Examples of cultural and religious needs of patients

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    I really haven't had a lot of experience with this.

    In TX, there were a lot of home remedies that were allowed as long as they didn't interfere with hospital/LTC rules . It all got to be so common, it was just part of the deal

    Moving back to IL, and working peds, I was asked to go into practicing Muslim rooms, if infants were being breastfed, and let the mom know the doc was coming (male doc) so she could cover up before he entered the room. Poor kid got a break from eating whether he/she was done or not

    I found it all interesting- and some things were just plain curteous.
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    I have had Byzantine Catholic pts have their priest come up and bless their new baby. I got blessed along with her, as I happened to walk in while they were doing it. Father asked me if I wanted a blessing and I figured, sure, I'll take all the blessing I can get! It was nice, as the parents and priest all said a prayer over the baby and then me. I smelled nice for the rest of my shift from the holy water, too.

    Also had Muslim pts who wanted the baby's father to whisper the shehadah ('There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet') into the baby's ear asap after delivery. That's a really moving experience as well.
    MargaretMuslima, LovedRN, MellyB, and 2 others like this.
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    I had a patient who was Jewish, and practiced Friday evening shabbat (please excuse spelling). I'd run all over the Catholic hospital looking for various things (enough of us had cig lighters to deal with the candles). I'd just ask him to please turn off the O2 (or call for one of us to make sure it was secure). His rabbi would come up every Friday (the guy was there for weeks). One night I got called to go down there. The rabbi was standing there with a plate of a m a z i n g brownies The rabbi told me he was authorized to make me an honorary Jew if I'd eat one of his wife's brownies.... didn't have to tell me twice
    HouTx, LovedRN, Sugarcoma, and 2 others like this.
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    I had a patient once whose religious beliefs were ... different. Never did figure out exactly what she believed, but she kept a little statue of the goddess Bastet on her bedside table. We're a Catholic hospital, but as far as I know no one ever gave her any grief about it.
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    It's also important we resist the urge to lump an individual because we've cared for someone else of the same religion. Know how there is a HUGE difference in what one christian feels is necessary, to anothers? Are allllllll the christians you know all act or think just the same? No, they don't.
    One christian might want a group to sit and say the rosary all around the bed together, and to eat special wafers they think are the body of Jesus.
    Another christian might not share that urge at all.

    It's the same for jews, muslims, hindus, etc etc. They are individuals, so just follow their own individual requests.



    RE: The cultural aspects of patients, from various nations, can be fascinating, too, as we acquire more knowledge on what is customary for facing pain, or death, or many situations,
    but, again, we must always strive to see the unique individual in front of us.

    Slightly off topic, but, when i was young nurse, one thing that surprised me, was various nations have various words for "ouch". We learn that word, it's not universal, every nation has their own word for "ouch"......and i was so dumb as a young person, for some reason, that info surprised me. (i know, duh, right! ha ha!!)
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    Hmm In the Midwest some native Americans like to burn sage in the room to cleanse it of evil spirits. The facility had an expert in it and would attend any requests (there were like 4 a year) to make sure everything was safe, and everyone carried on with their day.

    If it doesn’t disturb other patients or prove dangerous, I don’t care what they do. It’s my job as a nurse to reasonably provide them the tools to practice their faith.
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    As a nursing student we all heard about being culturally competent. From the years that I've worked as a Rn, I have seen that some nurses are great at it and others are simply not. From being in a prayer circle at the bedside of a patient to letting a shaman do a spiritual ceremony in the room, you just have to learn to respect it all.
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    Quote from AF-Wife
    As a nursing student we all heard about being culturally competent. From the years that I've worked as a Rn, I have seen that some nurses are great at it and others are simply not. From being in a prayer circle at the bedside of a patient to letting a shaman do a spiritual ceremony in the room, you just have to learn to respect it all.

    I can respect my fellow human, without respecting their actual thought or idea. I can honor their idea, support their need and right to indulge in the idea,
    do all i can to help them express their religious beliefs in any matter they choose (so long as it's safe)
    but, my ideas also merit being honored,
    and i don't personally believe any nurse who does not want to participate in praying to god she does not believe in, should have to.

    I think one can honor another human,
    and honor their right to believe whatever,
    without imitating that person.
    Nursejelly likes this.
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    All in ICU

    ---Maintaining artificial ventilation for an hour or two on patients who were (for all intents and purposes) already dead - so that their Orthodox Jewish next of kin could be at the bedside at the time of "death"... since continued respiratory effort equates to "life".

    ---"healing circles" with magnets & crystals & chanting around the bed... had to monitor magnet proximity to pacemakers & hi-tech equipment

    ---chicken eggs beneath the patient's bed - along with other unidentifiable objects used by the Bruja in a healing spell

    ---Having to temporarily 'convert' to Islam to take care of a female patient... no males allowed to care for her AT ALL, in any capacity

    ---Intensive use of cell savers & artificial blood products (back in the day before it was more common place) to honor wishes not to receive blood

    ---Negotiating with HPD to avoid legal action surrounding the use of peyote for spiritual purposes (ahem)

    Heck, we're all just people. I'm cool with just about anything as long as I don't have to dress up for it.
    Elvish likes this.


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