Do You Have To Be Religious/Spiritual to be a good Nurse? Do You Have To Be Religious/Spiritual to be a good Nurse? - pg.5 | allnurses

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Do You Have To Be Religious/Spiritual to be a good Nurse? - page 5

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... Read More

  1. Visit  anonymurse profile page
    #52 0
    James 1:27 says "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

    You'll notice this is a pretty good overall description of nursing. What exactly is religion? The apostle John says "God is love," so it would appear here that religion is the action of disinterested love, disinterested meaning impartial--without being 'spotted' by a personal interest, without considering that there might be anything to gain from your patient or her family--and this is reflected in good boundary setting, which maintains a nurse's ability to think and act straight (that is to say, in the patient's best interest). What I see here is that James considers religion to be the action of disciplined love, a fair description of good nursing. So just from your own personal standpoint, you can feel comfortable that you can do those things James said and not deliver any less care than someone who claims a formal religion.


    Now someone raised the subject of reassurance. You can do that as a non-member of the patient's religion. You can use their own knowledge and experiences to guide them to a recollection of the certainty they felt at some religiously significant moment in their lives, and that remembrance will surely comfort them.

    Before I was a nurse, I visited a Christian friend in the hospital. He just learned he was dying, in fact he was going to die very soon. He was worried about not going to heaven (this is different from worrying about going to hell). If heaven could be earned, this man would have had the penthouse, the way he spent his whole life taking care of others and never addressing his own dreams. But he was in distress and worried. And I did what anyone can do. I ran the checklist with him, and here it is:

    Romans 10:8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,"

    Now here I asked him, "OK, did you take Jesus to be your lord, or your spiritual boss, in front of others?" And he said "Yes."

    "and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,"

    I asked him, "And do you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead?" And he said "Yes."

    So I said "OK, let's see what it says:"

    "thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

    I said, "Well you did those two things, and right there the Bible says you're saved. OK?" And he said "OK." And he was OK.

    See there? You don't have to be Christian to say those things.

    Another thing I learned from an ER guy is that you don't have to be Catholic to administer last rites. Seems anyone at all can do that, and if you can't get a priest there in time, at least you can ask one over the phone how to do it on the spot. He had to go and I didn't get a chance to learn the details, but it's a useful thing to tuck away in the back of your head.

    But now I'm going to tell you that if your facility has a chaplain on call, you get her over there pronto, because if the hospital hired an expert, then you let the expert do her thing. It's not exactly out of your scope of practice, but it's not exactly in your scope of practice, either, and if you have a credentialed resource, it would be good nursing judgment to refer that aspect of the case to her.

    I don't mean to say some nurses aren't experts in their religion or even others, I'm just saying that the field of pastoral care is a mine field, and the chaplains have maps that say where the mines are buried and I for one don't.
  2. Visit  weemissnaughty profile page
    #53 0
    I think it depends on n the person, you dont need to personally be religious but need to respect others religion.... I have an athiest friend (im vagely catholic but defo religious if n my own way) and she feels the need to prove herself right and argues about how its ridiculous to believe in god and wont accpt others religious beliefs
  3. Visit  somenurse profile page
    #54 0
    Quote from weemissnaughty
    I think it depends on n the person, you dont need to personally be religious but need to respect others religion.... I have an athiest friend (im vagely catholic but defo religious if n my own way) and she feels the need to prove herself right and argues about how its ridiculous to believe in god and wont accpt others religious beliefs
    Dear Wee Miss Naughty,
    This atheist pal you describe, she is a nurse and does this with her patients?

    I have seen and experienced many many theists, and a few deists, who do not accept my atheism, for decades. Very common reaction. It's kinda hard to find ANY atheist who doesn't' know what that feels like, it's THAT common. Lol, most of us kinda half-expect that!! Many of us have experienced arguments, and most atheists on this thread, have mentioned, that being 'out' at work, can bring on's that common for atheists to face------is not having OUR ideas accepted.

    But, even among my theist coworkers, i don't think i've ever seen a theist nurse try to convert a patient, not ever. OH, i've heard tons of single remarks here or there,
    or very brief conversations,
    but a concerted effort to convert a person and end up arguing with a patient? while on the clock? never saw it, that i can recall, anyway. Maybe some discussions occurred i was not witness to, like if some patient and nurse had some discussion initiated by the pt, well, maybe that happened and i just don't know about it.

    Nor have i ever, ever, seen any atheist argue with any patient on the clock, either.
    I am guessing you are, instead, referring to either facebook, or some gathering of your pals, not a healthcare facility. But, that's just my guess.

    I am an atheist, and i do not accept religious beliefs, nope, i have accepted none,
    but, i will defend each person's right to think what they want to, i'd even defend another atheist's right to think what they want to. But i am against rudeness completely!!

    but yeah, on facebook, or online,
    many an atheist do find outlets to speak their mind, as it can't really be done very safely in real life, without ending up with hostility usually,
    but, the atheists probably figure, if you don't want to discuss that topic, you'd leave the thread, but, who knows. Because many an atheist IS so often accused of 'being rude', many to most tend to take extra care to be polite, (i'm referring to adult atheists, not teens on facebook)
    still many will accuse an atheist----no matter how polite she is------ of "being negative" if they so much as state they don't believe, or ask "hard to answer" questions, etc, ------that is often perceived as "being negative".
    and there are, of course, both rude atheists, and rude theists,
    and even some rude deists or agnostics, too.

    but, we all should take care to try our best to not lump entire groups of people together as "all" the same. No group of humans is ever all just alike, that presumption is always gonna be a fail.
  4. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    #55 1
    I worked with a very competent, good nurse who was a Jehovah Witness...that although she went door to door to witness on her time off she NEVER argued/spoke/witnessed religion to any staff member, patient, or family member. She would respectfully bow her head in a room where there was prayer or last rights, etc out of respect for the patient and families beliefs because she is a good person, has manners, and left her private life/personal beliefs at home. This was a young to the profession. I remember when in casual conversation one night she spoke about her beliefs....I was so surprised....and proud that a nurse that I had mentored had so much respect, maturity and professionalism!
  5. Visit  somenurse profile page
    #56 0
    Yes, Esme, i can not recall any time i witnessed a nurse trying to convert a patient, especially not to the point of arguing, whether the nurse was a theist, or a deist, or an atheist, or an agnostic, i can't recall ever seeing that happen. I think the person annoyed with an atheist she knows, is probably NOT referring to a nurse dealing with a patient,
    but, that's just a guess.
  6. Visit  somenurse profile page
    #57 0
    also, Esme, so far as i know, a Jehovah Witness IS a christian, but that branch has recognized and rejected the pagan origins of the christian holiday celebrations. The JWs are actually right on that, the christian holidays all do have pagan origins, and some of the holidays-------the christians didn't even bother changing the name of the holiday Like Easter------old festival every spring, for eons, celebrating the fertility goddess Eostere---- who arrived to earth in a giant egg, and rode on bunnies

    It's not clear to me, whether Eostere was a very tiny goddess,
    or if these were very large bunnies.. OH, the fertility goddess, Eostere is where we get the word "estrogen" too.

    ....but, most of the holidays, the christians DID change the name of the pagan holiday. but, somehow, the JWs recognized, these 'christian' holidays do have a very strong pagan or even secular origin or component. The JWs also won't celebrate anything but Jesus, so birthdays, 4th of July is out, too.

    No holidays...but, still believes in Jesus, as son of god, rose from dead, etc etc etc. Still a christian, uses the bible, etc.

    Various branches of christains are against various things, from driving cars, playing cards, booze, caffiene, blood transfusions to vasectomies to birth control pills, to not wearing magic underwear, wearing clothing with buttons, dancing, eating beef on fridays in the spring, etc,
    each sect has their own rules
    they are all still christians, and all worship the bible gods.

    but i can not see how this christian JW nurse bowing her head while prayers were said, was any kind of stretch against her own religion, unless you are referring to a non-christian last rites or prayers.(?) So far as i know, JWs have no stance against public or group prayers(although the bible says to go in a closet and pray in private )

    Yes, like many to most religions, JWs see their religion as the only true religion, but, i can't see how standing there while christian prayers were said, would be a stretch for a JW---who is also a christian---- but, maybe there's something i don't know about JWs being able to stand in same room while prayers to the same god she worships, are said.
    Last edit by somenurse on Jan 16, '13
  7. Visit  AvidAdvocate profile page
    #58 0
    This is so lovely. I'm a lifelong atheist too, about to graduate nursing school, and I am not very open about my beliefs to my classmates and definitely not to co-workers. I love the spring-boarding answer, as I am hoping to work in a pediatric ICU, and I assume that I will get these questions more often than not.

    Just a thought...I know it's illegal for them to ask..but I've heard some really religious hospitals have a round-about way of asking about your faith in interviews. If that situation does come up, what kind of answer would you recommend?

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