1. Hinton, Sharon T.

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Thanks for sharing my educational journey over the past three years as I blended my nursing expertise with a greater understanding of theology. Attending seminary provided a challenging spiritual journey along with philosophies, opinions, and perspectives I had never considered. I now have a deeper biblical foundation, which affirms that nursing is a calling from God to servant ministry. Nurses follow the example of Jesus Christ to wholistically care for others. This calling is "personally wholistic." It is a blending of profession, faith, and lifestyle.

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Proverbs 3:13-18 speaks about wisdom and understanding. Value is not in the credentials attached to our names, but in the ability to share what we have learned. As faith community nurses (FCNs), we pursue degrees and credentials in an effort to better serve God's people. However, if the knowledge acquired in the pursuit of these degrees is not shared, it becomes a stumbling block that separates us from each other and from following Christ. I began my career in nursing as a diploma RN and my career in health ministry as an FCN in a small rural congregation. I now have advanced nursing and ministry degrees and have been a coordinator for a network of over 1,000 FCNs. Yet I am still the same person-a follower of Christ with a calling to serve FCNs. Degrees and credentials are tools, not pedestals.


As an FCN, you are the health ministry expert. You have wisdom and knowledge to share with your congregation and community. You must be accessible and approachable on multiple levels. Consider how you might present the same health topic to various groups. You have the gift of assessment and adaptability. Health information you might provide in a formal lecture can be presented as a skit, posted with links on the church website, rewritten at a sixth grade reading level with pictures and taped to a bathroom stall, or noted in the church bulletin.


Often it is basic health information that needs to be repeated in a variety of ways. Hand washing is an example. I have been teaching hand washing for years. Yet, when fall arrives I will begin another community-wide hand washing educational campaign. For some, I will stress statistics related to the public health issue of contamination from shaking hands and the need to wash before providing communion. For others, I may explain about germs and teach them to sing the chorus of a favorite hymn to know how long to wash. Cartoon hand washing pictures or links to appropriate websites might be teaching choices. It seems simplistic, but each year I discover those who need reminding along with those who need the basics.


Credentials are important; they represent knowledge, skill, and credibility. But the true blessing comes when you use your wisdom to improve the health and well-being of others.


Discussion Forum

Share your thoughts by email: STHRNR@yahoo.COM

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Jesus never completed an academic degree, wrote a book, or held impressive human credentials. He died a young man at 33. Yet 2,000 years later, he remains the principal leader of all people for all time. How did he do this? He loved, served, and gave his life up for others (Matthew 20:28).

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Resource Toolbox


* Bruce, B. (2000). . Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources.


* Jones, L. B. (2001). . New York, NY: Hyperion.


* Osborne, H. (2011). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.


* Palmer, P. J. (1983). . San Francisco, CA: Harper.