Christian vs. Secular Worldviews in Nursing
St. John’s College of Nursing
Christian worldviews can be similar to secular worldviews related to the concepts of person, nurse, environment, and health. The reason that some may assume the Christian view of nursing may always be better than the secular view is because Christianity is partly based on the love of Jesus and how Christians ought to display Christ’s love to others. However, nurses who are not Christians also have a duty to give their patients the best care possible, which can include love, if not affection.
A Christian worldview of a person, nurse, environment, and health means that Christians feel they should live life as Jesus did and mimic him. Shrubsole (2010) stated that when Christians are “working with vulnerable people, such as the maimed and the blind, ministering to their needs and living through Christ” they noted that they felt as though He was right there in the room with them and felt happy and rewarded in their work (p. 25). They also noticed that good things happened to them when they behaved in a way that they knew God would approve of and felt blessed by Him. Most Christians felt that a higher power had called them to nursing and that people are extremely important because God has created them, nurses need to care for and about their patients because the patients are created by God, and that He is the one who establishes a person’s health and general outcome in any particular environment.
Secular nurses tend to each be different and each view nursing as a profession differently. Charalambous (2010) concluded that nurses “thought that the care they provided for their patients was individualised” but was satisfactory (p. 503). Secular nurses also felt satisfied in the work they did to take care of patients and as nurses provide a safe and caring environment to improve patients’ health but did not feel that God was the one who pushed them to be excellent nurses. Some wanted to provide the best care possible based on personal reflections while others felt it just came with the job.
Secular and Christian nurses are similar in many ways because many of them have basic patient needs at heart. Doornbos (2005) says that “at the most basic level, the internal goods of nursing shape the character of the nurse” which means that religion does not always play a part in nursing but for some it does (p. 45). This text also goes on to explain Christian values and nursing values overlap in relation to a Christian’s worldview of nursing, health, the environment, and people in general. However, there seems to be more motivation for Christians to give the most excellent care possible because that is how Jesus lived and Christians believe they should live like Christ.
In short, Christians do not necessarily make better nurses and no text supports that idea, but most Christian nurses have an extra passion to do well in all that they do, whether it relates to patient care or not. Christian nurses seem to care somewhat more about patients, their general health, the type of nurses they are, the value of a person, and what type of environment they are in. Secular nurses almost always care about these things as well, but because religion does not play a part in their worldview, they do not have this extra belief to motivate them to do well as nurses and simply have a personal belief to affect their roles as nurses.
Charalambous, A., Katajisto, J., Välimäki, M., Leino-Kilpi, H., & Suhonen, R. (2010).
Individualised care and the professional practice environment: nurses’ perceptions. International Nursing Review, 57(4), 500-507. doi:10.1111/j.1466-7657.2010.00831.x
Doornbos, M. M., Grenhout, R. E. & Hotz, K. G. (2005) Transforming care: A Christian vision
of nursing practice. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Shrubsole, J. (2010). A call to Christian health ministry: being God’s agent. International Journal
For Human Caring, 14(3), 22-28.