Giving Thanks for Nursing Care
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for… I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me.”
Thank God for nurses in our time of need.
Today is August 12, and it’s the day in the church lectionary that we remember and honor Florence Nightingale. With the pandemic all around us, today is a good day to be reminded to thank God for the medical staff we have to minister to us when we are sick.
Florence was Italian, born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. She trained as a nurse in Paris and became superintendent of a hospital in London for invalid women. And Florence’s faith was at the heart of her work. In response to God's call and a spirit of service in 1854, she volunteered for duty during the Crimean War. She recruited 38 nurses. With them, she organized the first modern nursing service in the British army field hospitals. By imposing strict discipline and high standards of sanitation, she radically reduced the death toll and rampant infections than typical in army field hospitals. Like nurses today, she worked on the front lines, risking her life to save others.
Later, Florence returned to England and set up an institution for the training of nurses at St. Thomas Hospital, an institution that is now part of King’s College, London. Her school helped elevate nursing into a fully fledged profession. She spent many years helping the army in sanitation reform, to the improvement of nursing and public health in India. She was an Anglican and her Christian faith helped sustain her through many years of ill health. She conversed about spiritual matters with many prominent church leaders of the time, including her local parish priest who brought her communion. She died in 1910 and her legacy lives on as the founder of the modern profession of nursing.
Like Florence, there are nurses today who are working relentlessly to help and to save the sick in our communities, both those with the virus and others needing care. Many, like Florence, do so because of their faith and desire to serve. Let us thank God for these dedicated and gifted nurses, and pray for their safety and protection through a dangerous and difficult time.
A Prayer for Today
Oh Heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ has taught us the glory of self-sacrifice and service: Bless all those who are called to care for the sick in mind and body; may they always remember that they are fellow workers with thee; and give them patience skill and love that they may bring healing and comfort to those whom they serve; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.