choosing to go into the profession is not necessarily a choice, but a calling they feel, sometimes early in life.

“For a lot of us, it was a calling,” said Shirley Stewart, a member of the group. “I knew in second grade I didn’t want to be anything else other than a nurse.”

The Nurses Christian Fellowship is open to any RN, LPN, or allied health professional. They meet the fourth Monday of the month at 6:15 p.m. at West Lafayette United Methodist Church.

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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