Manuscript Releases, vol. 7 [Nos. 419-525]


MR No. 447—Qualifications of Nurses for SDA Health Institutions

I have tried to present before you what kind of an influence should be exerted in our institutions for the benefit of sick and suffering humanity. You who seem to think that it would be a wonderfully grand and easy matter to bring into existence an institution for invalids or guests, will you consider this matter from a religious bearing, from a Christian standpoint? Where are your missionary workers who will put self out and make God supreme? Where are self-denying, self-sacrificing men and women who see and sense what such an institution demands, and in accordance with the light God has given me, go to work on right principles? Who will seek the way of the Lord, who will be entreated, who will be corrected, who will not build up self at the expense of demeriting others? And who will make Christ first and best in everything? An institution started or conducted on any other principles will prove a curse rather than a blessing in these perilous times.... 7MR 128.1

The sanitarium at Battle Creek has been built up under a pressure of difficulties. There have had to be measures taken, contracts signed by those whom they engage as helpers, that they will remain a certain number of years. This has been a positive necessity. After help has been secured, and after considerable painstaking effort, they have become efficient workers, wealthy patients have held out inducements of better wages to secure them as nurses for their own special benefit, and take them to their homes. And these helpers would leave the sanitarium and go with them, without taking at all into consideration the labor that has been put forth to qualify them for efficient workers. This has not been the case in one or two instances, but in many cases. Then people have come as patrons from other institutions that are not conducted on religious principles, and in a most artful manner have tolled away the help by promising to give them higher wages. 7MR 128.2

Physicians have apostatized from the faith and from the institution, and have left because they could not have their own way in everything. Some have been discharged, and after obtaining the sympathy of some of the helpers and those employed in the institution and some of the patients, have tolled them away; and after being at great expense, and trying their own ways and methods to the best of their ability, they have made a failure, closed up, incurred debts that they could not meet. This has been tried again and again. 7MR 129.1

Justice and righteousness have had no part in their movements. “The way of the Lord” has not been chosen, but their own way. They beguiled the unwary and made an easy conquest of those who love change. They are too much blinded to consider the right and wrong of this course, and too reckless to care. It has been necessary in the sanitarium at Battle Creek to make contracts binding those who connect with them as helpers, so that if they educate and train them as nurses, as bath-hands, and even advance money to some special ones that they may obtain a medical education, that they may have some use of them afterwards. Dr. Kellogg has placed hopes upon some of these that they would relieve him of responsibilities that have rested most heavily upon him. Some have become uneasy and dissatisfied because some who have started institutions in other parts of the country have tried to flatter and induce them to come to their sanitarium and they would do much better by them. In this way they have made the workers—some of them, at least—uneasy, unsettled, self-sufficient, and unreliable, even if they did not disconnect from the sanitarium, because they felt there were openings for them elsewhere.—Manuscript 14, 1888, 6-8. (Untitled, February 1, 1888.) 7MR 129.2

That we may be fruitful in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of God, we are “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” Let the nurses consider these words. Those who care for the sick should not go about with long faces, condoling with those who are suffering. Cheer them with words of comfort, hope, and joyfulness. Tell them that in Jesus Christ they have a greater Physician than any one connected with the Sanitarium. Let them understand that you who give them treatment are only finite beings, but that you have a living connection with God, and are there to help them to co-operate with Him in combating disease. Tell them that this institution is an object of the prayers of God's people. Show that God has filled your hearts with sympathy and tenderness for every suffering individual who is here. 7MR 130.1

Fasten your faith upon Christ, who in giving His life for you has so plainly evidenced His love. That your joy may be full, He offers to share with you His glorious power. Be joyful in the Lord. At times you will have opportunity to softly sing the praises of our God, helping the sin-sick soul to accept by faith the words, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”—Manuscript 102, 1901, 3. (Sermon, September 21, 1901.) 7MR 130.2

A great deal of harm has been done by admitting to our sanitariums persons of superficial character. Those who should be vigilant stewards are not watchful and discriminating. God calls for a decided change. 7MR 131.1

Those who are admitted as nurses should be firm in the faith. No trifling ones, no persons of superficial character are to be taken in for one light, frivolous mind may be used by Satan to do mischief which few can anticipate. Such ones misrepresent the high standard of righteousness. There are those who are easily influenced by them, and together, by their foolish talking, their loud laughing, their love of amusements, they injure the reputation of the institution. The patients are disgusted by their indecorous conduct. Those who have any part to act in our sanitariums are to be circumspect. They are to act like men and women who carry grave responsibilities.—Manuscript 104, 1901, 5, 6. (“The Need of a Reform,” October 8, 1901.) 7MR 131.2

We need to take a higher spiritual view of the work of God. Great care should be taken in the selection of young people to connect with our sanitariums as nurses. We cannot afford to accept every one who is ready to come. Great injury is done to our medical institutions when there are connected with them those who do not understand what it means to do service to God. 7MR 131.3

Frivolous young people are not to be chosen to act a part in the Lord's work. No one is to be accepted merely to favor relatives or acquaintances. Those who prepare the food should thoroughly understand how to prepare wholesome, appetizing food. And those who carry the trays are to realize the influence they should exert on those whom they serve. Those only should be selected for any branch of the work who will exert a sanctified influence. 7MR 131.4

To our sanitariums all classes of the sick will come, and by our physicians and nurses they are to be led to realize that they need spiritual help as well as physical restoration. They are to be given every advantage for the restoration of physical health, and they should be shown also what it means to be blessed with the light and life of Christ, what it means to be bound up with Him. They are to be led to see that the grace of Christ in the soul uplifts the whole being. And in no better way can they learn of Christ's life than by seeing it revealed in the lives of His followers.—Letter 287, 1905, pp. 6, 7. (To “Promoters of the Canon City Sanitarium,” October 2, 1905.) 7MR 132.1

The Lord desires to make every physician and every nurse a minister of healing. Seek to give to the sick the highest kind of knowledge by bringing to their understanding the lessons of the word of truth. Pray with them and for them. Thus while you bring them back to life and help by ministering to their physical needs, you may win them to Christ to be partakers of the life that is eternal.—Manuscript 57, 1912, 1. (“The Privilege of the Ministry,” August 13, 1912.) 7MR 132.2

Released September 2, 1975.