Esther Chevassut - Nurses' Associate Staffworker (Southampton)
I begin my CMF associate staff worker day by meeting with Pippa over a much-appreciated coffee, after a few long day shifts on the ward. Pippa and I share about our weeks - including personal life, work and CMF; Pippa updates me on recent projects in the CMF nursing department and asks me if I've had any responses from nursing and midwifery students at a university we've been communicating with about meeting as a group for the first time. Pippa and I pray about this potential Christian fellowship for nurses and midwives as well as praying over plans discussed for upcoming conferences and meetings.
I head home and set up my laptop ready to skype into the Deep:ER session, in which the Deep:ER volunteers meet fortnightly, share and pray together and look in depth at a theological or ethical subject that one person researches into and leads. I am one of two skyping in and the connection is confirmed by a very friendly hello from the CMF office on my screen from five volunteers and the student staff team. It's so encouraging hearing from everyone around the table and praying for each other's personal situations and CMF projects. James, another associate staff worker, then leads us in a great discussion about multi-disciplinary team working, exploring what makes this effective and challenging in healthcare practice, and how we can approach this in a Christ-like way. I share some of my experiences working in a team during my first 10 months of work as a staff nurse. It's very interesting hearing from different angles, then looking at what teamwork means from a biblical perspective.
I head out to a local cafe for lunch with a student nurse from Southampton who is one of the co-leaders of the CMF group here. It's a joy being able to share with each other and to listen as she shares of the challenges of her current placement but how God has been faithful. The CMF group has continued stably this year. We thank God for the blessings; his hand over its growth and students serving here, and for uniting, equipping and using them for his glory. This evening I have agreed to speak to the group on mental health and avoiding burnout. I am aware that there are some very real struggles for members of the group. We pray together over the plans for the meeting and for all we've chatted about.
Once home I read over some helpful comments I've received from my first draft of an article for Spotlight (a CMF magazine for nurses and midwives) and amend some of the structure and wording.
I speak to a graduating student nurse I've been in contact with, who recently heard of CMF and is keen to get involved. I hear about his plans for his first job, and that he plans to stay in his university city. I share a bit about what CMF aims to provide through its resources and conferences and we explore ideas of how a CMF group could be valuable perhaps for students and recently-qualified nurses/other healthcare professionals in his area. He mentions that he would love to go into mission work overseas one day, and I remember there is an upcoming 'Who is my Neighbour?' day in his neighbouring city, which I give him the details for.
I print off a few copies of a very helpful CMF File which has aided my preparation for tonight's CMF meeting in Southampton and some lyrics for the worship songs the group have planned for.
The meeting is a very precious time, sharing some of the experiences of mental health, both personal and from exposure on placements and how it can affect psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It's helpful hearing advice from different perspectives such as from the mental health nursing students. We round off with worship time and prayer, plus puddings in the lovely home of our host - a retiree nurse herself.
As I head to bed I reflect on all the conversations and meetings I've had today. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had and give these situations to God in prayer. I finish the day by reading a chapter of Every Good Endeavourby Timothy Keller) which encourages me that every pursuit in life has godly value and can glorify him. Whether designing, analysing, managing or nursing, we are created in his image and given abilities and passions through which we can reflect him and his incredible work in creation.