I am Afraid. Please Pray for Me. - page 4

by tnbutterfly 12,061 Views | 34 Comments Admin

Many of us view the healthcare setting as a place of employment where we we are comfortable. To patients, however, this medical setting is a maze with frightening and uncertain twists and turns, ups and downs into which they... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    Great article about a touchy subject. Thank you for pointing out that a nurse should ONLY bring up religion/prayers if the pt initiates it. I've seen nurses without any provocation just start praying or saying things like "Jesus will save you". Unless the pt directs the conversation down that line, you should keep all that noise bottled up. Many sick people would simply be terrified by a nurse bringing up Jesus and the eternal soul and all that.

    On the other hand, I've seen scared, dying pts ask a nurse if they believe in God and the nurserespond "I'm an atheist." How is that supposed to help? A little white lie in this situation isn't going to hurt anyone. What we (nurses) believe isn't really the point. It's about the patient, not us.
    I'm a "non believer" and I've had the rare patient who seemed to just be dying to know about my religion. If someone says, "pray for me" or something like that then I just reply with, "I will." Like you said, a white lie never hurt anyone. However, it can get awkward when they flat out want to know your religion.
  2. 3
    I am an atheist.
    I have not read the 4 pages of comments prior to posting this comment of my own. I have not even read the immediate comments above my comment, to know if i am inserting my comment into some hotbed of discussion, sorry, no idea, just posting after reading the OP remark.

    Having worked critical care areas, and hospice, where patients often turn to prayer, i have often been asked to pray with, or for, a patient. If a patient asks me, (an atheist, but not "out" at my WORK place) to pray with them, i will hug them (if we have that level of bond) while they pray. I am silent.
    I can hold their hands while they pray. I am silent, but, supportive of their wish to self-comfort in this manner. I myself, always find a polite way to get out of prayer circles around the bed, ("oh, i have to go check on someone." or something)
    but, if the patient is all alone, and asking me to pray with him/her, i will hold their hands while they pray, but, i am silent. I often offer to summon a chaplain, too.

    Sometimes, when i'd go to say goodbye to my patients, at the end of each shift, one or another might say to me, "Pray for me tonight?" and i almost always reply, often with a hug, "Oh, you WILL be so on my mind tonight. I will burn a candle for you tonight, and will be thinking of you tonight, and hoping so much, that you are comfortable tonight."

    stuff like that. In many decades, not one patient has ever seemed to realize, i didn't quite agree to pray for the patient.

    (RE: the candle, i love rituals, even though i'm atheist, i do love rituals.
    and i do own a special candle holder, which i light whenever someone i know is in trouble. Has nothing to do with gods or magic or spirits, nope. It's just a ritual, and alerts my family that someone is in trouble, keeps that person's needs forefront in our thoughts as we pass by that candle, and sometimes, having the person brought to mind so many times by my candle, i think up practical things i CAN do to help, like go over and walk their dog, or bring over a pot of soup, or shovel their sidewalk, or something therapeutic i can say to them when i see them next, etc)

    i really do light the candle, anyway.
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 30, '12
    BusyBee91, blodeuwedd, and tnbutterfly like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    On the other hand, I've seen scared, dying pts ask a nurse if they believe in God and the nurserespond "I'm an atheist." How is that supposed to help? A little white lie in this situation isn't going to hurt anyone. What we (nurses) believe isn't really the point. It's about the patient, not us.
    And if the scared, dying patient is an atheist? Which white lie do you tell?
  4. 1
    Quote from MN-Nurse
    And if the scared, dying patient is an atheist? Which white lie do you tell?

    I am an atheist, and reply #2 is how i learned to handle that oft-asked question in critical care areas, "Nurse, do you believe in god?"
    http://allnurses.com/nursing-and-spi...ve-799254.html


    I float, and when you work in non-critical care areas, the "Nurse, do you believe in god?" thing does not come up nearly so often,
    as it does when the patient is facing death.


    Guess everyone has to find their own way to respond, but, reply#2 there, is how i learned to answer that question.



    Turns out, the patient doesn't reeeeally care if YOU believe in god, it's really a springboard for the patient to discuss THEIR belief in god, or, lack thereof, or whatever is on the patient's mind. That moment is not really about YOU, it's about the patient, imo. He just wants to talk out whatever god-thoughts are on HIS mind, and wants someone to listen while he does, and probably wants support, too. I usually end such conversations with an offer to summon the chaplain, too.
    tnbutterfly likes this.
  5. 1
    Quote from Jean Marie46514

    That moment is not really about YOU, it's about the patient, imo. He just wants to talk out whatever god-thoughts are on HIS mind, and wants someone to listen while he does, and probably wants support, too. I usually end such conversations with an offer to summon the chaplain, too.

    Exactly!!! It is about the patient and his/her spiritual needs. You do what you can to meet those needs.

    In a like manner, when your patient has a physical pain, you do not stand there and talk about your headache. You do what you can to ease his/her pain.
    somenurse likes this.


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