You’ve heard the call and started employment or volunteering at your local Pregnancy Medical Clinic.
Maybe it was an easy decision, or maybe it was a difficult one.
Maybe you saw an advertisement or someone at church pointed you toward the clinic.
Maybe you decided you have a few hours a week to spend on something worthwhile, why not the Pregnancy Medical Clinic?
Maybe it was a hard decision because you took a huge pay cut, but you know the PMC is where God wants you.
However the Lord led you to the PMC, are your standards for nursing competence and continuing education different than the other clinical settings where you’ve worked?
Is it really all that necessary to learn this clinical setting well?
It’s really a mission, isn’t it?
So competence and continuing education are just things to be concerned about in former clinical settings?
Discussion about clinical competence and continuing education is an important part of the mainstreaming discussion, but as you’ll see, it’s an important part of your medical ministry no matter where you work and especially if you are employed or a volunteer medical professional in the PMC.
As I always try to do, let’s start the discussion with what God expects from us. I encourage you to read Malachi 1:6-14. The passage talks about how the people were offering blemished, crippled or diseased animals as sacrifices to the Lord. Why? Because these offerings were easy and didn’t impact their finances much. They didn’t want to give up an unblemished animal, which was more valuable and costly to them. The Lord responded to this practice by saying, “My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord Almighty. But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ And you say, ‘What a burden! And you sniff at it contemptuously,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 1:11-12). He said our offerings to Him are a reflection of what we really think of Him.
How does this relate to competence and nursing education? Your local PMC is a mission. It’s a medical mission. That means the mission of life is the Lord’s mission. He is at the heart of it, and His “name will be great among the nations” starting in your community. Are you giving Him what’s easy and left-over? Is competence or clinical education in this clinical setting too burdensome? Are you giving Him what is valuable to you? I would argue this includes clinical competence in your clinical setting and continuing education suitable to your clinical setting.
By now you may have noticed that I love the Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurseswith Interpretive Statementsput out by the American Nurses Association. I’ve referred to it over and over—especially in applications to this clinical setting. Clinical competence falls under Provision 5, which discusses the nurse owing the same duty to self as to others. The chapter talks about several duties to self, including “maintenance of competence and professional growth.” Competence is not described as a standard of excellence or more than what’s expected of the nurse. Instead it’s described as “the rock bottom level of acceptable practice, the level below which no practitioner should fall. Professional growth moves the nurse beyond basic entry education and mere competence, as a minimum standard of practice, toward excellence and is thus directed toward an ideal of practice.” (p. 89)
Is that statement convicting to anyone besides me?
“For the client’s optimum well-being and for the nurses’ own professional development, the care of the client reflects and incorporates new techniques and knowledge in health care as these develop, especially as they relate to the nurse’s particular field of practice. The nurse must be aware of the need for continued professional learning and must assume personal responsibility for currency of knowledge and skills.” (p. 89)
You can see that for the Lord, yourself, your patients, your clinic, and your community, competency and continuing education is the rock bottom level of practice in all clinical settings—even (and especially!) the pregnancy medical clinic. I pray that you embrace this challenge and take courage in knowing the Lord is with you.
Director of Nursing Operations
Sparrow Solutions Group