What does it mean in practice to serve God in our nursing or midwifery careers? It may mean serving God by being a 'good nurse' and by striving to be caring and compassionate. Perhaps patients or colleagues will notice something distinctive about us and ask what our motivation is. It could mean using nursing as a means to share the gospel, and talking about our faith with patients when they ask us. Alternatively, we may have gone into nursing with a clear desire to work in the developing world as a missionary nurse, or to serve the poor and needy in the UK.
All of these are valid ways to serve God through nursing, but what do we do when these desires conflict? When our desire to share our faith interferes with our desire to be seen as a 'good nurse'? What about when ethical issues mean making difficult decisions?
The purpose of the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) is to help you integrate your Christian faith with your nursing or midwifery career - so that you know who you are in Christ and can serve him through your work. We help support and equip you so that you're not just a nurse who happens to be a Christian, or a Christian who happens to be a nurse, but a real Christian nurse. This is what CMF is for!
Church and CU will help you to grow as a Christian; nursing school will help you be a better nurse; CMF will help you at the interface to connect, grow, speak and serve. There are four ways CMF can help you thrive as a Christian nurse or midwife:
Local groups are a great way to meet regularly with others and work out what it means to be a Christian in nursing or midwifery - a place where you can encourage, pray and support one another.
We can provide speakers for ethics talks, debates or evangelistic events. We have resources to help you organise freshers' events, to run a series in Christian nursing ethics, and help your reps plan a programme that's tailored to your group members.
The National Conference (April) and Student Conference (February) are the biggest events of CMF's year with delegates from all over the UK, Ireland and several other countries. There are top speakers on issues at the interface of Christianity and nursing/medicine, with excellent seminars ranging from caring for the dying to nursing on the mission field and suffering. This is a chance to meet with hundreds of like-minded Christian nurses and medics to worship our great God together.
We also offer day conferences, prayer and social events in local regions.
There is a bewildering array of issues that confront Christians in healthcare, and it is vital that we are able to give a Christian response to them. Assisted suicide and euthanasia, alternative medicine, gene editing, stem cell treatments, Christian approaches to mental health, abortion, contraception and fertility treatments, the ethics of sharing faith and caring for transgender patients - the list goes on!
The Bible has something to say on all these topics, but sadly you can't just open a concordance and look up 'stem cells'. It takes a lot of wise application of the principles of Scripture in order to bring them to bear on these modern dilemmas. CMF provides reliable, practical resources that will help you understand the issues at stake and apply biblical wisdom.
Our regular publications Spotlight, Nucleus, Triple Helix and CMF Files are all designed to address these issues. Online resources can be found on our website: cmf.org.uk
We also publish books such as Matters of Life and Death (ethical issues at the beginning and end of life), Hard Questions about Health and Healing, and Lighting the Way:a handbook for Christian nurses & midwives.
We're committed to helping train nurse and midwife leaders. As well as offering specific support, we run annual student leaders' training to help leaders get to grips with the issues they are facing in their groups, and retreat days. You may wish to get trained to write articles on our writers' study days for nurses or come on our 'Biblical Leadership for Nurses' course.
CMF wants you to be equipped to speak confidently and with conviction about what you believe and why.
To this end, we provide training days that will equip and empower you to be a witness where God has placed you as a nurse or midwife, knowing what you're allowed to share and how best to go about it. Training may entail a speaker coming to talk to your group, joining our Evangelism Track, or day conferences such as Confident Christianity and Saline Solution.
Help engage with our culture, government and professional bodies and keep up-to-date with the latest legal and political agendas affecting healthcare. Christian nurses and midwives have the unique opportunity to help shape society by engaging in the media and the democratic process to ensure that good laws are protected and bad ones prevented or restricted. CMF provides press releases in response to ethical news and announcements. We make submissions to government consultations on future law changes - members add strength to our voice as we speak out in the public square.
Here are some of the ways you can serve within CMF:
- Pray - Keep up-to-date with prayer needs with our CMF Prayer Diary
- Give - Your subscription as a member helps pay for CMF's work
- Lead - Become a student leader or a graduate supporter of a group
- Write - Contribute articles for Spotlight, Nucleus, or the website
- Speak - Share at a seminar or become a nurse trainer for Saline Solution
- Learn - Develop a passion for medical mission and join our Global Track programme
- Go - Do an elective or short-term mission trip in the developing world
All of us face hard decisions about how to prioritise our time, resources and efforts. Some of us will give more to church, CU, or other valid interests. But each of us should consider this carefully - what are the unique gifts and opportunities that God has given you to help build his kingdom? Another way to put this is to ask, 'What is it that only you can do?'
For those of us who are Christian nurses or midwives, we are given particular opportunities for God's kingdom that few others have. We need to take this seriously and ask how our careers can be used most effectively for his glory. CMF is here to help you in this, and to build a movement of healthcare professionals passionate for the glory of God in and through our vocations.
Pippa Peppiatt is CMF Head of Nursing