The Christian Vocation of Nursing

Catharine Soule BSN, RN, WELSNA secretary

Think back to when you first thought about being a nurse. What drew you to the profession? Was it the idea of helping others? Maybe you loved working with kids or the elderly, or maybe you were fascinated with biology and medicine. Maybe you or someone in your family was blessed through the work of a nurse and you just knew it was something you wanted to pursue. But even with the fun and inviting aspects of our career, we have all encountered the not-so-glamorous side of nursing – the mess of cleaning up a trauma bay, performing personal cares on a patient for the fifth time in one hour, the violence and disrespect by a patient under the influence, a hyper-critical family member, the endless prescription refills to file, the “code blue” that failed again. Discouraged, many of us have probably questioned ourselves, “Why did we bother becoming a nurse? Why didn’t I see this side of the profession? Was all the studying worth it?

At all times, and maybe especially during the discouraging times, we can remember that nursing is a wonderful vocation for a Christian. A Christian vocation is a way for God to use us to bless others in this world. Christian Author Harold Seinkbell describes the idea of a vocation as us being “God’s secret agents” in this world, God using us as a “mask,” as a way and through whom he operates in this world. God uses us, ordinary people, to provide for the needs and desires of his whole creation.

God makes it clear to us in scripture that he cares for the health and well-being of his children. We see miracles in both the Old and New Testament proving this. Jesus himself healed many during his ministry, including those who were sick, blind, injured, paralyzed, and even dead.

Now, God works directly through us to care for the sick and to comfort the lonely. If you think about it, he is our ultimate boss. When we are tempted to think we are just working for the paycheck or just getting by to please our manager, we can remember that our work is all to his glory. We read in Matthew 25: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was lacking clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or lacking clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ The King will answer them, ‘Amen I tell you: Just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40 EHV)

Just think of this portion, “I was sick, and you took care of me.” How powerful! When we care for the sick, our Lord sees it as us caring for him! Our work, even our most unglamorous work, is done for our God! What an amazing privilege! Our amazing God, who was born as a human, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, and rose again for us and our salvation, views our work as a nurse, as caring for him. In thanksgiving for our salvation already won by his blood, we are compelled to love and care for our brothers and sisters.

When you are tired and feel that you have just “had enough” as a nurse, remember to look to your “ultimate boss,” our loving Father who will give you the strength to do his work. Our work is pleasing to him because he is using us to care for and show his love and compassion to his children.