By ELIZABETH CHAPMAN, R.N., Supervisor, Washington (D.C.) Sanitarium
There are some of the methods we have found helpful in the hydrotherapy department in creating greater interest on the part of patients in both physical and spiritual health subjects. A reading table in the waiting room, with attractive literature and comfortable chairs, lends interest to moments of waiting, and has often created a desire in the hearts of patients to become better acquainted with our gospel and health messages. Periodicals like the Signs of the Times, Watchman, Health, Life and Health, and our small paper-bound books, such as "Steps to Christ," "Alone With God," "Our Lord's Return," "The Marked Bible," "Prophecy Speaks," and "Cigarettes by One Who Knows," are supplied to the reader's table for distribution. With attractive cover and wealth of educational material, they seem to disappear like mist before the sunshine.
Promise Box.—On our reading table stands a little box of promises, one hundred in number. The promises, neatly printed on slips of paper about three inches in length and one inch in width, are rolled and so closely packed together side by side in the container as to resemble an empty honeycomb. The cover bears the suggestion: "Read your message for today."
I shall take time to tell you of just one mission fulfilled through the promise box. Due to a prolonged illness, Miss W— spent many months in the sanitarium, and during this time became acquainted with and accepted the message for this time. A few weeks ago she was called upon to pass through one of the Gethsemane experiences that sometimes come to those who forsake all to follow Jesus. Her treatment hour passed by one day, and she did not come. Her nurse, knowing something of the patient's condition, decided to make an effort to persuade her to take the treatment.
She was impressed to go to the box of promises. Lifting her heart to God, she asked that He would choose for her just the promise that would give the help that was needed at that time. Tears filled her eyes as she read the promise, which seemed to be a definite answer to prayer. Finding the patient in an attitude of dejection and discouragement, the nurse said to her, "Miss W—, the Lord has sent you a personal message this morning, and here it is in Joshua i :5. 'I will be with thee. I will not leave thee nor forsake thee.' " After a short talk together, the patient's faith was revived, and through the sympathy and help of Christian physicians, nurses, and friends, Miss W— is now able to say with confidence, "I can never yield my faith, though I die for it."
In another instance, one of our students was still in the probationary period in the nursing course. She was learning to rub tired backs and smooth ruffled pillows for weary heads, but she longed for an opportunity to soothe tired hearts. One evening she expressed her sympathy to her patient by asking if she might pray with her. The patient refused her request. But the incident awakened a desire to know more of sanitarium principles where the nurses were willing to pray with their patients. She sought an opportunity to become better acquainted with the nurse, who a little later was able to arrange for Bible studies with the chaplain. As a result, the patient is now radiantly happy in her first love of the third angel's message.
Posters.—The use of attractive health posters is often helpful in impressing health messages. A poster near the drinking fountain reminds the patient of the counsel to drink water freely. Posters regarding proper diet can do much to teach the principles of eating for health. Attractive, ingenious devices for visual education can be worked out for display in the various departments in the sanitarium.
Health Scrapbook.—Again, a health scrapbook was contributed to the reading table by a patient who found it necessary to spend some time in the sanitarium. The attractive pictures and clippings from various sources bear messages of both physical and spiritual help, and are a constant source of interest both to patients and to nurses in the department. The looseleaf cover makes it possible to add to the supply of material from time to time.
Counsel Corner.—The morning counsel corner is only a nurses' dressing room in a far corner of the hydrotherapy department, but many times that corner has become a center of inspiration to the supervisor. Here it is possible to come apart for a little heart-to-heart contact with the departmental group of nurses. Here a few minutes are devoted to silent prayer by each nurse for her own or other patients, followed by a group prayer, which is often the beautiful words found in "Ministry of Healing:" "Lord, help me to do my best. Teach me how to do better work. Give me energy and cheerfulness. Help me to bring into my work the loving ministry of the Saviour."
These are a few of the methods we have found successful in bringing physical and spiritual healing to those who come to the hydrotherapy department.