It's not my job to pray with you. - page 19

I am not religious. I do not pray. If praying makes you feel good then awesome. Do that. When patients are religious and need spirutual support, I am the first one to find their local... Read More

  1. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from xLuciax
    Oh wow. Well, what OP said is okay, it's her right, but the real question that comes to mind is: what will she do when noone else is available to fulfill the spiritual needs?
    I'm agnostic, but when someone asks me to pray with them (happened once during night shift, so noone else immediately around), I do it. I think well-being of the patient goes above your own religion/beliefs and I believe in the holistic approach (mind, body and spirit). If he finds hope in praying, (and I have like 5 minutes of time and noone else is there to do it with them) I'll do it. I try to be selfless, and try to set my personal beliefs aside. Plus: I can't say no to elder people, asking that to me with a smile on their face and sparkles in their eyes. I asked the man to pray for me, because I didn't knew the words.

    Stuff like this becomes more important in palliative care units. There u sometimes become more than a nurse, it's an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved: nurse, patients, family. I must admit though, they wanted me to stay in the palliative care unit, but, I couldn't do it.
    There, they expected of the nurses that for every deceased patient u cared for (they were months or even a year in there), u wrote a personal statement about your patient at a mass held for the deceased patients on the ward, organised by the head nurse after the official funeral. You had to read it aloud and had to attend that whole mass/memorial. That was a bit too much for me (emotion wise- and also time wise). I'd also rather wash the deceased patients of the other nurses, than my own patients, because there is a real bond between you and the people you cared so long for. And they were gone. For me it was easier and no issue whatsoever to wash corpses from people I didn't knew well. What kept me going was that washing the corpse was the last thing you could do for them and their family.
    I find it interesting that you can write out such a long post and still find it necessary to substitute "u" for "you". How many keystrokes did you save?

    I'm not sure where it is written that it is up to the nurse to personally fulfill all of the patient's needs, including the spiritual needs. if there is no one around who wishes to pray with a patient and I either do not have the time or do not wish to do so, then perhaps that patient can either meet his own spiritual needs or they won't get met at that particular time. The physical well-being of the patient (the nursing care) comes first. The spiritual well-being is not my job. I'll hook them up with someone who thinks it IS their job -- the chaplain, for instance, or their local minister or the nurse who regards it as her job to pray with everyone -- but it is not my job to pray with someone.

    We're not martyrs. Self care is important. All too often, getting the nurse to pray is not about comforting the patient but about exerting power over the nurse, and all too often it's not a "simple 2 minute prayer" but an hours-long extravaganza of chanting and singing and praising the lord. I don't have the time for the latter and have no interest in subjecting myself to the former. When, how and IF I pray are my business, and the Lord's; not the business of my patient, his family or his pastor.
  2. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from bagladyrn
    Nurses who profess to certain religious beliefs rightfully expect others to respect that there are certain procedures in which they will not participate.
    I think it equally valid that others may feel that their personal ethics prevent them from participating in prayers in a way that gives the impression of belief. They are due equal respect.
    This is one of the more sensible posts in this thread. Respect ought to be a two way street; too often it is not. Too often, evangelicals take it upon themselves to question the beliefs of the nurse before insisting upon praying "for the Lord to open this person's eyes to Your splendor". (Yes, I've had a few bad experiences lately.).

    If you expect your beliefs to be respected, then you ought to respect the beliefs of others. Even when they have no beliefs.
  3. by   thebirthoflove
    Interesting thread. I recently had a patient who had an ovarian cancer diagnosis. She made it quite clear in the course of regular conversation that she was Christina (United Methodist) and her husband had brought bibles to the bedside. She talked about her church and said things like, "It's in God's hands." Etc. I asked her how she would feel about a non-denominational pastor coming to see her. She was open to the suggestion, so I consulted them. I took care of her for 3 nights. I never mentioned that I am Jewish. The way I look at's not about me. It's about the patient. She did not ask me to pray with her, but if she had, while it may have been slightly uncomfortable, I would have been fine to hold her hand and take a moment of silence with her. You don't have to be believe in a higher power to be quiet with someone and to think positive thoughts toward their healing. You can send "good vibes" or "good intentions" to them while they have their moment of connection. I did not pray with this patient, however, after 3 nights in a row of caring for her, when giving shift report to the oncoming nurse at the bedside. She looked at me and said, "I wanted you to know that I prayed for you to keep doing the wonderful work you've been blessed to do." It touched me very deeply and I must admit it brought tears to my eyes. The reason why it meant so much to me is because I know how much it meant to HER. She included me in something that she believes so strongly in and cares so deeply about. I came back to work a week later and the charge nurse had a baggy on it with my name on just said, "From the patient in room 3**." I knew it exactly who it had to be from. It was a hand-crocheted "prayer bag" and it had a bunch of Christian prayers on it, but I did not care. That bag means the world to me because it reminds me of how deeply I was able to touch a patient just by being "in the moment with her." I am still grateful thinking about it.
  4. by   CelticGoddess
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    This is one of the more sensible posts in this thread. Respect ought to be a two way street; too often it is not. Too often, evangelicals take it upon themselves to question the beliefs of the nurse before insisting upon praying "for the Lord to open this person's eyes to Your splendor". (Yes, I've had a few bad experiences lately.).

    If you expect your beliefs to be respected, then you ought to respect the beliefs of others. Even when they have no beliefs.
    You nailed it! Especially the praying that my eyes would be opened. I am a goddess worshipping, spell chanting, candle burning, tarot reading pagan. My beliefs are my own. I do not expect others to have the same beliefs, not even my fellow pagans. However, I can't tell you how many times I have been told "I'll pray for you" when they find out I am a pagan.

    In February, I went into respiratory failure due to a severe asthma attack. I was scared and I was in desperate need of someone who would just sit with me and hold my hand while I prayed to my Goddess. I had NO ONE. One of my nurses even refused to touch my fetish bag. Apparently, pagan items cause ones beliefs to suddenly evaporate and said persons will suddenly rip their clothes off and dance in the light of the full moon. (Yes, I am exaggerating a bit but I have been asked if I really do that, i don't. I have also been asked if I can turn someone into a toad, again, I can't do that).

    Basically, my point is that it isn't a two way street all the time. I only get respect from a few of my Christian friends. (They also tend to have more liberal religious beliefs) and my Wicca and Pagan friends. A lot of the evangelicals around here would stone me, given the chance (Suffer not a witch to live). I don't mind praying for my patients, I just don't let them know that I am pagan. And I'll observe silence when they themselves are praying. I will not, however, recite a Christian (or any other religious) prayer for them, I am not comfortable being in the patients room when their pastor is praying and I don't want to be preached at. Just like I don't expect my husbands pastor to recite a Pagan prayer for me.
  5. by   anne_marie_oregon
    Hey kick at the dark :-) I hear you - and I get what you are saying. I was raised VERY STRICTLY religious, so I have a LOT of emotional baggage around all of that. I think it is great when people pray, if they feel that gives them strength. But I do find a lot of it so superstitious.

    I had an aunt who was dying of cancer, and she would only allow "certain" people to pray for her. Because, I guess, if we were not pure before God, we would contaminate the prayers. :-) LOL! It's funny, but it also hurt my feelings. Because I am definitely one of the "contaminated." My family is evangelical and I married a Mormon - so that was a big no no!!!

    I'm not really any religion at this point - I just try to love people and give 100% to my patients and fellow nurses on a daily basis. I try to love my family and my husband and not say the F word too much. LOL.

    Anyways - religion is a funny thing, that I ultimately find very superstitious.

    But I also find some of the messages extremely encouraging and hopeful. I can definitely get on board with hope and encouragement :-)
  6. by   anne_marie_oregon
    Hey AlphaM - I totally agree with you that it requires faith. I honestly love this discussion, because I suppose I am always trying to answer this question for myself. Do I believe in God, or not? I guess I just can't say that I believe in "God" as defined by any organized religion out there.

    But there are times I feel a strange sort of Providence in my life. Like I am being watched over.

    I dunno. I feel sort of blessed and lucky sometimes. Like my life is pretty great and I want to thank someone for that :-) Like an architect or something. Like the architect who created the Matrix. Whoever that is ... I am grateful for my life.

    But I also have a lot of emotional baggage from a strict religious upbringing. And the fact that I don't really feel like a full-fledged member of my own family because I am the only one who doesn't attend church. Religion kind of bums me out, man.

    But when I find my own space and my own quiet - as defined by the Light in my Soul - then I feel very connected to whatever this Universe is made of. I just hope I don't get all superstitious about it!
  7. by   hppygr8ful
    Here's how I look at it. Praying with a patient (Which I don't mind doing) is like deciding to have a gun in your home. If you don't like to or don't want to then don't do it, but don't tell me I can't or shouldn't. If a fellow nurse came to me and said the patient is asking me to pray with them and I don't feel comfortable doing that then I would say watch my patients for me for a minute or two and I'll do it. Like I have said here before I have prayed with Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, Wiccas and many others - It's just about showing a respect for that person's belief. Like I say when I sign my posts Namaste!

    Peace and Namaste

  8. by   ILUVERNSG
    If a patient is asking you to pray with them they must be really scared and in bad shape somehow.
    Empathy and kindness go a long, long way.
    Tell your patient kindly that you're not really a religious person, but that you'd like to go find someone to pray with them right now- there's always a co-worker or chaplain or someone, even housekeeping who will come to the bedside.
    Last edit by ILUVERNSG on Sep 2, '17 : Reason: Edit
  9. by   KIMMIEKAY11868
    Studies prove that spiritual patients fair much better.
  10. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from KIMMIEKAY11868
    Studies prove that spiritual patients fair much better.
    Spiritual patients FARE better? That's good news for spiritual folks.

    It's still not my job to pray with anyone. So I sincerely hope that they have family or friends or even a member of their congregation to pray with them.
  11. by   elkpark
    Quote from KIMMIEKAY11868
    Studies prove that spiritual patients fair much better.
    Sources, please ... You can't just make a sweeping generalization like that and expect anyone to take it seriously.
  12. by   nursel56
    Quote from KIMMIEKAY11868
    Studies prove that spiritual patients fair much better.
    What studies?
  13. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from nursel56
    What studies?
    I can't cite them specifically right now but you can find the studies on Google Scholar. They refer to patients having better outcomes when the patients know they are being prayed for or with as opposed to the outcomes of patients who don't pray or have specific spiritual beliefs. When I read the studies I did notice that they have a very small sample and no control cohort so the results may not be valid.


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