Clinical Education,  Education,  Faith,  God,  Nursing,  Nursing School

How To Pray Before Starting a Clinical Day

Folks, I am so excited to announce that I am going to be working for a local University in the fall as a clinical educator! I am also going to be working in the simulation lab for an intensive palliative care course. I can’t wait to get back to being with students, which has to be my favourite part of nursing.

So, in light of this, I was thinking back to my student nurse days and how I used to prepare for the start of my clinical day. This almost always included prayer. Here are a few prayers you can pray before you start your clinical day:

The Lord’s Prayer

Ok, this one is a classic. If you don’t know it, I’m going to assume you are either not a Christian, or haven’t been a Christian for very long. Either way, welcome here! I’m so glad you came! You can view a version of the Lord’s Prayer here.

For the rest of us old fogies, this one is old hat, but so important. In the protestant tradition, we may be used to more (what my Catholic husband calls) “freestyle prayers” but sometimes returning to these very intentional prayers can be extremely beneficial and here’s why:

  • It can focus our attention: Going back to basics in terms of prayer can remind us of the basics of our faith. Namely, that Jesus is Lord, that He is good to us, and that His Kingdom is what we are working for.
  • It covers everything: The Lord’s prayer is so important because it is how Jesus taught us to pray. It gives us a formula on how to structure our own prayers. It starts off with worship of God, then it goes on to petitions, it asks for our forgiveness, and to be made right with God and with others and ends in an acknowledgement of God’s power and authority.
  • It is easy to remember: If you are stressed about clinical, sometimes all you can do is go back to what you know. Because this prayer is usually so ingrained in us at a young age, you should be able to recall it under even the most stressful situations.

The Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

This one might not be as well known as the Lord’s Prayer, but I bet most people know it. If you don’t, here it is:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is dispair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;  
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.  
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  

St. Francis Assisi

This one was a big one for me when I was going through a particularly difficult pediatric clinical rotation. So many points in this prayer feel deeply linked to nursing and giving of ourselves for the benefit of others. Cling to this one, it’s a gooder.

The Prayer for Healing Ministries

I come from the Anglican tradition and we use (well sometimes) something called The Book of Common Prayer. The book was originally published in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer (who my dad, the Anglican priest, wanted to name me after if I’d been a boy. Dodged that bullet with that handy second X chromosome). This book contains a lot of old language, but I have clung to the prayers contained inside it ever since I got my own copy at my confirmation in 1997. This one is particularly important to me now:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue, we beseech thee, this his gracious work among us; cheer, heal, and sanctify the sick; grant to the physicians, surgeons, and nurses wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; and send down thy blessing upon all who labour to prevent suffering and to forward thy purposes of love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer, 1962 ed.

To forward thy purposes of love is something we should all be striving for in our work.

I hope that these suggestions helped and maybe served as a launching off point! It is so important to start off any big endeavour with prayer, and clinical is certainly a big endeavour. Whatever the circumstances, remember that you are never alone and that God has always gone before you, making a way.

Do you have any prayers that you like to use to prepare for a clinical day?

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