1. Hobus, Mary E.

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I loved nursing practice from the beginning. During my first years in nursing school, I realized I wanted to be a nursing professor. I sensed a calling from God and had a burning desire to learn, complete labs and clinical practice, and write care plans. I was energetic, inspired, and impassioned about becoming an excellent nurse. The connection with others was a divine gift, and it felt like an honor to work with God's children to meet their physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. I prayed daily for God to help me integrate my studies and skills into practice so I would be conscientious, respectful, compassionate, and loving with each patient.

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Apart from my personal drive, one of my professors was instrumental in inspiring me to excel as an educator. Her desire and passion to teach was evident in her kind-hearted, intelligent, energetic, and thoughtful approach to education. Before the term 24/7 was common, she lived it; her office door was always open to students seeking guidance. This instructor would pause from working on her own PhD studies, preparing for classes, or grading papers to visit with and mentor students. She was present and attentive during conversations and spoke with gentleness, respect, and sensitivity. Professor Claire* was an inspiration during those early years of my nursing career. Her example reinforced my calling.


I continued to read the Bible and hold onto certain passages for strength, courage, and discernment, as I learned the art and science of nursing. For me, nursing education has been a sacred calling from God. Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) gave hope to continue forward during difficult times:


We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.


Early in my teaching career, I was too concerned about doing everything perfectly, which for me meant 100%. Not only did I expect perfection of myself, but I expected this level of performance from students and colleagues. I soon learned this expectation was unrealistic. As nurses, our care must be of high quality, but perfection is unreasonable. Experience has proven that circumstances may occur in which everything may not be perfect, but in the end, with a calmer perspective and a positive attitude, patient safety is better maintained.


A deeper sense of acquired knowledge and clinical experience has enabled me to be present for students, listen, engage in academic discourse, and demonstrate what my professors taught me. Students want to learn, be involved, and perform excellent work, as they learn the art of being a nurse, making critical decisions, and maintaining professionalism. Many students also desire to understand how to provide spiritual support to patients. Here is where joy, inspiration, excitement, challenge, and zeal enter nursing education. I have been heartened and blessed to mentor students, particularly in spiritual care.


Over the years, I have used favorite Bible passages as a guide in my role as a nurse educator. Colossians 3:12-15 (ESV) states,


Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.


The future of nursing depends on the growth that nurse educators attain and inspire others to attain. We should inspire others toward academic and spiritual growth. Our calling to provide Christ-centered instruction to students and care for patients deserves our highest attention. As we demonstrate our intelligence, creativity, energy, gentleness, respectfulness, fairness, and resilience, we are offering a pathway that can inspire others to share God's love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion.