Nursing and the Sabbath

  1. Hello everyone,
    I'm starting my career in the medical field as a STNA in 2 months. I plan on becoming an pediatric acute care nurse practitioner. Because of my faith, I cannot work on Sundays. I really am passionate about being an ACNP, but I am scared to death that i wouldn't get hired because of my beliefs. I would be willing to work any type of schedule to make up for the Sundays I couldn't work. I would also be able to come in on Sundays only if there is a major emergency (earthquake, freeway pile up, ect)
    What are your all's thoughts? Do you think a hospital would be willing to work with my religious beliefs?
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    I would recommend speaking with your religious leaders. Many religions have exemptions about working on holy days for staff in areas like healthcare where it simply isn't possible to close up shop.
  4. by   kdf6404
    Okay, I'll do that! Thanks!
  5. by   llg
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    I would recommend speaking with your religious leaders. Many religions have exemptions about working on holy days for staff in areas like healthcare where it simply isn't possible to close up shop.
    Yes, I've worked with many people who THOUGHT their religion prohibited working on Sundays ... but when they actually discussed it with the leaders of their religious organization, they found that healthcare workers were allowed to work -- because people need to receive care even on the Sabbath.
  6. by   hppygr8ful
    While it's true that many religions make exceptions for health care workers and other 1st responders to work on the Sabbath. Some facilities do make accommodations for people of faith as well. I know of a least two people at my facility who do not work on Sunday due to their religious affiliation/ beliefs. One works Tuesday through Saturday. The other works Sunday PM shift after their religious obligations have been met. It never hurts to ask. I had another friend who tried to say they couldn't work on Sundays - got it off - promptly friended everybody at work and posted pictures of themselves partying and drinking etc... Not such a good move.

    Hppy
  7. by   kdf6404
    My religion doesn't really allow even health care providers to work on the Sabbath unless its a life or death emergency, and even then, I would have to give all that days pay to the church. If I could come in on the Sabbath and not get paid for it, that would even work better, but I don't think that's an option.
  8. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    I would recommend speaking with your religious leaders. Many religions have exemptions about working on holy days for staff in areas like healthcare where it simply isn't possible to close up shop.
    I've always said you don't hear about hospitals in Israel shutting down before sunset on Friday, or Catholic hospitals kicking all the patients out on Saturday night and letting them back in on Monday

    I would start by talking with your religious leaders first. Don't go by what family/friends/rumor says what your religion dictates. Talk to your priest/rabbi/minister/etc. You'll find that most religions will make accommodations for you...though what exactly those accommodations will be, will be determined between you and him/her/them.

    Your workplace may also be willing to accommodate your schedule, though a lot of that depends on the workplace. Private practices and clinics will probably be easier to work with than acute care facilities that run 24/7.

    And IMO, "saving a life" and "life or death" doesn't necessarily mean only the drastic measures. I would consider that providing necessary treatment to prevent a patient's condition from deteriorating or to keep them safe from themselves (I am in psych, after all) as a form of saving one's life. But that's me.
  9. by   Glycerine82
    In my opinion if you choose this career you also need to accept the things that go along with it, including working weekends and holidays.

    If you simply can't work on Sundays and you aren't willing to rethink that decision, I would suggest looking for jobs that aren't open on Sundays.

    As an aside, many religions allow for working on holy days when its this type of career, since people can't choose when they need medical care.
  10. by   MA Nurse
    The majority of nursing jobs require working every other weekend. I've never heard of a hospital making an exception for religious beliefs. That's life in the medical field...working weekends and holidays.
  11. by   lhflanurseNP
    If this is going to be an inconvenience due to your religion...why not consider a regular pediatric NP program? They work M-F, so it is not an issue!
  12. by   pro-student
    Some facilities will be willing to work with you but generally rotating weekends in the norm in healthcare. Instead of every other weekend, I have heard of nurses working every Saturday and having every Sunday off. (A good friend of mine did the opposite and worked every Sunday.) I second those who encouraged you to have a sit-down with your individual religious leader to explain the situation and get their advise. Acute care is 24/7/365 and it's not a great mindset to going into the profession expecting religious exceptions. I don't mean to sound insensitive to your beliefs but this might not be the best career decision if that is a make-or-break issue. There are many many Jewish physicians who have made it through residencies that, I'm sure, did not allow them every Sabbath off. Your god is a gracious god and, I'm sure, did not intend sick children to go without medical attention once a week for his sake.
  13. by   meanmaryjean
    The parable of the ox in the well is applicable here. I would posit those in need of care are oxen- and by providing that care we rescue them from the well.
  14. by   Neats
    As a German Jew I find myself at odds at times but I have never been told not to work on the Sabbath. I am in the medical arena and I provide direct patient care, I work when needed for this is my gift and it is interrupted different ways I look at it this way:
    Both the Old and New Testaments invite us to care for the needs and alleviate the sufferings of others, for the Sabbath is a good day for all, particularly the lowly and the oppressed (Ex 23:12; Matt 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:11-17; John 9:1-21).

    Other Christians may look at this different. I would certainly speak to the elders in your church but I will leave you with this

    In every religion, culture there are hospital, nursing homes...that operate 24/7...these facilities do not close.

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