The general purpose of the organization of Seventh-day Adventist schools of nursing is to graduate missionary and professional nurses. One of the greatest reasons for our threefold educational system is expressed in the book Education: "He [God] presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe ; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above."—Page 59.
What a challenge to our educational system is presented in this instruction ! Let us take inventory of our students and those who have gone from our schools. Have we so prepared them in the threefold message that in the spirit of sacrifice they are willing to work in God's vineyard ? Has each student been so acceptable in the sight of Heaven that a passport will be given to enter the higher school above? If this fails to be true in our schools of nursing, we have yet much to accomplish. With sin having its sway in the earth, it behooves us to prayerfully seek the guidance and counsel of the Perfect One who overcame sin, and who has prepared our program of education.
Our problem presents many angles which we must consider, study, and try to understand. Not many years ago the need for graduate nurses in our ranks was small ; consequently, many entered other fields of work, thereby losing contact with denominational work. In so doing some became careless, and gave up their church affiliation.
With the increased demands for nurses in recent .years, it has been possible to direct new graduates into our own medical work. The present situation now deals with this problem of directing graduate nurses into the many branches of our medical work. It is desirable that they be made to feel a responsibility, not only to enter it, but to make a definite contribution in the line of service for which they are particularly fitted and most interested. This contribution should be measured, not only in professional output, but also in the religious and spiritual experience of the individual.
Because of the great need for nurses today, there is liable to be a slackening of standards on the part of administrators, by keeping those in denominational employ who are not living in harmony with our principles. But when this is done, it hinders the Lord's work.
The direction of the student should begin before entrance into the school. "Those selected to take the nurses' course in our sanitariums should be wisely chosen. Young girls of a superficial mold of character should not be encouraged to take up this work."—Counsels on Health, p. 590. With the great need for more nurses, are we letting down the standards by lightly considering the entrance requirements of students, so that our quotas may be reached ? It is not always easy to judge a student's aptitude for nursing, or her religious experience, by application information and recommendations. However, when a student's name is in question, prayerful consideration should be given, so that we may not err. The responsibility for the direction of the students rests with each member connected with the school.
"The influence of the sanitarium family should be a united influence, each member seeking to become a power for good in that department in which he labors. If this result is obtained, there must first be a weeding out of every lame principle; then the workers can hope to succeed in perfecting themselves as Christian workers."—Medical Ministry, 202, 203.
Personal Conferences.—There are many ways in which this influence and direction can be given during the education of student nurses. Let us examine the list of activities which will help. Personal conferences with each student by the director of the school, at regular intervals, are an aid. At this time the professional and spiritual life of the student can be discussed.
Encouragement should be given tostimulate the student in avenues of desirable activity. A friendly and sympathetic spirit should pervade the conferences, so that the student feels free to bring her problems for solution.
"If those who hold positions of trust in the institution are persons who love and fear God, they will realize that a sacred responsibility is theirs, because of the measure of authority and the consequent influence which their position gives them. . . They should be kind and courteous, ever exercising Christian politeness to all with whom they are brought in contact, both believers and unbelievers."—Id., p. 205.
A personal counselor for each student may help her feel freer to go to someone with her problems. A sympathetic individual, interested in young people, should be chosen for this work. The counselor can also keep before the student the opportunities for missionary nursing and give her encouragement to prepare to enter such work.
Integrated Curriculum.—An integration of the basic principles of the denominational health message into every area of the curriculum is another way in which to keep the objectives of a missionary professional nurse constantly before the student.
Tired, worn-out students with a heavy work and class program lose interest in attending religious services. "Do not allow the helpers to overwork. . . . It is most inconsistent with the principles on which our sanitariums are founded for the nurses to be allowed to break down in their work."—Id., p. 212. It is up to the leaders to so arrange the students' programs that they have the privilege of attending religious services. It is also our duty to see that they avail themselves of the privilege.
Equal Opportunities.—In missionary activities the students are not always given equal opportunities to take part. We tend to let the students with ability repeatedly take part in the various programs. On the other hand, those with less ability are seldom asked, or even encouraged, to do so.
Medical Missionary Activities.—Stress should be made throughout the basic professional course concerning the various fields of service open to the graduate nurse. This is usually accomplished in a very definite way in the course of Professional Adjustment II classwork. Integrating medical missionary activities throughout the curriculum will result in better preparation of the senior nurse before she enters her study of the opportunities available for missionary nurses. If the students in the schools of nursing can constantly be kept aware of the needs and opportunities for missionary nurses, it will tend to develop a desire to enter into such service.
Nurses who manifest ability in their work, and who seem to possess the qualifications which suggest that they may become successful missionaries, should be guided - into those experiences which will further develop such qualities. Administrators should be alert in recognizing opportunities to foster, and individuals who would qualify for, this important phase of the message. Utilizing the visit of a returned missionary motivates students' interest in foreign service.
Advanced Study.—Our nurses should be encouraged to pursue advanced study. Sometimes it is a problem to know just how the desire for this can be created. However, "God's Word does not repress activity, but guides it aright. God does not bid the youth to be less aspiring. The elements of character that make a man truly successful and honored among men,—the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous application, the untiring perseverance,—are not to be discouraged. By the grace of God they are to be directed to the attainments of objects as much higher than mere selfish and worldly interests as the heavens are higher than the earth."—Ministry of Healing, p. 396.
Contacting Alumni.—In considering this subject we cannot feel that it is complete unless some attention is given to the alumni of the schools of nursing. It is advised that an effort be made to keep a complete and up-to-date file of all alumni in the school of nursing office. This information is advantageous in contacting the entire group. If something can go out from the school regularly in the form of an alumni paper or bulletin, so that graduates can be kept in touch with their school and its progress and the need for missionary nurses, enough interest may be created to cause many to re-enter medical missionary work.
In our busy programs of today let us not forget the encouragement needed to direct not only student nurses but also graduate nurses into the work of God's vineyard. It requires both time and effort, but the result will be worthwhile and satisfying, as present nursing needs will be met with greater ease, and, finally, the great purpose for which our schools were established can be realized.