Do You Have To Be Religious/Spiritual to be a good Nurse? - page 2

by Soliloquy 7,685 Views | 57 Comments

I'm struggling with this to an extent. I go to a deeply religious school and yes, I hate it. At times I feel as though it's a major requirement to be religious in order to function as a nurse and I didn't always feel this way but... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from Seas
    Well, if you go to a deeply religious school, then you will see all those religious practices. It is normal and expected. If it is that much uncomfortable for you, go to a regular school that doesn't focus on religion. Regular schools don't usually have that type of requirements, fyi.
    For the question; no.
    I was naive and approached the situation with rose colored glasses and wanted to believe that if I treated everyone the way I wanted to be treated, with respect and as an individual, that it would be reciprocated. After 3.5 years, I'll be out in one semester. But because of all that I have experienced in my time here, I do feel unsure about whether or not I'd make a good nurse. I've been rejected so many times at this school because of my nature and the way I approach life and people that I'm unsure. I know better now, that I can't go everywhere and feel "at home". But I'm trying to recover from the experience so I am asking for insight. I feel like a minority who by accident and in ignorance attended a Klan's meeting. :/
  2. 2
    Quote from elkpark
    Not sure quite what you mean by this -- but it seems to me like a v. different issue than whether one needs to be religious to be a nurse. If you're talking about respecting a "chain of command" and not being overly casual/familiar with superiors (faculty or bosses), that is something you can expect to encounter most places in healthcare ...

    Yes, i agree with Elkhpark here.
    Chains of command, or authority figures, are in most all jobs. All of 'em.
    and nursing is no exception.

    In my decades of nursing, in all types of settings, the overwhelming majority of those in authority over me, were reasonable and decent ppl. but yes, yes, respect as a starting point in all communication is pretty much appreciated and expected.

    If you yourself struggle inside, with some almost automatic kneejerk rebellion against anything that smacks of "authority" figure, perhaps discussing this out with a private counselor might help you get to the root of this. As that inner attitude will trip you up most any job you take on, nursing or not. (IF that is something you are struggling with, not sure)

    Not that i am not against a healthy dose of skeptical thinking, nope, i'm all for it. But, i am also all for starting with basic respect as a starting point, whether that person is considered "below" me on the food chain,
    Or "above" me on the food chain,
    I just really appreciate respect to others.
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 26, '12
    DC Collins and tnmarie like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from elkpark
    Not sure quite what you mean by this -- but it seems to me like a v. different issue than whether one needs to be religious to be a nurse. If you're talking about respecting a "chain of command" and not being overly casual/familiar with superiors (faculty or bosses), that is something you can expect to encounter most places in healthcare ...
    I'm respectful with everyone because treating people with a certain level of respect seems deserved to me. But I'm not willing to submit to superiors, especially if it goes against what I feel to be right. There were those moments where I felt they expected me to yield if for no other reason than they were of a certain status. My hope is that this is not required for this field
  4. 3
    I'm not religious by any means and not very spiritual, either...and I am a good nurse. I also work for a faith-based organization.

    Am I sensitive to a patient's religious/spiritual needs? Absolutely. You have to be. If a patient or family members wants me to pray with them, I have no problem doing so.
    somenurse, SE_BSN_RN, and tnmarie like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from Soliloquy
    I was naive and approached the situation with rose colored glasses and wanted to believe that if I treated everyone the way I wanted to be treated, with respect and as an individual, that it would be reciprocated. After 3.5 years, I'll be out in one semester. But because of all that I have experienced in my time here, I do feel unsure about whether or not I'd make a good nurse. I've been rejected so many times at this school because of my nature and the way I approach life and people that I'm unsure. I know better now, that I can't go everywhere and feel "at home". But I'm trying to recover from the experience so I am asking for insight. I feel like a minority who by accident and in ignorance attended a Klan's meeting. :/

    OH ouch! sounds like you might be trying to sort out many things all at once. You sound pretty hurt, and near as i can tell, it sounds like you might be feeling socially rejected for some reason, not sure. Sometimes large groups of young ppl don't always lend themselves to the most kind of behaviors. Not sure what all is going on here, but, i feel real bad you sound like you are hurting.

    You might want to consider finding a counselor to help you sort this out, i just hate seeing anyone in pain, and you do sound like you are in pain.
    Me, most of my ideas don't fit into mainstream thinking,
    so, i leave off my religious and political views from the work place.
    Instead, i discuss such matters with those i trust, friends and family whose opinions on those topics are important to me.

    see, to me, the workplace, is not always the best venue, imo, for political or religious posturing. We all just have to get along and respect each other.
    Soliloquy likes this.
  6. 4
    Quote from Soliloquy
    I'm respectful with everyone because treating people with a certain level of respect seems deserved to me. But I'm not willing to submit to superiors, especially if it goes against what I feel to be right. There were those moments where I felt they expected me to yield if for no other reason than they were of a certain status. My hope is that this is not required for this field


    not exactly sure what "submit to superiors" entails for you, or what exactly you are "yielding" to?
    but, in nursing,
    if you are ever directed to do something which you feel is against good nursing practice, or harmful to a patient, there is usually a chain of command for such concerns. That's one good thing about nursing, is,
    in most nursing jobs, you are usually never 'alone'. There are usually other nurses around, to ask if you have a concern or question.
    llg, Kandy83, tnmarie, and 1 other like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from turnforthenurseRN
    I'm not religious by any means and not very spiritual, either...and I am a good nurse. I also work for a faith-based organization.

    Am I sensitive to a patient's religious/spiritual needs? Absolutely. You have to be. If a patient or family members wants me to pray with them, I have no problem doing so.

    SEE? Each and every person IS able to find and work within their own comfort zone. Me, i won't pretend or fake a thing, ever, possibly due to eons of what i felt was "religious abuse" lol, so instead, i just politely excuse myself from the room,
    without ever stating "oh heck no, i don't believe in any of that stuff" nope, instead, i just look at my watch and leave, or "Oh, i have to catch up here on my chart" and just write in my chart, or something else.

    see? there IS room for all of us to deal with things as we see fit.
  8. 4
    In response to the original question, no, you do not need to be religious or spiritual. How, you do need to address the spiritual needs of the patient. If you are unable to meet those needs because it makes you uncomfortable, you can always seek out someone who is able to meet the needs. No one should ever be forced to participate in religious practices which makes them uncomfortable.

    As others have stated, in nursing, the focus is on the needs of the patient.
    SE_BSN_RN, somenurse, tnmarie, and 1 other like this.
  9. 0
    quote: //" and even though I believe in God and I'm familiar with the Bible, I've experienced a lot of dogma and so I didn't know if it played a major role in the world of healthcare."//




    I think dogma can play a large role in any individuals life, but, religion is not the basis for the art of nursing. but, whenever serious illness or fear steps into a person's life, the very religious will often turn to their gods, and the vaguely or just slightly religious will often also bring up the gods, in ways they never did prior to facing death.
    I do think one does come across talk of the gods more often as a nurse,
    than say an accountant or a mechanic will.

    quote:
    //"and even though I believe in God and I'm familiar with the Bible, I've experienced a lot of dogma and so I didn't know if it played a major role in the world of healthcare. But does it affect your interaction with your peers and superiors?"//


    Not entirely sure if the "it" in that last sentence, refers to religious dogma of the previous sentence? If you have an uncommon religious belief system, the amount that belief system impacts your dealings with others,
    is entirely up to you.

    You have several options.

    #1) You can politely step over any beliefs or remarks which do not match your own. You can be generally supportive, and comforting to the patient, as they explain or talk over whatever is on their mind, and make supportive remarks, keeping your ear open, for any fears or concerns you note in your patient, and summon the chaplain or appropriate counselors as needed. Your goal in this option, is to focus on what comforts the patient most.

    #2) You can challenge and question and/or disagree with any remark or belief which does not match your own. Make each moment all about YOU, and make sure everyone knows just how you feel about any given topic, even if the person in the bed is barely coping with some bad news, take him on about his "dogma" if it makes no sense to you. However, this will usually be seen as rude, unnecessary, and not comforting to your patient, at all, in fact, probably stressful to your patient. I would not recommend this option, and i'd think, you'd be frequently written up as rude, uncaring, self-centered, etc.

    #3) you can fake you think as they do. I could never do this, but, some ppl can. IF you can fake it, that probably works, too.


    there's probably other options, too, but, me, i go for option #1 there.


    EDIT: OOPS, you want to know about COWORKERS, well, it might be a lot of the same as the 3 options i could think of, for dealing with patients.
    Guess, i left out,
    #4) Politely state your own opinion, whenever a topic comes up.


    however, be aware, many ppl severely dislike having their dogmas challenged or disagreed with, even politely,
    and it's a good chance your coworkers won't either. Even just having a different opinion,
    when it comes to religion or politics,
    can be upsetting to some coworkers. there is a risk there, and you have a right to be aware of that risk, that some coworkers might see you or treat you differently,
    If you do have very different opinions than They have, like i discussed in an earlier post above.

    for real, for most harmonious coworker blends,
    it might be most peaceful, to either leave out politics and religion from your coworker discussions,
    or
    wait until they already very much like you first, before dropping the bomb you don't agree with them. Might go over better.


    good luck!!
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 26, '12
  10. 0
    Quote from Jean Marie46514
    OH ouch! sounds like you might be trying to sort out many things all at once. You sound pretty hurt, and near as i can tell, it sounds like you might be feeling socially rejected for some reason, not sure. Sometimes large groups of young ppl don't always lend themselves to the most kind of behaviors. Not sure what all is going on here, but, i feel real bad you sound like you are hurting.

    You might want to consider finding a counselor to help you sort this out, i just hate seeing anyone in pain, and you do sound like you are in pain.
    Me, most of my ideas don't fit into mainstream thinking,
    so, i leave off my religious and political views from the work place.
    Instead, i discuss such matters with those i trust, friends and family whose opinions on those topics are important to me.

    see, to me, the workplace, is not always the best venue, imo, for political or religious posturing. We all just have to get along and respect each other.
    I've been talking to a counselor on this topic because you're right, I do feel hurt by my experiences. My peers made the right decision for their faith (most went to religious schools all their lives) but I did not. I chose this school for the education and with the belief that I would come here and meet people who, even though they came from a certain background, were willing to move beyond their comforts to explore. Instead, their faith became further established while I was...ostracized. For many here, their faith is a major part of their nursing practice. The teachings and famous nurses mentioned and that we learn here on nursing practice often stem from the dogma. In fact, I have had many professors, good nurses, who have stated that their religious beliefs are a firm part of their practice. As an individual who came from a Christian background, but who feels very little connection to the dogma and ideologies, I do have a hard time, dealing with self-doubt (what I know of nursing comes from this school) and wondered if I could in fact be a good nurse despite my lack of desire to partake in religion at this point. My question has been answered here on this thread though.


Top