Quadrennial World Congress of Christian Nurses and Midwives highlights 'competent, compassionate, Christ-like care'

By Chris Eyte |
Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI) organized the World Congress of Christian Nurses and Midwives quadannual event at Casa Diocesana, Malaga, June 27-30.
300 Christian nurses and midwives from 40 countries came together for fellowship at the World Congress of Christian Nurses and Midwives in Malaga, Spain | NCFI

300 Christian nurses and midwives from 40 countries gathered together in Spain to explore strength and caring in the face of ongoing challenges in the profession. 

Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI) organized the World Congress of Christian Nurses and Midwives quadrennial event at Casa Diocesana, Malaga, June 27-30. 

Enfermeria Cristiana (Christian Nursing Spain) hosted the conference themed: “Strength and Courage to Care: God’s love; and resources for nurses and midwives.”

The theme reflected the “caring” heart, which is the foundation for the nursing profession and a recognition that both strength and courage are needed to nurse patients in today’s world, according to organizers. 

“At the conclusion of the congress, delegates went away feeling inspired, encouraged, and challenged to provide competent, compassionate, Christ-like nursing or midwifery care,” said Anne Biro, NCFI President and International Chairperson of the World Congress, who lives in Canada.

The event involved Bible expositions, panel discussions and workshops, and plenary sessions with previews of professional development courses courtesy of the NCFI International Institute of Christian Nursing. Participants also enjoyed a Spanish cultural evening that provided an opportunity for conversations and networking. 

Respected keynote speakers spoke on various aspects related to the ‘Covenant of Care’ nurses uphold on a daily basis when caring for patients and clients, whether in lower-income or higher-income countries. 

“Upholding this Covenant of Care includes engaging in self-care, including care of one another, to maintain the strength needed for their work,” said Biro. “Delegates were also challenged to be leaders in areas such as ethics, politics, and social engagement – with some speakers calling for delegates to help turn around the erosion of Christian values and beliefs that has occurred over the past century.” 

The keynote speakers included Dr. Wilfred McSherry, professor in nursing from Staffordshire University in England on the subject of  “Nurse-Patient Covenant to Care.”

Benson Owusu, a lecturer at the Dept. of Nursing in Central University, Accra, Ghana, spoke on “Courage to care in challenging times.” And Elcie Thoby, Dean of the School of Nursing at North Haiti Christian University, on “Strength to care during adversity.”

Meanwhile Dr Marsha Fowler, a senior fellow and professor of ethics, spirituality and faith integration at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, who is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, spoke on “Nursing Ethics: Covenant, Character and Relation.”

Fernando Ramos Pena, President of Enfermeria Cristiana, gave daily Bible talks on “Be Strong and Brave: Reflections from three Biblical narratives.” 

In her closing address at the end of the conference, Biro spoke to the nurses and midwives on the question “What about tomorrow?” The NCFI President encouraged participants, as they returned to “regular patterns” in homes and workplaces. She warned of the potential to forget following up with friends made at the event or positive resolutions made. 

Biro called on attendees to remember the importance of regularly accessing God’s love on a personal basis and utilize resources to be both strengthened and encouraged – with the effect of empowering the nursing professionals themselves and cared-for patients. 

At least 50 sessions ran concurrently exploring scientific research, experiential case studies and workshops helping the nurses and midwives gain new insights and skills helpful for their areas of expertise. 

Biro said the diversity of academics and bedside nurses, young and older, and from every populated continent, leant a greater depth to the discussions. She reported feedback from an unnamed nurse-academic who said the NCFI World Congress was “significantly different” to other professional nursing conferences. The relationships between colleagues really marked out the event positively, the academic said, as well as the high quality of the professional sessions. 

“The value and impact of these relationships was evident by the number of nurses who still come to NCFI World Congresses – even after their retirement,” pointed out Biro. 

“It was also evident among the younger generation – some of whom first met together online at the monthly prayer gathering for students and newly qualified nurses, and among nurse researchers and educators who are increasingly collaborating together in mutual areas of interest.

“The relationships that developed among those attending are part of what helps give strength and courage to care.”

The NCFI World Congress aims to equip and encourage Christian nurses to integrate Biblical principles and Christ-centered values in clinical practice, leadership, education, and research.

Apart from the World Congress, the NCFI also offers at least five training courses: Art & Science of Spiritual Care, Faith Community Nursing, Values Based Teaching, The Saline Process, and Biblical Leadership.

The organization also publishes a regular ‘Nursing Cares’ devotional, and organizes online prayer gatherings for nursing professionals, which helps to feed friendships and support amongst colleagues. 

NCFI is currently made up of 34 official member countries with contacts in other territories, which have a local fellowship and meet the membership criteria. 

Recordings of the main sessions from the NCFI 2024 World Congress are expected to be uploaded on YouTube in the last quarter of 2024.