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Professional Development

According to Plantinga in Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living; Christians have a responsibility to use their education and skills gained in “order to play your part in the drama of the Kingdom”.[1]

In 2007 I felt the call of God to start preparing myself for full time service. I commenced part-time study through Laidlaw College, Centre for Distance Learning. Although the Diploma of Biblical Studies can comfortably be done over four years, I found other commitments required me to take six.

Core subjects included Interpretation of the Bible, Theology (two papers), Formation (one’s journey), Old and New Testaments. There was a variety of optional papers. Those I undertook included Church Leadership, Early NZ Church History, Mercy, Justice and Social Transformation and Pastoral Cares in Life Crises.

I have always considered my nursing profession as a stepping stone into a ministry role. Faith Community Nursing is way one this could be achieved. For “parish nursing is a form of ministry which links professional primary healthcare with Christian mission”.[2]

Of the ten papers I undertook the two that complimented my nursing most were Pastoral Cares in Life Crises and Mercy, Justice and Social Transformation.

The first paper covered areas in health such as Depression, Anxiety and Eating Disorders, Bereavement / Suicide & Grief, coping when looking after someone with a Chronic Condition / Disability and Addictions etc. It challenged me to know my own community and where to refer those under my Pastoral Care for help.

The second paper Mercy, Justice and Social Transformation paper challenged me in the similar way. For according to Dr Ann van Loon “The goal of all health ministry is the transformation of individuals and communities regarding conceptualization of health and healing, empowering people to act in ways that enable them to transition successfully through life’s changing conditions to maintain and improve their well being”.[3] A community knows their needs, especially one poor in well being. This paper reinforced to me that a church working with such a community could bring them hope through Jesus Christ easily; by the church being a development facilitator for a project such as a Faith Community Nurse position / mission.

Therefore anyone interested in Faith Community Nursing I would encourage them to carefully consider study options available. For professional development today can be undertaken in a variety of ways e.g. full time, part-time, study days / blocks, distance learning, e-learning, article reviews etc. There is also a variety of Learning Institutes offering relevant papers. It is also worth remembering when choosing papers that some churches may sponsor them. For me, study has continued in 2013 with a Chaplaincy paper.

[1] Plantinga Jr., C. Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living. Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002. Pg 126.

[2] Accessed 11/11/12

[3] Accessed 11/11/12

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