Treating the Muslim patient

  1. 4 I'm still in my nursing prerequsite phase of college, but I have some concerns about treating Muslim patients and would like some clarification. I'm very eager to make sure my patients are comfortable with the level of care I provide and are comfortable with my role as a MALE nurse.

    Now, my first concern is that Muslims do not believe males should handle the role of the nurse and thus refuse to be treated by male nurses. Is this true? If so, how can I handle such a situation should it present itself?

    Should the above statement be false and Muslims do appreciate male nurses, what are their strict standards for giving them intimate care such as sponge baths and foley catheters? Do male and female Muslims have different requirements for their care?

    What other situations involve carefulness so as to avoid disrespecting their sensitive beliefs? Anything particular involving pediatric Muslim patients?

    I hope you can see that I want to come off as culturally competent and do not want to cause embarrassment or disrespect to any of my future patients. Part of the reason I'm taking a class on ASL and deaf culture.
    Last edit by Inspired By Silence on Oct 5, '09 : Reason: Grammar
  2. Visit  Inspired By Silence profile page

    About Inspired By Silence

    From 'Southern Oregon'; 24 Years Old; Joined Dec '08; Posts: 161; Likes: 135.

    65 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Junebugfairy profile page
    5
    i am not a muslim, but i have cared for muslim male and female patients.

    i always ask this "is there anything i can do to make sure your needs are met?" i always let a patient know that i am here to care for them, and i inform them that i am very respectful of their needs as muslim patients.

    i offer the same for everyone, but this is just my experience.

    muslim women value modesty, so they may prefer a female nurse for care that is more "personal" than a medication administration. this is not an insult to you, but simply a way that you can respect their needs.

    my policy is this "ask questions". no one is offended by answering questions and educating you about their needs, people become offended when you do not take their needs into account.

    i have experienced male muslim patients having respect for male nurses, because they too value modesty, and they may prefer having a male to assist in more 'personal care'.

    everyone is different, and it is always great to be culturally sensitive.
  4. Visit  whichone'spink profile page
    3
    From what little bit I know about the Muslim culture, I know that gender segregation is more or less in place. Female Muslims may not be comfortable with male care providers, and vice versa for male Muslims. It's good to ask first.
    sharpeimom, lindarn, and waterlily777 like this.
  5. Visit  frustratednewgradRN profile page
    20
    Hi...I'm muslim...so maybe I can help answer your question.

    First of all, thank you for asking such a question, it shows you have a caring personality.

    Muslims don't really have a view in regards to Males being care providers in general. However, given the high status modesty holds in the religion is preferred that a Male nurse not care for a female patient and vice versa. Nursing is a very intimate profession, we touch people and we see body parts that aren't usually seen in any other profession.

    It is likely if you pick or are assigned to a Muslim female patient, you will get turned away...don't take offense to it. I know many of my male classmates who have been turned away by female patients and they come complaining all frustrated and I tell them that its not a personal attack. Generally, Muslim women cover from men (head-to-toe) can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be to expose such body parts to a random stranger despite the fact that its no big deal to him?

    I know when I was in school, I would never pick a Muslim male as my patient because I know it would be an uncomfortable situation for him. So the rule of thumb is female nurses for female patients and male nurses for male patients.

    Hope that helps.
    Jarnaes, sparklie.lady, poopprincess, and 17 others like this.
  6. Visit  RedCell profile page
    8
    Muslim protoplasm is the same as any other human being. Treat them like you would any other patient. If they refuse your care....fine, let someone else pick up the slack. This is not something you encounter in the real world that often. Usually it is just an unlikely scenario nursing instructors enjoy wasting time on instead of teaching students useful information that actually improves care.

    If you are going to start worrying about muslim customs, you better start learning nursing considerations for sikhs, buddhists, shinto, scientologists, wiccans, the nation of yahweh, followers of the prince philip movement, the flying spaghetti monster (my personal favorite) and nuwaubians. Well, at least nuwaubianism has its roots in muslim culture so not too much to learn there. Start studying dude, there are a lot of sensitive people out there!
    Jarnaes, Rob72, bonn_bai, and 5 others like this.
  7. Visit  RNandRRT profile page
    6
    Quote from RedCell
    Muslim protoplasm is the same as any other human being. Treat them like you would any other patient. If they refuse your care....fine, let someone else pick up the slack. This is not something you encounter in the real world that often. Usually it is just an unlikely scenario nursing instructors enjoy wasting time on instead of teaching students useful information that actually improves care.

    If you are going to start worrying about muslim customs, you better start learning nursing considerations for sikhs, buddhists, shinto, scientologists, wiccans, the nation of yahweh, followers of the prince philip movement, the flying spaghetti monster (my personal favorite) and nuwaubians. Well, at least nuwaubianism has its roots in muslim culture so not too much to learn there. Start studying dude, there are a lot of sensitive people out there!

    RN in training, AKAnurse4, Cherish, and 3 others like this.
  8. Visit  waterlily777 profile page
    16
    I am Muslim as well, and I can tell you Muslims appreciate both men and women in all healthcare providers roles, whether it's nurse, doctor, paramedic etc.

    I also gave birth to three children, two of which in a hospital setting. Yes, I did ask for female nurses/doctors as a preference, but if the people available were males, I didn't make a fuss.

    If the situation necessitates it, 99.9% of Muslim patients will gladly accept care from a nurse of a different gender, it's just that they would prefer someone of the same gender if possible.

    Thank you so much for bringing this up!

    As far as studying the beliefs/preferences of a dozen or more religions/cultures, that would be nice, but not necessarily realistic... No matter who you are taking care of, just ask what they are more comfortable with in matters they have a choice in.

    That covers all the bases...

    Peace
    talaxandra, RN in training, TnRN43, and 13 others like this.
  9. Visit  waterlily777 profile page
    7
    to rttobern: no need for head bashing against a wall... :-)

    RedCell's response makes a lot sense too. He/she is just there to do his job and if some patients refuse his care, he'll go on to benefit the next patient who needs him.

    No biggie...
    bonn_bai, lindarn, MedSurgeMess, and 4 others like this.
  10. Visit  wooh profile page
    4
    Quote from waterlily777

    As far as studying the beliefs/preferences of a dozen or more religions/cultures, that would be nice, but not necessarily realistic... No matter who you are taking care of, just ask what they are more comfortable with in matters they have a choice in.
    There ya go. All you really need to know.
    lindarn, WarEagle4Life, Fiona59, and 1 other like this.
  11. Visit  rachelgeorgina profile page
    1
    As part of my nursing degree we took classes the the theory and practice of "cultural safety" and "culturally competent practice". I know it sounds wank-y and it certainly doesn't teach the needs and preferences of every single culture (though we did look at examples) this might be really helpful for you.
    lindarn likes this.
  12. Visit  rn/writer profile page
    14
    Quote from redcell
    muslim protoplasm is the same as any other human being. treat them like you would any other patient. if they refuse your care....fine, let someone else pick up the slack. this is not something you encounter in the real world that often. usually it is just an unlikely scenario nursing instructors enjoy wasting time on instead of teaching students useful information that actually improves care.

    on the contrary, in many cities cultural and religious considerations are coming up more and more often in day-to-day hospital care. i frequently have to order food trays for patients who don't speak english. knowing a little about various cultures means that i will not order ham or bacon for a somali patient. and i'm usually safe ordering chicken and rice for hispanic patients, even for breakfast.

    if you are going to start worrying about muslim customs, you better start learning nursing considerations for sikhs, buddhists, shinto, scientologists, wiccans, the nation of yahweh, followers of the prince philip movement, the flying spaghetti monster (my personal favorite) and nuwaubians. well, at least nuwaubianism has its roots in muslim culture so not too much to learn there. start studying dude, there are a lot of sensitive people out there!
    yes, you can go nuts trying to anticipate every nuance of cultural sensitivity to the point where you lose sight of your nursing responsibilities. but this kind of caring is more about attitude than memorizing pages of national and religious customs. this is especially true when you consider that there can be disagreement even within a single group about which rules apply and what exceptions can be made and when.

    what is more important is learning that differences do exist and understanding that part of our job is to help the patient find a balance between keeping their customs and being as open as possible to receiving the best of care.

    it's probably a good idea to ask the individuals what they need. not everyone who identifies with a particular group believes or behaves in the same way. indeed, members of the same congregation might judge each other harshly for choices they have made.

    rather than hurt your brain trying to "know" what's what, develop the habit of asking. many patients like to teach others about their customs. gradually, you will probably develop a mental database of the most common preferences, but there can still be surprises. many of my asian postpartum patients request warm drinking water (to replace the "heat" lost during childbirth), but every once in a while, i'll get one who rolls her eyes when i ask and says, "that's my mother's custom. i want ice water."

    be ready to accommodate (to a point), apologize if you inadvertently do something taboo, ask the patient to teach you about their customs, and have a good sense of humor.


    muslim protoplasm is the same as any other human being.
    yup. people are people the whole world over. we're more alike than we are different.



    talaxandra, SomedaySoonNY, Cherish, and 11 others like this.
  13. Visit  ellakate profile page
    0
    While working in radiation oncology, I had a lady patient who was getting radiation therapy to her pelvis. Her nephew stayed in the room during the pelvic exam by a male physician. The patient was comfortable with this. (I asked her.) During the procedure, I think that the nephew looked at a magazine. After she dressed, the doctor returned to share his findings with the lady and her nephew. A male family member almost always accompanied her. This was many years ago, and I didn't ever know my patient's ethnicity.
  14. Visit  SunnyAndrsn profile page
    1
    I would hope that your charge nurse is culturally competent when making assigments and would assign Muslim women to female nurses, and Muslim male pts. to male nursing staff.

    Quote from Inspired By Silence
    I'm still in my nursing prerequsite phase of college, but I have some concerns about treating Muslim patients and would like some clarification. I'm very eager to make sure my patients are comfortable with the level of care I provide and are comfortable with my role as a MALE nurse.

    Now, my first concern is that Muslims do not believe males should handle the role of the nurse and thus refuse to be treated by male nurses. Is this true? If so, how can I handle such a situation should it present itself?

    Should the above statement be false and Muslims do appreciate male nurses, what are their strict standards for giving them intimate care such as sponge baths and foley catheters? Do male and female Muslims have different requirements for their care?

    What other situations involve carefulness so as to avoid disrespecting their sensitive beliefs? Anything particular involving pediatric Muslim patients?

    I hope you can see that I want to come off as culturally competent and do not want to cause embarrassment or disrespect to any of my future patients. Part of the reason I'm taking a class on ASL and deaf culture.
    waterlily777 likes this.

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