Every day the elderly British man pushing his wife along in a wheelchair stopped by the coffee shop in the mall where Christine was working while her nursing license was finalized. As usual, he reached for his hot chocolate from Christine. That day he suddenly fell back and became unresponsive.
Like a blur, Christine sped around the counter, joined by another nurse who happened to be nearby. Realizing the man had just suffered a heart attack, they began taking turns giving him chest compressions and administering a defibrillator until the paramedics arrived. Christine, a 2013 nursing grad, had been trained for instances like this.
As a young girl growing up in England, Christine envisioned becoming a veterinarian or a fighter pilot. Then she read Hudson Taylor’s missionary biography and was impressed that he chose to talk, dress, and become like the Chinese people in order to reach them. She felt the Lord was calling her to be a medical missionary to China. “What I love about medical missions is that people are more likely to listen to you if you have something to help or give them,” she said.
When Christine told her mom that she was going to PCC to study nursing, her mom said, “Finally!” Christine knew it was her calling to use her skills, nature, and personality to help others. She started her freshman year of college in 2009 inspired and ready to do whatever the Lord would lead even if it meant heading to a mission field.
While PCC’s nursing program taught Christine how to become a nurse, her instructors taught her the importance of being faithful. Even her English classes helped prepare her to keep accurate records for her patients.
As a student, Christine promised herself never to work in the cardiac/telemetry floor. “I was scared of it and strongly disliked anything related to it,” she said. The heart monitors, stress tests, and EKG’s made that area of nursing daunting. Also, a patient’s improvement heavily depended on teaching them new habits which took time to learn before seeing changes. But the more Christine helped out on this floor, the more interested she became. She cannot really explain what changed, only that she gives God full credit for changing her perspective. “It was like a puzzle,” she said, “learning about procedures and medications to heal a patient.”
During the interview at the hospital where Christine now serves in North Dakota, the nurse interviewing wanted her specifically on her cardiac/telemetry floor. Christine said, “God used an area that was not my strength to make a difference in other people’s lives.” Now Christine can honestly say, “This job is amazing. This is my most favorite job. I can only put that up to God. He put that desire there. When you’re surrendered, He can change your heart.”
Christine learned that being a nurse is less about knowing everything but more about showing care and compassion for people. “I often get told in my job I can be trusted,” Christine said. “I am often my patient’s greatest advocate.”
Before returning to the States, Christine worked in an Australian hospital for a year. For a time, she worked in comfort care, caring for patients during their final moments. She remembers a family of a particular elderly woman that was ready to slip away. Unresponsive, she lay in her bed, surrounded by her family. Christine encouraged the family that she could still hear and feel them even if she didn’t seem to. They stayed all night, talking to her and holding her hand. The next morning while the family decided to have breakfast, Christine took a turn to bathe the lady, brushing her hair, singing, praying, and even sharing the gospel with her.
A week after she had passed away, the woman’s daughters came in to thank her; they gave her a gift and burst into tears, hugging Christine. Their gratitude made her feel like she had done much more than she actually had. “People appreciate that you can hug or pat them on their shoulder,” she said.
While still in England, Christine crossed paths with the elderly man from the coffee shop again. He was doing well and had since received a pacemaker. “I realized that the ultimate adventure would be to live within God’s will,” said Christine. “He has led me literally all the way around the circumference of this planet and back to the United States.”
Christine is trusting the Lord for her next great adventure: getting married to Benjamin Micklin (’10) and whatever the Lord has next for them.