August 8, 2020

Theology of Nursing: Preliminary Thoughts on Method for Developing a Theology of Nursing

As I’ve said previously, I view my life as a “form of ministry in response to my Creator,” including my career in nursing. I don’t take this understanding lightly. Instead, it declares to me the gravity of things as they are, even at times when I fail to behave accordingly. Given the importance of this realization, it makes sense that I should have some thoughts about the methods by which I seek to deepen my understanding of theological and philosophical issues related to nursing. That’s what I’d like to discuss this week.

There are many lenses through which to view the nature and content of theology. The same is true of nursing. By saying that, I’m not referring specifically to various aspects of my personal background. Rather, there are many possible organizations of knowledge within Christian theology, including systematic, historical, biblical, and practical theology. As I develop a theology of nursing, I will no doubt utilize methods appropriate to any or all of these means of organizing thought.

The content of a theology of nursing should weave the contingent realities of nursing together with the ultimate reality of God.

In addition, there are innumerable connections between theology and philosophy and the field of nursing. Essentially, everything is fair game for discussion and exploration. So, I’ll be casting a wide net for ideas to trace these connections, and I’ll be looking for analogies, or similarities of form, between theology and nursing.

Last week, I touched on the topic of the order of being in reference to the ultimate necessary reality of God and the many contingent realities of the created world. The content of a theology of nursing should weave the contingent realities of nursing together with the ultimate reality of God. I’ll attempt to do justice to this principle as I move forward.

The shape of a theology of nursing should reflect the nature of man as a created being in relation to his Creator.

Nursing has so often been discussed in terms of holistic and person-centered care that it seems to be a form of practical anthropology. This notion and many others have been supported through models of nursing that account for religion and spirituality in addition to the physiological, psychological, and social dimensions. Further, the very work of nursing is carried out to uphold the flourishing of human beings.

In a real sense, then, the shape of a theology of nursing should reflect the nature of man as a created being in relation to his Creator. In this way, it must be similar in form to the view mentioned previously of life as a “form of ministry in response to [one’s] Creator.”

These are only preliminary thoughts on the methods of developing a theology of nursing. Along with these thoughts, I’ll need a road map or at least some idea of the general direction and order of pursuit of ideas. However, at this time, I find the stops on the journey more difficult to articulate than these principles that will guide my pursuit. Hence, my discussion of method before route. I hope to rectify this in the very near future. Stay tuned.

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