When is it ethical to talk about religion with a patient? - page 5

I was talking with a collegue the other day and she described a conversation with a pt where it sounds as if she were basically evangelizing. Now I had been told by my pastor (Catholic priest), who... Read More

  1. by   AliRae
    Quote from RN ColbyJack
    For me, one of my most important roles as a nurse is to assess and respond to the spiritual and emotional needs of my patients. (My patients' needs, not my own) ... Isn't our job to support our patients in understanding and clarifying their own answers, or at the least to allow space for that?
    tnbutterfly already agreed, but i'm going to second (or third) it ... it's the patient's needs we're dealing with. I think that's where a lot of people forget themselves in arenas like politics and religion. They're such core issues to many people out there that it's hard to put them aside when we don our scrubs. I know I have to fight against myself at times when I'm supporting a family in a religious or spiritual practice that I don't agree with. But hey ... I signed up for it. As I said to my doped-up scoli today as I wiped her bum, "Hey baby, this is why I get paid the big bucks." Maybe it was the dilaudid, but she sure laughed.
  2. by   leslie :-D
    whenever i speak with my hospice patients about end of life/afterlife concerns, that my 'stated' beliefs are as gen'l as possible. in other words, if my particular religion had certain doctrine(s) that could potentially reject certain members of the human race, i wouldn't share it with pts for my goal is to make them feel as safe, secure and loved as they leave this life. no matter what, it is critical that everyone (and i do mean everyone) dies w/o fear or trepidation. for those who believe in a God, what could be more comforting than to know one is universally embraced and cherished, w/o the fear of rejection or judgment? it should be all about pt needs...

    leslie
  3. by   GardenDove
    So many people made great contributions to this thread, this is a great website. Nurses are the greatest!
  4. by   tnbutterfly
    Quote from GardenDove
    So many people made great contributions to this thread, this is a great website. Nurses are the greatest!
    Yes it is great that, although many of us have differing beliefs and opinions, we can come together here and discuss this. Hopefully this will make all of us more open to try to base our care on our patients' needs and not on our own needs. After all....this is what we as nurses are trained to do.....to meet the needs of our patients.
  5. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from AliRae

    As to the baptism question ... if a baby is Jewish and a Catholic person sprinkles some water on it, does that make the baby Catholic? I think, provided God is omniscent and omnipotent, as most people of monotheistic faith will agree, He can figure it all out, no?
    I'm afraid the point opposing this practice, presented by caroladybelle and TrudyRN was missed. It isn't that G-d gets confused. It's that it's a highly personal, private decision that is either removed from the parents or invaded upon because of the NURSE'S personal choices. The nurse's personal religious choices have absolutely no place when one is caring for others, and particularly if that nurse is aware that the intrusion is unwelcome.
  6. by   RNsRWe
    On the few occasions where religion is brought into the room between a patient and myself, or amongst family members and myself, I am always very careful in how I respond. If I know the family (or whomever I am speaking with) has expressed a particular religious faith, and it's not mine, I let them know I am more a spiritual person than a religious one; I put more faith in G-d as a divine entity than I do in following each specific practice as outlined in my faith. In this way I have not negated their religious choices nor possibly alienated them by expressing my own. My desire is to be of comfort to that patient and/or family when they need it, not give them concern that they can't be open with me, or that I "don't get it" because I am not of the same faith.

    I recently had a patient die, and was with the family for many long hours beforehand. They requested Last Rites as well as held hands and prayed many times. When I was nearby (when entering to provide care or whatever) , I stood quietly, respectfully. I did not partake, but I doubt the family noticed. It was all about THEM, as it should be.

    If one thinks about it, the patient and/or family is never REALLY interested in what the Nurse thinks about faith, are they? They merely want support for what THEY think. And being a bit vague about my own beliefs has always worked for that: people hear what they want to hear, and my conscious is intact.
  7. by   TazziRN
    Quote from RNsRWe
    I'm afraid the point opposing this practice, presented by caroladybelle and TrudyRN was missed. It isn't that G-d gets confused. It's that it's a highly personal, private decision that is either removed from the parents or invaded upon because of the NURSE'S personal choices. The nurse's personal religious choices have absolutely no place when one is caring for others, and particularly if that nurse is aware that the intrusion is unwelcome.
    My religious practices do NOT come into my actions regarding babies. My actions are based on the fact that the chances of a Hispanic baby being Catholic are extremely high in my area, and also from personal experience: a mother was hysterical enough when her child died, but she kept crying out that the baby had never been baptised. When she found out the nursing staff did it for her, she was grateful and relieved.

    Mind you, I do not advocate this practice willy-nilly, but in this area it works because of the demographics. You're right, it is a highly personal and private decision, but I say again: if my child were in extremis and my husband and/or I were not available, I would be grateful for any religious action taken by a nurse who acted in good faith to see that my child made her way straight back to where she came from, whether that action was necessary by my faith or not. I would much rather baptise a baby and find out I didn't have to, than not baptise and create another fear for Catholic parents.

    This conversation has completely taken away the original intent of the thread, I think. I also think it's time that we agree to disagree on this subject. I will bow out.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    Tazzi, I appreciate what you're saying. But when you quoted me, it was a direct response to another person's post, and nothing to do with yours. I responded to a different line of thought being presented.

    Obviously your demographics within your nursing community are such that you are probably better off doing what you do. That is not the mindset I was referring to, however; it was one in which there is no such apparent need on the part of the family, but rather, the nurse.

    I don't believe any of this thread takes away a single bit from the original intent of the original questions posed. Actually, I think it expands and complements it. How each individual views his or her faith (and that relationship with patients), and how that should or should not present itself while on the clock, is exactly what the thread is about.

    I've appreciated the discussion to date, and hope that it continues.
  9. by   tvccrn
    Quote from GardenDove
    I never could figure out why some non believers are so disturbed by something they don't believe in. :uhoh21:

    This is a very good point. I feel if you don't believe, then what's to get all worked up about. Makes me wonder if they real know what it is that they believe in.

    Tazzi, I'm not part of a mainstream religion, but I would love for you to be the nurse of a child of mine if the situation you described ever came up. I think it's the intent behind the action that is key.

    tvccrn
  10. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from tvccrn
    I think it's the intent behind the action that is key.

    tvccrn
    i too, believe intent is a noble gesture.
    but it (the intent) certainly should not supersede others' considerations in their religious/spiritual pursuits, or lack thereof.
    as another poster stated, there are too many jews out there who have been devastated by the effects of the holocaust-and mandating their conversion to catholicism was another heinous act of mind control.
    if there are oppositional reactions, one cannot say "but the intent was there".
    it totally disrespects the other's value in their decision-making process and deems your values as superior.
    it's just not cool.
    i've seen so many bed-side baptisms, performed by visitors, staff, chaplains-so many that it actually diminishes the meaning of the act.
    i have however, given a countless number of heartfelt hugs to grieving parents/family members, assuring them that their loved one was being lovingly restored to glory, even as we spoke.
    so on a religious basis, perhaps baptism does allay many anxieties for those who are catholic.
    but me personally, find it extremely helpful, to address the spiritual divinity of God and all He is doing for the loved one who has passed over.

    leslie
  11. by   JBirdAngel
    If your a Christian, we are to follow Jesus' example. I think we are most certainly to talk to patients, as well as everyone about our Lord. Jesus healed many sick and demon possessed people. Not everyone who says they are a Christian is, so you cant just listen to someone even if they hold a position that is supposed to be a Christian if it isn't in line with what the Bible teaches. I dont know much about Roman Catholicism, but from what I do know, there are teachings in the "Roman Catholic Church" that are not Christian, and in the past there were people who lead the catholic church that certainly did not show a reborn lifestyle.

    Also on this topic it should be noted that spreading false beliefs is wrong no matter the time or place.

    Read the Bible and seek the Lord, He will show the truth to those sincerely seeking

    Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    (Mat 7:6-8 KJV)

    - jason
    Last edit by JBirdAngel on Jan 10, '07
  12. by   GardenDove
    This isn't a religious debate thread as to which religion is correct, maybe we could keep it to the original subject matter? I didn't start the thread to attack any one religion or to have my religion attacked.

    I personally think it's wrong to evangelize at work.
  13. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from tvccrn
    I feel if you don't believe, then what's to get all worked up about. Makes me wonder if they real know what it is that they believe in.
    Where are these "worked up" non-believers of whom you speak? Haven't heard from one in here, just from believers who keep stereotyping us and lumping us together in the same ways that someone not versed in the denominations of Christianity would equate a roman Catholic with a Mormon or a Charismatic Snakehandler.

    Tazzi, I know that in a Mexican neighborhood in California baptizing a stillborn or dead infant would be met with relief and approval. I agree that you should do that, but your *personal* actions are not the point of what we're saying. No one doubts that, in your circumstances, you are doing the right thing. Those of us who do not share your beliefs are, however, trying to demonstrate the ways in which such well-meant actions could be deemed intrusive.

    The only examples of possible infliction of the nurse's beliefs on the patient that have been pointed out in this thread are from the actions of Christians, yet the atheists keep getting accused of being worked up.

    Am I the only one who sees the incongruity of this?

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