February 8, 2011

Nurse, Nurse!

Today I am a bit nervous. A few weeks ago I agreed to talk with a group of nursing students working on a class project about Christianity and Nursing. It sounded like such a good idea when I agreed, but now I am nervous.

On a very superficial level I am not sure what to wear. Do I go wearing my hoody, t-shirt and vans aka my youth group uniform? Or should I run out an buy a clerical shirt and collar? Do I feed into their stereotypes about clergy, or do I show up in such a way that I throw them off. I get the feeling I ought to do neither.

But like I said that is wholly superficial and the least of my concerns. Besides for the most part I think I have it figured out.

It is everything else that worries me. For most of this group on this afternoon I will become the voice of Christians everywhere, hardly an easy task. And what further complicates things is that Christians hardly speak with a united voice on most if not all medical concerns. Everything from suicide, to abortion, euthanasia to healing's we present a mixed voice. Sometimes I find it challenging to navigate the waters of the various Christian voices, yet today I am asked to be a guide.

Hopefully The Group Today Will Be As Much Of A Joy

Now I am nervous about navigating the different Christian voices, trying to present them as best as I can whether I agree with them or not. But I think I can do it. History and theology have always been interests of mine, and I retain information pretty well.

However my main concern is for the nurse there is are no easy answers, no faceless people, no arm length discussions. Those are reserved for theologians and ethicists, picketers and lobbyists. Nurses have to be in the middle of things, in the thick of it so to speak. They will be there likely before family and clergy arrive. They are on the front lines.

It is easy to stand outside an abortion clinic to join hands and pray, or to chant awful things like 'baby killer'. But it will be these students, who will one day be on the inside looking out. They will be the ones that need to know what to do, and what guidance to give on countless medical/ethical/faith concerns. When you are face to face with people like that what does one say? There is so much, and nothing seems quite right.

I have been given the opportunity to speak to a group of students and let them know the Christian perspective on any number of topics. I also get to show them where their position as a nurse will collide with Christian thought and practice. And I am nervous. I hope I don't blow it! God willing I won't.

I'll let you know how it turns out.