1. Hann, Bonnie

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Growing Nursing Students

When Amy* started nursing school, she felt lost. She had grown up Christian, but as a student was struggling to find anyone who shared her faith. When she saw a display for Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) at an event, she was excited to attend a meeting. There she joined the student group in examining Scripture, talking about nursing school, and praying. Discussing Scripture through the lens of nursing was eye opening. Amy was eager to apply what she learned to the care of her patients in clinical rotations.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

As the semester went on, Amy found that other students also wrestled with questions about suffering and how to have conversations with patients whose needs went beyond physical issues. The NCF group explored these tough issues, so she invited classmates to join her.


Although Amy learned about physical and mental health needs in class, she rarely heard spiritual needs mentioned. Understanding that care of the whole patient-body, mind, and spirit-is essential, she started to apply what she was gleaning from NCF meetings to the content she learned in class, incorporating whole person care into her clinical care plans. Amy considered the patient's diagnosis and treatment recommendations in light of whole person care concepts; when debriefing with her clinical group and instructor, she evaluated what she learned.


This is similar to the Discipleship Cycle (Figure 1) used in NCF Bible studies. Students focus on "hearing the Word" through Bible study. In "responding actively," Amy used application ideas from Bible study in patient care. Finally, when her NCF group met again, students "debrief and interpret" their experiences to fully learn from the process before starting over again. This method solidified the new concepts Amy was learning about spiritual care, laying a foundation for her future nursing practice.

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 1. Discipleship Cycle @InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

NCF ministry, such as Amy experienced, is active in 130 nursing schools in the United States. Groups are student-led and faculty advisor-guided, using resources and coaching from national NCF staff. A key resource is Bible study guides written from a healthcare perspective. The studies incorporate Scripture, questions, and application that can easily be led with minimal preparation time. Studies are designed to take 30 minutes, so busy students can still find time to meet weekly. Group members pray for each other through the challenging times of nursing school. As Amy found, an NCF group is a great place for conversation with students who are seeking answers to needs that only God can meet.


NCF desires that all nursing students:


* Be encouraged to grow their faith in the context of nursing school.


* Be equipped to integrate their faith with nursing through Bible study and spiritual care resources.


* Be empowered to share their faith with other nursing students.



Maryssa*, a student leader who started an NCF group last year, commented,


There were so many people excited about the new NCF chapter on our campus; the support we received and connections we made have been astounding. If you're thinking of starting a chapter: Do it! God put it on your heart; see where he takes you!


Is God calling you, as a nursing student or faculty member, to start NCF ministry on campus? If so, we'd love to help you!


New Bible Studies

NCF recently released a set of six Bible studies, Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Faithfully, based on Micah 6:8. "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (NIV). Find the studies at


Start NCF?

Want to start NCF in your nursing school?


* Spend time praying.


* Check out the Start NCF Guide at


* Contact NCF at to reach a staff member who can help you brainstorm about how to move forward on your unique campus.