Im Pagan and a Hospice Nurse.... - Page 3Register Today!
- Mar 3, '12 by marikat534First off, I give you props for your specialty, end of life care has been one of the most rewarding experiences of nursing for me. Hospice/End of Life has such a big spiritual component as you are dealing with crossing over into something we don't know and/or really understand and the need for spiritual support/connection is important for many patients no matter what faith. Unlike your coworkers, you are blessed to be coming at this from another angle and you can potentially serve a population that doesn't always get strong representation.
Like you, I am technically Pagan (altho I am not Wiccan). From personal experience, I would not recommend making ripples or pressing for big changes/making a big scene until you have been there for a bit and established that you are an amazing nurse and have compassion for all the patients, Christian or not.
Have compassion for your coworkers limited views and SHOW them by example of your care for patients that religion and peace is not limited to one faith and you can give patients of different faith support without condemning them. Instead of viewing the prayer during the meeting as offensive, maybe at someone point ask if you could share something that is a bit more broad spectrum, a great resource is the Universal Unitarian community they have some beautiful pieces. Then when you have been there long enough and demonstrated by your work compassion for those patients who are being condemned by your coworkers, discuss with your manager about the need for in services to support different religious beliefs/spirituality around death.
Another connection for advice is Pagan Hospice Chaplains, or the Summerland project. Here is a link that might help. Pagan Chaplaincy: Caring For The Pagan Patient
I hope this helps.
- Mar 5, '12 by ErinSI would take a month and feel out your coworkers. Find someone who you feel you can talk to, and bring it up. I work in a state with what I would describe as a 'stifling' religious culture, of which I do not partake in the primary religion. In addition, it is a very conservative environment. Our team is comprised of team members of various religions, races, and sexual orientation. We also have a prayer at our meetings, but it is not always Christian prayer. Our chaplain leads our 'spiritual thought', and it is often from various religious backgrounds- like last months was a Jewish prayer.
Perhaps you could even discuss this with your chaplain as an option. I think it makes me a better hospice nurse to recognize a broad range of spiritual beliefs, even in my community with a very predominant religion.
- Mar 12, '12 by OCNRN63Quote from SaylahStarrWould you be comfortable going to your NM and discussing this, with the offer to give your co-workers an inservice on what Pagans/Wiccans believe? Surely, not all of the patients they encounter will be Christian, and some may be Wiccan.I am new to hospice. I have been a nurse for three years and have previously worked in a fairly religously nuetral environment. I suppose I shouldve guessed that hospice would not be such an environment, but I think what has surprised me the most are my coworkers, who seem to be completely unaware that any religious trains of thought exist outside of christianity. I have no problem listening to them and am glad that they believe so whole heartedly in their views, I simply do not agree with them. But the other day I attended my first group meeting with our aide, volunteers, chaplain, sw, etc and they actually prayed before the meeting, assuming, everyone in the room shared the same beliefs as them! This, I found offensive. I am Pagan, Wiccan, more specifically, and I also value religious tolerance, but I am rapidly becoming aware of how much tongue swallowing I am about to be doing.Many of our patients are Christian as well, I expected this, and am ok with it. I am hoping I can find some advice from others who have already walked in my shoes. What is the best wat way to "handle" , if you will, co-workers and patients in a way that is respectful to them but also to....myself??
If you're uncomfortable with the prayer, I would ask if you could join the mtg. after the prayer. You're not going to change longstanding customs there, and it might not be in your best interests to try as a new staff member. You could make a lot of enemies that way. I can sympathize. My faith is not exactly popular, and when I worked in hospice I had several issues with staff because of it. You just have to decide what battles you want to fight.
- Apr 30, '12 by tsconardQuote from CreamsodaI agree with you on this one....as a hospice nurse, you will have to focus yourself on the fact that ...it is not about you...but the patient/family. I am Christian, however when we have staff meetings for all employees, and start with prayer in a room of 150, i sometimes find myself wondering about those who do not share our faiths and that it must be uncomfortable for them.I would just not say anything. I work in a very catholic hospital. I love working there, but I am not religious what so ever. Theres numerous times where prayer happens. Over the intercom twice a day, sometimes with patients and families and the docs in care conferences. If thats what the family believes, support them in it. I just lower my head while they pray and thats the end of it. Its not about you, its about the families and patients. It shouldn't matter what your faith is. Now if there was a patient who shared similar beliefs to you, then you could help them out and lead them in how ever you pray or acknowledge your faith, but otherwise, just be there to support the patient.
- Apr 30, '12 by LaRNIf they are happy with it then why do you have to grumble and complain about it? They're taking care of dying people for crying out loud.
- Apr 30, '12 by PetsToPeopleQuote from LaRNOne of her main complaints was praying during staff meetings, that's not about the patients.If they are happy with it then why do you have to grumble and complain about it? They're taking care of dying people for crying out loud.
- Apr 30, '12 by LaRN
- May 1, '12 by romieThe prayer in a work setting issue is a bit like breast feeding in public (but not quite). Both are normal healthy human activities. Both ideally are conducted in a setting in which everyone involved helps facilitates the process and no one feels victimized. Both have "the right" to be conducted in public (well, I wish this world would get a little bit more tolerant of nursing mothers and the babies that need their milk. We are mammals after all! We are classified as such because we nurse).
In my own spiritual practices as an agnostic yogi, I prefer to do my full blown out expressions of spirituality in a setting that is conducive. I would be horrified if I went to a staff meeting and the other staff members had to do sun salutations or pranayama against their will. It demeans my own personal practice as a yogi and turns it into a spectacle instead of the special experience it is. However, I have been known from time to time, do a few mudras (hand yoga/ special hand signs) or silently chant to myself before a big test or a dreaded meeting. Actually, during a meeting, I can practice prana (breath control) discretely without anyone being aware.
Its too bad that the OP's coworkers are not more sensitive to other people's spiritual practices and don't make their own spiritual practices more special by not including them in a meeting ( what I mean by that is that a work meeting is a relatively mundane time, not exactly the time to get a marriage proposal or announce the birth of your child, very unromantic, usually under fluorescent lighting and in uncomfortable chairs). A simple moment of silence will suffice. If they insist on a group prayer for whatever reason (my own spirituality is special by itself and does not need numbers, but I will say that a roomful of people breathing in unison is cool, but not something I need at work).
Nursing moms should absolutely have the freedom to nourish their infants anywhere and anyway they please, just as any one of any faith should have the same freedom for themselves, but with that freedom comes responsibility and the need for tolerance. I wish I could nurse and if I could, I would probably only want to nurse in a zen like space so it would be a fantastic baby mommy mind melding experience, but I understand that infants have needs that are unscheduled and sometimes people feel the need to talk to God/Godess/Vishnu/ Yesu at the last minute. (Actually, the semantics of many of our phrases for last minute/ unprepared have a prayer element in them, if you think about it)
Should nursing moms be confined to unsanitary and uncomfortable bathrooms and back alleys to perform nature's miracle--absolutely not. Should a nursing mom who is at home but has a few close friends over have to hide her baby's needs--certainly not, she should stay put in her comfy chair. I would hope though that she thinks ahead and assesses each situation but I wouldn't mind if it just so happens that she has to do it while I'm around. A nursing mom should use her time with her infant not to make a political/ social statement, but to nourish physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually both herself and her infant. If life happens and it happens to be in the middle of a parking lot, we'll just have to deal with it, but most nursing moms would rather be elsewhere when the need arises.
Should prayer groups be hidden or confined, absolutely not, but they should position themselves in a way that demonstrates that they think ahead and assess each situation. If it is absolutely necessary, then go ahead, but if it is not, then I would hope that they would respect their god by not creating any casualties or collateral damage through their practices. Again, if they absolutely have to pray in a group with non participants in a room and it cant wait until a more appropriate time, then let it be a moment of silence, reflection, coffee break, bathroom break or something.
Just as I have a last minute need to meditate (which I can do discretely, but I'm not ashamed to do publicly and if anyone asks I use the opportunity not to evangelize but to educate--I was discovered by a classmate doing a handstand before a test in a far off area of my school and I explained that the asana (sanskrit for pose) helps improve circulation to the brain.
If I worked for an organization that 99 out of 100 people where yogis and we made a point of engaging in activities that made that one person feel alienated, I would feel so bad and personally not engage in my practices while that person was around just to support them. It would defeat the whole purpose of my spirituality if I made that person feel bad and alienated them.
If I was one of 99 nursing moms sand we had a staff meeting and 99 out of 100 of us mothers nursed our babies during the staff meeting while one mother felt bad because she either did not have any babies to nurse or could not nurse, I would feel bad for her and out of respect for her take my nursing activities outside of the meeting because I would not want to make a coworker I cared about feel bad in anyway.
- May 1, '12 by romieTo simplify it. I'm at a staff meeting and there are 10 of us and we are there to discuss the care of our patients. It is custom or acceptable for the ten of us to breast feed during the meeting. However, Jenna, is a new staff member and either--refuses to breast feed, doesn't have any breast due to a mastectomy, prefers to use formula, prefers to breast feed in private or just for whatever reason does not engage in the group breast feeding.
Now I like Jenna both as a person and as a nurse. She is a friend, is smart and witty and has helped me out on numerous occasions. If Jenna felt uncomfortable during the group breast feeding sessions, would I, as a friend and someone who cares about Jenna, participate? No. I wouldn't in solidarity to Jenna for whatever reason that she cannot or chooses not to participate, I will do what she is doing because I care about her as a coworker and as a friend.
- May 1, '12 by tewdlesI am a hospice manager. It is perfectly acceptable to begin a meeting with some sort of a "centering" reflection. The reflection can be either religious or secular. They should NEVER always be from a specific or particular faith or belief system. The reflection should not include corporate prayer. The reflection presentation should not be isolated to one discipline (spiritual care/chaplain) and should not be isolated to one faith or belief system.
It is pretty normal for Christian co-workers (particularly in hospice) to desire a shared prayer...it is abnormal for a hospice agency to condone that in the context of a staff meeting. It would be more appropriate for the prayers to gather just before or just after the meeting in a seperate space.
You should mention this to your manager as the practice is not consistent with the behaviors expected in a diverse work environment.
Good luck.Last edit by tewdles on May 1, '12 : Reason: clarification