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A Christian Vision of Nursing
April 13 , 2006

An upcoming conference at Calvin College hopes to change the way the health care profession thinks about the intersections of faith and nursing.

"Transforming Care: A Christian Vision of Nursing Practice" is being presented by the Calvin department of nursing, the Lilly Foundation, the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company and the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship.

It will be held Wednesday, April 26 from 9 am to 4 pm in the Prince Conference Center at Calvin. The cost is $100 and includes a copy of a new book from Calvin and Eerdmans called "Transforming Care: A Christian Vision of Nursing Practice." The book was written by eight current and former Calvin professors, including professor of nursing Mary Molewyk Doornbos.

The keynote speaker for the day's events will be Verna Benner Carson, an expert on spirituality and spiritual care in nursing. She was an associate professor of psychiatric nursing for 21 years at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She will speak on "Christianity: What Impact Does It or Should It Have on the Profession of Nursing."

Also presenting talks will be Allen Verhey, a professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School, and Johanna Selles, an assistant professor of Christian education at the University of Toronto's Emmanuel College.

Calvin's Mary Flikkema, a professor of nursing, says the conference is meant to help nurses and others in healthcare better understand, and articulate, how the Christian faith can inform and structure practice in health care settings. It also is intended to explore everyday ethical challenges found in combining work and faith. And, she says, she hopes the conference helps attendees discuss ways in which a health care vocation constitutes a holy calling.

The conference is aimed not just at nurses, says Flikkema.

"We believe it will be beneficial to nurses," she says, "but also to other health professionals, health educators and to social workers."

The upcoming conference, says Flikkema, is a natural outgrowth of the Calvin nursing program which has at its core this seemingly simple statement: "The Calvin College Department of Nursing, in sharing the mission of Calvin College, seeks to engage in professional nursing education that promotes lifelong Christian service within a caring and diverse educational community."

Calvin's degree in nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).