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California Preceptorship Helps Student Blend Nursing, Faith

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Junior Sydney Wergin spent five weeks in California at a preceptorship that incorporated her faith and nursing interest.
Wergin (pictured in the back row, second right) says her experience will help her assess patients on a deeper level.

Sydney Wergin is an aspiring nurse.

She is also very passionate about her faith. Luckily for the junior from Aurora, Neb., Nebraska Wesleyan University helped her find an opportunity to merge both interests.

Wergin was selected for a five-week preceptorship in southern California this summer.

For the past 16 years, the Christian organization, Medical Strategic Network, has granted students and healthcare professionals the opportunity to work in the field and practice faith in a unique way. Together, students learn how to ethically complete spiritual assessments on patients and have spiritual conversations.

"Spirituality is a key part of assessing patients, as it can have a great affect on a person's health,” said Wergin. “It's important for healthcare providers to understand the link that forms between our physical health to our spiritual."

After sitting through lessons on implementing spirituality into healthcare, Wergin and other students applied what they learned out in the field. Together they worked with patients at Loma Linda Medical Center, holding prayers and spiritual conversations while completing assessments. 

Wergin and her colleagues had the opportunity to shadow professionals including family practitioners and mental health professionals who utilize faith in their everyday responsibilities. In closing weeks Wergin tested her newfound knowledge and taught other healthcare students about faith and medicine.

Her experience left nothing unexplored. Wergin has returned to campus with more experience in nursing and spirituality and greater confidence in pursuing a career utilizing both passions.

"I know that I will be able to assess my patients' emotional and spiritual needs on a much deeper level than I would have been able to before as a nursing student and as a nurse in the future,” she said. “I believe that I will be able to talk with my patients with much more ease." 

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Story by Quinn Hullett, public relations intern.