Friday, February 05, 2010

Christian nurses? Prayer with patients?

I prayed with a patient for the first time this week.  I never viewed my role as a Christian nursing student as being similar to a Christian going door to door.  My witnessing was by service- not by handing out pamphlets.  The instructors talked about praying with patients, but I never felt called to pray with a patient.  My patients were either getting better or were having psych problems.  I never felt that prayer was needed or appropriate. 

My patient on Thursday is addicted to several substances.  He was very concerned about not getting into a rehab clinic after leaving the hospital.  I could see the fear in his eyes.  He acted annoyed and verbalized his agitation with the situation.  I prayed silently for him.  I got to know him pretty well when I interviewed him for Gordon's.  I appreciated his candor about his addictions and I sensed that he honestly wanted to change and that he despised the place he was at in life. 

I also considered how I could walk away from that hospital completely free.  There is nothing in the world that has power over me.  When he leaves the hospital he has no support system.  He knew how easy it would be to end up back on the streets- taking heroin and eating two pieces of toast every other day.  He was terrified of leaving that hospital.  It signified safety to him- it was a place where he could actually get help. 

I felt like I should offer to pray for him.  I prayed for him right before I left for the post clinical conference.  He seemed a little awkward about the whole situation, but he agreed to let me pray for him.  I asked God to free him from this addiction.  I asked that he would get into a rehab program and that he would have peace.  I could so clearly see the bondage he was in and I knew he felt enslaved as well.  I hope he finds freedom. 

I guess I am learning that nursing is not a formula that you can apply to every patient.  We were taught that care needs to be tailored to the specific patient- well, I feel that spiritual care also needs to be suited to each patient.  Christian nurses need to be open to the leading of the Spirit.  He will lead us to say the words the patient needs to hear.  The effect of our actions is not immediate, but God rarely immediately resolves situations.  I know He has a good plan for my patient and I am so thankful that He allowed me to get to know one of His children.