The Year of the Nurse Could Not Have Come at a Better Time

The Year of the Nurse Could Not Have Come at a Better Time

The year 2020 has been remarkable thus far, though most might not describe it that way. But as God’s children we must look at things from all angles, not just from our own view. There is good in everything. As a nurse, I have been at the beginning of life and the end of life, holding hands, holding families and caring when it seemed God was not there. But I always remind myself and others that God was always there, and he is always here. He walks among us; he lives in us. We are the ones that are short sighted, and we must open our eyes to see his works.

As the year began, people in the USA heard about a virus in China. To many that seemed far away. We said prayers for people on the other side of the world, but it did not affect what we did or how we did it. Our lives were untouched. But as nurses our perspective was different. Nurses watch, we prepare and we serve those that need the help. As nurses, we knew the virus was coming to us and that it would change our lives forever. I live in a family of nurses; I work with a family of nurses. We are constantly watching, waiting, preparing and helping. Looking back, how funny that the World Health Assembly designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, because what a year it has been.

Nurses are like the sea: above the water it is calm and blissful, but beneath are currents and life. We see the patient, the community and the world as a place to help with healing. We work as an extension of God’s hands.

As nurses recognized the threat of COVID-19, we prepared ourselves to help the ill and unprepared. Not having enough equipment to maintain safety is frightening. Yet nurses pushed on to help those that were ill. We washed our hands and wore the best masks we could find, knowing that we needed to be Christ’s hands. We needed to exemplify his love for each and every patient.

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).

As nurses we protect our family as much as we can, but we also know when we become nurses there is always a chance, even with good technique, that we can bring home some exotic germs. We try to prevent this, but studies have shown our families do have more colds and flu than others. This is a hazard of the job.

I have observed that many people do not see nurses for what we are or even know what we do. Ask anyone what a doctor does, and they say they diagnose and treat people—and this is true. Ask what a nurse does, and they say give baths and give pills. Also true—but there is so much more.

So, what does a nurse do? We see a patient, one of God’s children, in need. We analyze their symptoms, consider the worst and work to prevent that from happening. We work with a team to help the patient and return them to their previous state of physical ability. Often on our team is a physician who will diagnose and order diagnostic tests. But once that doctor leaves the room, it is the nurse that makes sure everything gets done. We coordinate the care by all team members. We use our abilities to watch for the beginning signs of a problem before it gets worse. We administer medications via many different routes—a skill in itself—but we also must know what that drug does, what negative reactions might occur, and we watch for those. After years of practice, some nurses train to become nurse practitioners, taking on the role of diagnosing and prescribing. Advanced practice nurses have risen to the challenge to provide primary and specialty care for a community in need. Nurse practitioners are filling a much-needed gap.

“And the Lord said, He is the One who goes before you, He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; Do not fear nor be dismayed” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV).

The nursing department at FPU is small. There are five of us, and as you can imagine, we have a big job. But we know God is at the helm, so there is no fear. I work with four incredible people, like-minded and with the gift of nursing. Together we are working to Grow—grow our programs, grow our presence in the Valley, grow our partnerships and grow our team. And grow we will, for God has placed the nutrients we need. We seek to be Innovative in creating an atmosphere of learning to help our students be the best they can be. As nurses we are always looking forward and being risk managers. Good nurses seem to have this gift naturally. Collectively we have Engaged our community, working next to our students as they volunteer to serve residents of the Valley, learning as they do. Free Saturday clinics have enlightened our students and we pray that fire to serve will remain lit after they move on from FPU. We Serve courageously the students that God has sent to us, trying to model love that imparts in them the desire to love other in return. We are working to Transform health care in the Central Valley to serve those that need serving, even those who cannot afford healthcare we will serve. Our team envisions FPU with its own healthcare clinic, serving those in need while training our students. We want our Central Valley to be not only beautiful but among the healthiest places to live. The vision is there. The team stands ready. We are excited to change health in the Valley and transform our nursing department into the best it can be. As a department we have made the commitment, and we feel the support of the university community and the Valley. And so, we go forward because with God with us, who can be against us?

Connections
Rox Ann Sparks, DNP, MSN, CMHIMP, LNC

Rox Ann Sparks, DNP, MSN, CMHIMP, LNC

Professor of Nursing, Director of BSN and RN to BSN Programs