Teaching Licensed Practical Nurses

May 1, 2003

I had crushing chest pain on Saturday, so I called the ambulance and went to the emergency room. They diagnosed me with pleurisy and pneumonia, put me on antibiotics, and sent me home. How I thank the Lord for the perfect peace He gave me during the hours I lay on the stretcher. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

The job is going better, by God’s grace. I like teaching the students at the nursing home. The staff is very helpful, so that makes for a pleasant learning environment. I discovered that my new neighbor works as a nursing assistant there. Her first language is Portuguese and she only speaks minimal English. I think I’ll check some tapes out of the public library and try and learn a little Portuguese so I can talk more with her.

May 16

I am sick at home again with a fever of 101 degrees. This is the fourth time I have caught an infection since I started working at the school and the nursing home. I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wants me to work again as a Nurse Practitioner or keep teaching. I am required to work 2000 hours as a NP over a five year period to keep my certification, or I can take the board exam again which would be grueling.

June 7

“Teaching is not effective without a good example. You can easily discourage others by being impatient with them. The more forceful you are, the more you need to learn gentleness and kindness.” – Fenelon

The first clinical session has ended at the nursing home. At first, I hated working in the nursing home. But after I became better acquainted with the staff and the alert patients, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I watched in amazement as the students progressed from being frightened to touch a patient to being able to care for several patients confidently.

June 13

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Yesterday morning I asked the Lord to help me depend on Him alone and not a paycheck or a job, which He answered very quickly. An hour later, Mrs. D. called me into her office and told me that my position was eliminated because over half of the first module class failed. I asked her why she chose me? She said my student evaluations were not good, and that I was not a team player. She also announced that C. would be the new director. C. has a very foul mouth, smokes, and cohabits with a man, so I know that it would have been difficult for me to work with her. I always felt like a fish out of water in the teachers’ communal office because I did not swear or tell off color jokes like all the others.

I can’t sleep from this head cold and can’t stop my tears of exhaustion. But on the brighter side, because I was laid off, I can collect unemployment while I look for another job. I thank the Lord that I don’t have to get up at 4:45 a.m. to go to the nursing home or prepare lectures at night after teaching all day. Perhaps God will improve my immune system so I don’t keep catching all these viruses.

“Don’t let your work either excite you or depress you too much.” – Fenelon “When we sit under Christ’s shadow with great delight, everything else becomes so small, and loses its hold upon our hearts.” CAC “Nearly all God’s jewels are crystallized tears.”

“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

June 24

I had an interview at a children’s residential camp an hour from home today, but it wasn’t a good fit. The pay is too low and the camp is closed for three months in the winter. The atmosphere is so much different than Bible camp. God knows the way I should go.

Dear Lord, I ask You to give me a job where I can freely share the gospel, attend all the services at church, be within a 20 minute commute from home, and have a manager who is kind, fair, and supportive. I ask for a job that is not too stressful where I can use my Nurse Practitioner skills four days per week with good health and retirement benefits. Help me to wait quietly upon You. Thank You for this extra time to study Your Word and draw near to You. Thank You that You own everything and that nothing is too hard for You. Thank You for this measure of health. I love and adore You. Amen.

July 5

The Lord gave me a wonderful week of vacation with another lady from church at Yosemite National Park in California. The rock formations and water falls were breath taking. This is one of the most beautiful place on earth that I have ever seen, but I know heaven will be so much better!

God refreshed my heart at beautiful Yosemite National Park in California.

July 16

Yesterday I had the most difficult interview of my life at the college where I received my Master’s degree in nursing. The position is for Director of Health Services which includes treating the residential college students in the clinic. Four women conducted the interview in the board room with me seated at the head of a long table. Unfortunately, every time I looked up, I saw my reflection in a gigantic mirror on the wall. They took turns asking me about 20 challenging clinical questions from their typed list. My brain kept freezing from the stress, so it was a grueling 90 minute ordeal. After I left the room and closed the door, I heard them all burst into laughter. I walked down the long hallway feeling totally humiliated. This is definitely not the right job for me.

I had another interview today at a large inner city hospital 20 minutes from my home. Because my interview went so poorly yesterday, I spent several hours studying rehabilitation medicine last night to prepare for today’s meeting. I made a professional folder with my resume and business card to give Dr. S., the medical director of the ten bed unit. Dr. S. was delayed in a family meeting, so I quietly observed the unit while waiting. It seemed like a calm, well organized unit. The huge windows in the nurse’s station made it bright and cheerful.

Then Dr. S. took me on a tour of the unit while he explained how it functioned and what my role would be. He asked me a few easy questions about myself in the hallway. He seems like a genuine compassionate person who is board certified in physical medicine. Most of the patients have had strokes, joint replacements, or organ transplants. In acute rehabilitation each patient must be able to do a total three hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy daily. Some advantages of having rehab in the hospital as opposed to a nursing home is that a patient can be quickly transferred back to the intensive care unit if needed and all their specialty doctors can assess them daily.

Dr. S. has been looking for a NP for eighteen months, so God has been keeping this position open for me! If I am hired, Dr. S. would like me to work from 11 am to 5 pm except on Tuesdays when I would start at 8:30 a.m. so I could participate in weekly team meetings. On Tuesdays, I would leave at 2:30 p.m. Initially, I will be paid for 30 hours weekly with full time benefits. If I want to increase to 40 hours per week, I can do research, inpatient consults, or see outpatients in his office, so there is room to grow professionally.

I will need to work every third weekend and come see all ten patients on either Saturday or Sunday and write a progress note, but it only takes a maximum of 90 minutes. I will also need to make rounds on two holidays, but Dr. S. said I can have first pick of which holidays I want to work. Next, I will need to meet the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Medical Director of the entire rehab network.

I spoke with my former classmate, Kim, who has been a NP on the transplant unit for the past year. She was excited for me and said the rehab unit has an excellent reputation. She makes rounds there after they transfer their post transplant patients to the unit. She told me about the hospital benefits and how she negotiated her salary, so I will see what the Lord does.

Reflection

Job changes are never easy, but I thank God that He went before me in every situation. As I reflect on this part of my career when nothing was stable and each month was rocky with constant change, I can now see how the Lord was teaching me to lean totally on Him one day at a time. He always provided my every need and still does! I pray that you will know the joy of leaning on Him also, the only One who is the solid Rock and never changes.

 

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Tribute to Marsha Swinehart, RN – Part 2

April 10 – Marsha’s Birthday

On February 4, 2016 the Cedarville University nursing students who Marsha Swinehart, RN taught, presented a plaque to the School of Nursing in honor of Marsha’s life.

Marsha plaque

Dr Rachel Parrill, Marsha’s colleague, accepted the plaque on behalf of the School of Nursing with the following words:

I was honored to be asked by the leadership to say a few words today about Marsha on behalf of all of those in the School of Nursing who loved her and were influenced by her life. This presentation specifically illustrates the love and respect that our nursing students held for Marsha. It is very significant that this initiative to honor Marsha has been completely student led. It is clear that it is your desire to love and honor Christ that has compelled you to remember Marsha in this way. Anyone who was acquainted with Marsha knows that it would be her desire that Christ would be glorified in the presentation of this plaque. So, I will try in the next few moments to highlight how Marsha strived to live the words of John 3:30 so that Christ be would become greater and she would become less.

On this plaque, we have remembered Marsha as Beloved Professor, Compassionate Friend, and Humble Servant. It is difficult to sum up a life in just a few words, but we felt these words best represented what Marsha meant to students, faculty, and staff of the School of Nursing.

Marsha truly was a Beloved Professor to students within the classroom and clinical setting and to those she advised and mentored. One former student said of Marsha: “She challenged me to walk closer to Christ and dream bigger about my future. She helped me find my love of nursing and didn’t let me quit. She shared a vision to serve the hurting and broken in the world.” Another graduate wrote: “She encouraged me to strive to follow Jesus more and more each day. She didn’t just teach her students about nursing: we learned about life and Jesus and passion. Using nursing as a ministry for Christ wasn’t just a saying anymore, but a true mission statement that I use as a reason for why I am a nurse.” The words of these graduates demonstrate the kingdom investment Marsha made in the lives of students during her time at Cedarville.

These same sentiments hold true for those of us who knew her as a colleague and Compassionate Friend. I had the privilege of teaching with Marsha for six years in the specialty area of public health nursing. I could share with you what a godly influence she was among her colleagues, which she was, but I thought you might enjoy hearing a story that will give you a glimpse into another side of your nursing faculty.

One summer, Marsha and I were asked to speak at a missions conference in Pennsylvania. About 20 minutes into our drive to the conference, we had a flat tire. I was driving, and I managed to make it safely off the highway onto a nearby exit ramp. As I pulled over, I was rather dismayed to see that I had been followed off the exit ramp by what I assumed and hoped was someone wanting to assist us. I say I was dismayed because based simply on appearances, this person would not have been my first choice  for help for two women traveling alone and pulled over in a somewhat remote area. Our Good Samaritan was riding a motorcycle and covered in tattoos and leather from head to foot. He quickly went to work putting the spare tire on my car. I stepped several feet away to call my husband, but I made sure to stay close enough to pull Marsha off the back of a motorcycle if needed! After a short phone call, I returned to find Marsha and our Good Samaritan discussing the blessings of God. It was so like Marsha to find a way to engage someone in a conversation about spiritual matters anywhere, anytime. It was a pretty neat experience, and it has become a wonderful memory for me.

Finally, we remember Marsha as a Humble Servant of Christ. Marsha’s life is an example of how our extraordinary God can use an ordinary life when that life is submitted to Him. Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus provides our example of true servant hood in that He willingly gave His life on the cross. In this same chapter, we are urged to have the same mindset as Christ. We thank God for the many ways Marsha’s humility and servant’s heart touched our lives, but we know that she would not point us to her example but rather to the example of the Christ she followed. In closing, I’d like to draw our attention to Marsha’s life verse which has been included on the plaque.

Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

I know that Marsha’s desire would be that the message of this Scripture would remain with you as you remember her life.

 

 

Terror at Night

July 23, 1978 – Midwest, USA

My apartment mate, Jane, and I drove separate cars to evening worship at church followed by a sweet time of fellowship at the Pastor’s house with the other young adults. Jane left a few minutes before me, so after arriving home, she left the front door unlocked for me, and then got in the shower. When I arrived home about 15 minutes later, I was puzzled to see our neighbors, Dave and Darlene, standing on our porch. I said, “Is there something wrong?” They replied, “We just heard Jane scream so we called the police! We’re trying to get inside to help her, but the door is locked! Can you unlock it?”

I took my house key with shaky hands and tried to put it in the lock. All of a sudden, the door was flung open, and a tall thin black man bolted through it with a butcher knife in his hand, shoved me down the three cement porch  steps, and went running off into the night. I quickly stood up and the three of us ran inside and screamed for Jane! “Is there anyone else upstairs, Jane? Are you OK?”

She replied, “I’m alone! I’m coming down.” She came down the stairs in her bathrobe and quickly told us he had grabbed her out of the shower and cut her legs with my kitchen butcher knife. When he demanded all her money, she emptied her wallet of the 5$ bill which was all she had. He grabbed her watch and then went running down the steps after he heard us outside. I cleaned and bandaged Jane’s cuts on her legs, and she got dressed.

The police finally arrived 30 minutes after our neighbors called them. They asked Jane and me to get in the back of the cruiser, so we could drive through the neighborhood to see if we could find the burglar, but we never did. We called Jane’s brother and my sister, (who were now engaged), and they called our Pastor. While awaiting for them to arrive, I took Jane to the emergency department to have the cuts on her legs sutured.

When Kevin, Linda, and our Pastor arrived, they read Psalm 56 and 37 to us and prayed with us. How God’s precious word comforted us!

“When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Psalm 56:3-4

“The end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:38-40

We both called in sick the next morning because neither of us slept all night, and we needed to go to the police station to try and identify the burglar. The detective brought us dozens of mug shots to examine. After looking at about 500 photos, we picked out the six photos who looked most like him. Jane, of course, got a much better look at him than I did. At the end of the ordeal, we were both trembling uncontrollably from head to toe. The detective kindly volunteered to follow us home and search our apartment to see if he had returned.

He also told us that we lived in the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in the city, full of drug dealers and prostitutes. We were both so naive having grown up in the country where crime was practically nonexistent! Every one in the country left their doors unlocked at night, but we will never do it again, even for a minute! I also will never mount my knife rack on the kitchen wall! He advised us to move to a different neighborhood with a security system, which we did two months later.

Reflection – 2014

Belize dinner 1988

Dinner with the Medical team in Belize, 1988, before our nighttime scary walk to the Hotel.

In 1988, I went on a short-term medical mission trip to Belize (formerly British Honduras in Central America). Another nurse and I were assigned to a ramshackle hotel for our housing.  After we ate dinner with the medical team, we had to walk several city blocks in the dark to get to our hotel. About half way there, they had a power failure and all the streetlights went out leaving us in total darkness except for our tiny flashlight. When we arrived at our hotel, we ascended the outside steps to the second floor and had to walk down the narrow balcony which was lined with men leering at us. We both prayed silently and asked God to protect us while looking straight ahead.

When we arrived at our hotel door, we quickly went inside and bolted the door behind us. How we thanked God for delivering us! Then Jen shared with me how she had been brutally beaten by a robber in her home years before. I shared with her about the night Jane and I were attacked. We once again read Psalm 56 and 37 together followed by prayer in which we asked God to give us a quiet heart and put a hedge about us. I can’t say that either of us slept much that night because of the restaurant and reggae band blaring loud music beneath our bedroom, but God protected us!

Currently I work with many patients who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and struggle with nightmares and flashbacks. I remember it took me quite awhile to recover emotionally from the attack in 1978. But whenever I became afraid, I would read my Bible and ask God to comfort me, fix my mind and heart on Him, and He always did. It is also a great comfort to know that if someone kills me, I will immediately be transported into God’s wonderful presence for all eternity!

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” II Corinthians 5:1