“For most medical students, the transition at graduation to junior doctor is exciting, stressful, challenging... For me (and many of my Christian peers) it raised two extra faith-related challenges. The first was how to work with integrity, striving to do my work to the glory of God and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. This was hard in the busy, efficiency-driven, hierarchical, medical work environment with difficult work colleagues and difficult patients! The second challenge was around ethics in healthcare. In medical school I was taught medical ethics and in God’s word I was taught the inherent value of human life and of compassion and empathy. Now that I had the title of doctor, these things practically combined in end-of-life discussions, my prescribing, treatment decisions, how I talked with patients, opportunities to pray with patients. I had to practically decide how to honour God in my practice and how to “follow Christ” in the hospital corridors and clinic rooms. Being a member of CMFnz was a great help during this time as it linked me with other Christian doctors of all ages to talk these challenges through, debrief challenging cases, and support each other when things didn’t go well.”
“The other day I was reading through the book, Foundations – a survival guide for junior doctors, and came across a quote that said, “Fellowship with other believers is vital to surviving and thriving as a junior doctor”(1). This made me stop, and think… “How has this statement applied to me?”
On reflection, starting as a junior doctor was exciting because I finally got to help others but it at the same time it was daunting because of the responsibility it entailed. Since then long days and long weeks have been (and still can be) tiring. At times workload, colleagues, patients and their families, have seemed demanding or overwhelming. And uncertainty about diagnoses, prognoses and determining God’s calling have been stressful. But there have also been beautiful opportunities to share with and in the lives of patients and their families.
It is within this context that I have really appreciated fellowship with fellow believers. For me fellowship has occurred with family and friends, at church and work, but it has also occurred at local, national and international CMF gatherings. Indeed, the opportunity to talk, listen, learn, laugh, cry, give thanks, voice frustration, sing praises and pray together has been refreshing, relieving and rejuvenating. The opportunity to hear from and share alongside fellow Christian health professionals has been particularly encouraging as our connection and understanding goes deeper than simply medical science or faith alone.
I am aware that work, study, exams, frequent moves around the country or the world, the prospect of fame or fortune, relationships, and other distractions can eat away at, replace, or make Christian fellowship difficult. But as Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” So, if you feel disconnected and/or would like more information about fellowship (in particular, how you can connect with, support, or be encouraged by others), I encourage you to refer to the following articles: “Finding Christian fellowship,” which can be found in Foundations – a survival guide for junior doctors (2), or “Choosing a church” (3). Alternatively, you could meet up and pray with some of your colleagues at university or work; attend church or a Bible study; be a part of CMFnz’s student groups in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin; attend one of CMFnz’s regional event’s in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin; or come to CMFnz’s national conference, 2019 Reflect, from 17-19 May 2019 in Dunedin.
A key part of the success of CMFnz is in the sense of community and family support that comes from members of all ages and stages. The CMFnz community hosted special church services in both Auckland and Dunedin to celebrate and bless the graduating Christian medical students. At the end of 2018 for the first time, we invited all medical students who were graduating, along with their family, colleagues and support people, as well as all CMFnz members to attend these special services on the occasion of graduation.
We prayed and worshiped together, and enjoyed talking together over refreshments afterwards. We are keen host these services each year and invite all local CMFnz members and supporters to join together in celebrations for the graduates and offer a sense of community and blessing as they embark on the next step of their medical journey.
To continue supporting junior doctors, CMFnz needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations or email [email protected]