Losing my religion

by jadelpn Guide | 14,971 Views | 119 Comments

Ah, the lively religious debate. As nurses, we all take care of a multitude of patients, all with specific, and sometimes not so specific, emotional/spiritual needs. And unless one works within a religious entity, here's my take on why a nurse's own religion needs to stay in the nurse's personal life.

  1. 18

    Losing my religion

    Ah, the lively religious debate. As nurses, we all take care of a multitude of patients, all with specific, and sometimes not so specific, emotional/spiritual needs. And unless one works within a religious entity, here's my take on why a nurse's own religion needs to stay in the nurse's personal life.

    1. Patients do not come to a facility seeking religious conversion. So a nurse should never take advantage of the fact that patients can be fragile, they may be in the bargaining portion of their grief process, and they do not give medals for saved souls.

    2. Patients in general have their own set of religious values, beliefs, circumstances therefore, do not come into a facility to be converted into a nurse's own. If you are somehow "appalled" at someone's religious traditions, know your resources, and how to contact them to assist the patient.

    3. If faced with a patient that is life or death, they have stressors that the nurse can empathize with, but we really have not a clue the unique circumstance that a patient is feeling. Act ethically as a nurse, not the time to push religious agendas.

    4, We are required to meet the spiritual needs of a patient. Not ourselves.

    5. Patient have the right to change their mind. When faced with a life and death there are and will be patients who decide to drop their religious restrictions. It is their right to do so. Please do not try and then convince them otherwise.

    6. There are multitudes of people in the facility, the community, who know a heck of a lot more about one's particular religion than perhaps the nurse does. Use them.

    7. It is interesting to know and understand someone else's religious beliefs. So take note for future reference. There are multitudes of religious and variations thereof in the world, so it can only help next time if a nurse has a general idea.

    8. It is a huge grey area to participate in a religious act while someone's nurse. A nurse can pray for someone privately at home if you are so inclined.

    9. There are certifications for nurses to become religiously affiliated should that be your forte.

    10. Be respectful, but set limits to your participation, to your thought process in religion, and always have a plan "b".

    If you are not comfortable with providing certain care due to your own belief system, then what? Always have a plan of action if this is the case. Remember, you may have a patient who is not religious at all. That requires just as much respect and support as the devoutly religious.

    Compassion and empathy are not exclusive to any particular religion dogma, or no religion, nor will a nurse particularly "go to Hell" if they are providing ethical care to a patient. Patients have choices, and if a prudent nurse is acting in the best interest of what a patient wants for treatment at any particular point in time, all the better for it.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 13, '13
    BunnyWabbit, Orca, NF_eyenurse, and 15 others like this.
  2. About jadelpn

    jadelpn has '25' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ER, Med Surg'. From 'Massachusetts'; 49 Years Old; Joined Nov '08; Posts: 3,494; Likes: 7,946.

    Read more articles from jadelpn

    119 Comments so far...

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    I 100% agree with everything you've said but I'll get my popcorn ready because someone is sure to come along & preach why you are misinformed.
    BunnyWabbit, lorirn58, mebe5, and 9 others like this.
  4. 2
    Wonderful insight and excellent point, I really enjoyed this article.
    BunnyWabbit and jadelpn like this.
  5. 8
    I totally agree- one of the great things about nursing is we get to be exposed to a variety of cultures and viewpoints that
    are different than our own. I think the 'ideal' nurse of a particular faith would be able to be secure in his/her own beliefs, but
    still be able to respect and nurse a patient and their family of a different religion. They also would know their limits and resources
    to help out the patient, particularly in areas like hospice or palliative care.
    BunnyWabbit, Orca, Flutterflybaby, and 5 others like this.
  6. 8
    Quote from jadelpn
    4, We are required to meet the spiritual needs of a patient. Not ourselves.
    EXACTLY.
    BunnyWabbit, Orca, ddunnrn, and 5 others like this.
  7. 5
    Quote from Nascar nurse
    I 100% agree with everything you've said but I'll get my popcorn ready because someone is sure to come along & preach why you are misinformed.
    I second THIS.
    ...waiting for the microwave to ding NOW...

    I will input I felt the post was consist, neutral and provided sage advice.
    BunnyWabbit, Meriwhen, Nascar nurse, and 2 others like this.
  8. 2
    I agree with everything you say. I don't know how some can justify their ethnocentric views and consider themselves good nurses. Ever hear of transcultural nursing practice?
    Sailnskinurse and jadelpn like this.
  9. 3
    I personally love to hear about other peoples faith and belief systems. Just because it's not what I believe doesn't mean I'm right and they are wrong.
    Orca, jadelpn, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  10. 5
    I agree with you, Jade. One thing I will do, if asked to by the family is join in prayer by closing my eyes or joining hands with others. I've found that, especially in cases of home health or other specialties that involve long-term contact with families whether or not we are of the same religion takes a back seat to the emotional/spiritual tenor surrounding those present.
    Orca, Sailnskinurse, blodeuwedd, and 2 others like this.
  11. 5
    I completely agree with the OP. Our faith (or lack thereof) has no place at the bedside---this is the patient's experience, not ours. We also need to be secure enough in our own belief system to understand that those of others deserve to be respected, even if they're different. Judgmentalism has NO place in nursing.

    This is one of the many ways of being a proper advocate for our patients. Keeps us out of trouble on public forums as well.
    Orca, Marshall1, motherof3sons, and 2 others like this.


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