Nursing and belief in the supernatural

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    hey guys, not trying to be controversial or off topic here, but what role do supernatural experiences, or even just patients beliefs therein, play in your nursing? I know it has no role in medical science itself, but obviously a lot of hospitals recognize that the spiritual is relevant to patient care. (for the record I'm also very clear that the patient comes first and pushing my worldview on them is a major no-no)

    I'm definitely not trying to start an argument or change anybody's worldview, but my last job before nursing school was at a charming, historical, but overtly haunted hotel. I'm a scientifically minded person, but I definitely had some weird experiences...we're talking poltergeist level here, and the majority of the staff had similar ones. often several of us were around to see the same thing. it was often relevant to taking care of our guests, when they'd bring it up on their own.

    my question is this: for those of you who do believe in this sort of thing, how do you cope with experiences of this nature? nurses are around death all the time, but I doubt anybody will talk about this particular aspect of it in nursing school. at my last job ghosts and people's belief therein sometimes played a significant role in caring for the people staying with us...I'm curious if anybody has had this experience in a hospital setting. we had some downright scary things happening connected to only one death decades ago, so I'm wondering what a hospital will be like.

    even for those who are skeptical, do patients who are believers ever bring this up with you? how do you deal with it? even had I thought they were crazy (and sometimes I did) people would talk with me about this all the time. if some of these hospitals have nuns trooping through them all the time, I'm sure I can't be alone in my experience of the spiritual in the workplace...
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    Personally? I am a metaphysically inclined agnostic. Professionally? I am nothing. I am neither atheist nor Christian nor Muslim nor Pagan- I am completely neutral, and open to discussion and sharing any patients belief system, if requested, for the duration of my caring for them. To coworkers- I am nothing and will not discuss the issue- period.

    If the issue of poltergeist activity comes up- I will go so far as to say something like "Yep- that sure is weird" and leave it at that. To me, religion/metaphysics and work do not mix.

    On a personal level- if *I* were bothered, I'd handle it privately.
    flyingchange likes this.
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    Well, anyone who considers themselves religious or spiritual, believes in the supernatural, so it's a rather large issue.

    To reply to the previous post: I work on a 12 hour nightshift where the first and last 3 hours are hectic and the middle 6 are much quieter. To say we mix politics and religion in our conversation in the wee hours of the morning would be an understatement. I sometimes blush, and that's saying a lot. There's nothing we haven't discussed from politics & religion to race & sex. That's nightshift at the hospital. There's a camaraderie there not unlike a military barracks.

    As far as engaging a pt in such conversation, it depends on the pt. Talking politics with some redneck pt whom you agree with is a little different than discussing religion with someone with whom you cannot relate. But I don't shy away from conversation with pts.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Be careful- that "barracks camaraderie" can get you reamed. If a patient poses a complaint- it's your job on the line and telling the higher ups that "that's just the "barracks camaraderie" we have on the night shift" won't salvage that situation. You may think the patients are all asleep- but that doesn't mean they *are*- and if they overhear you....

    Also- I would not shy away from a discussion of that nature with a patient- providing THEY initiated it, and it was related to *their* beliefs/opinions/ideas. Nursing isn't about OUR beliefs/ideas/opinions- it is about the patient/resident/client. As to coworkers- I would engage the discussion by asking more about what the one/s who have shared were talking about, but not share my own views- because I find doing so highly unprofessional. Would I complain about them? No- it's just outside of my professional comfort zone.

    I would also say that if one has any ideas of advancing in their position- it would probably be a good idea to keep it outside of *their* professional comfort zone as well... MHO.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Recently, the other hospital system in our city was in the news. It centered on some odd happenings in their PICU. The doors (which had to be activated by a badge or someone inside the unit) would keep opening. A mom in the unit had been praying for her child, who was dying. An apparition, seemingly in the traditional form of an angel was captured on the mom's camera phone after several attempts.

    I also received these pictures via email. I know people who work there and have no reason to question their integrity. We just ask that the angel come visit us ... we really need him.

    BTW, the child recovered. Began just after the angel was sighted.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Quote from VORB
    Well, anyone who considers themselves religious or spiritual, believes in the supernatural
    Explanation please?
  10. 0
    Quote from BroadwayRN
    Explanation please?
    ::
    Supernatural:
    of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe.
  11. 1
    Quote from feralnostalgia
    I'm sure I can't be alone in my experience of the spiritual in the workplace...
    Heh, you might be interested in the "Whats your best nursing ghost story?" thread. It's currently about 147 pages of nursing ghost story goodness. (Seriously, there are some freaky stories in there.)
    feralnostalgia likes this.
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    Quote from Rhone
    Heh, you might be interested in the "Whats your best nursing ghost story?" thread. It's currently about 147 pages of nursing ghost story goodness. (Seriously, there are some freaky stories in there.)
    cool thanks, I'll check it out.

    and to everybody above - I definitely know not to bring it up or to push anything on patients, just curious.


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