From helping with childbirth to caring for those in the hospital, each of us in some way has been impacted by a nurse. They are often the first point of contact and support the medical staff in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Nurses often work long hours and many times their tireless work goes unappreciated. National Nurses Week is May 6 and ends on May 12, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. International Nurses Day is also celebrated on Nightingale’s birthday, May 12th, in honor of Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing practices.
Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, has seen the impact that nurses have abroad. Live Beyond is a non-profit humanitarian organization founded by David & Laurie Vanderpool in 2005 dedicated to providing clean water, medical care and adequate nutrition to the poorest of the poor.
“At the international non-profit that I work for called LiveBeyond, we have 4 full-time Haitian nurses who implement our Maternal Health program under the guidance of Medical Director and CEO Dr. David Vanderpool. We also host dozens of nurses each year on our medical mission trips to Haiti, where they serve faithfully in our medical programs. These nurses take time off of their jobs as nurses to put their nursing skills to work for Haitians who have limited access to medical care. One volunteer nurse said, ‘I would be silly not to use [my nursing talents] there.’ If that’s not a servant heart, I’m not sure what is!”
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:34-26
Vanderpool explains how nurses provide more than just healthcare to those in need.
“Some of us would be hurting or lonely or sick or even dead. Nurses provide more than just healthcare. They give life. And they give hope. Nurses also proved wildly effective in our disaster relief efforts, particularly the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the later cholera epidemic. They saved lives along with the other medical personnel who made the decision to sacrifice time, comfort, and safety to make a difference.”
Thank a nurse. Take time this week and thank a nurse. It could be a nurse that has personally impacted you or your family or it could be a nurse that you know. Bring them a meal at the hospital or medical office. You could even find out their favorite coffee drink and deliver it to them. Nurses often don’t have time to run out and grab lunch or coffee, so bringing it to them will brighten their day. Write them a note and let them know how their care impacted your experience. Because their work is fast-paced and they are not working every day, nurses sometimes don’t get to hear about what happens to their patients.
Pray for medical missionaries. Ask your small group leader or pastor if your church has medical missionaries, if they don’t check out Live Beyond. Pray for the medical mission team that God would protect and guide their efforts. Many teams need medical supplies and other items in order to fulfill the needs that they anticipate. Ask and see how you can help them. Your small group might consider collecting supplies or donating a care basket with items that the team needs. Commit to praying daily for the team while they are on their trip.
Go on a medical mission. Whether you are a nurse, doctor or medical student, pray about going on a medical mission trip. Don’t allow finances to be an issue. Pray and ask God to provide for the resources for you to go on the trip. If you know someone who has gone on a trip before, ask them what their experience was like. For many, a medical mission trip changes the way they practice medicine when they return. Some trips don’t require a medical background for those that wish to help in a supporting role.
To learn more about how LiveBeyond is transforming lives in Thomazeau, Haiti, see http://livebeyond.org/blog/.