Question for atheist nurses

  1. 1
    I am just at the very beginning of my nursing education, so forgive me if I am being presumptuous, but my preliminary understanding of the nurse's understanding of the human is that we incorporate body, mind, and spirit. Those of you who profess atheism, do you utilize this understanding, or do you see humans as strictly body and mind? or something else I'm not thinking of? TIA!
    Joe V likes this.

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  2. 72 Comments...

  3. 5
    I don't think this comes into play at most places you work at. Yes we all look at a person holistically, their whole being. So if the pt or family needs spiritual support, there are usually non-denominational clergy employed by the hosp that can visit. Social work also asks these types of questions to ensure that pt's are receiving all types of support that they think that they need. Treating the spiritual side of the person sometimes is just that 'other' part of them, the part that we can't touch or see, but know we effect with a smile or kind word. It is not expected that you sit and pray with a pt, or agree with their beliefs. It is expected that you respect their beliefs and do what you can to get them what they need so they can have peace within themselves. I liken it to that good feeling you get after a yoga class, lol.
    MedChica, kabfighter, nrsang97, and 2 others like this.
  4. 12
    You can still be considerate of the patient's spiritual needs without sharing the same (or any) religion.The key is to be respectful.
  5. 19
    A person can be quite spiritual without believing in a magical creature called "God'. Atheism and spirituality are not mutually exclusive.
    kabfighter, Nurse_Diane, smoup, and 16 others like this.
  6. 0
    llg, care to elaborate? Are you talking about polytheistic religions? Pardon my ignorance.
  7. 3
    I believe the term "spirituality" has lost it's definition over time. Ask 100 people and you will get 100 different answers.
    CURRYA, RunnerRN2b2014, and loriangel14 like this.
  8. 8
    Quote from babyRN.
    llg, care to elaborate? Are you talking about polytheistic religions? Pardon my ignorance.
    I'm sorry for not answering this question earlier. I didn't see until the post until today.

    In the broadest sense, "spirituality" is that realm that deals with a person's belief systems -- about the nature of the universe, his/her place in it, etc. Those beliefs don't have to include ANY supernatural being. A person can believe in a supernatural being "behind the scenes" running everything (mono-theism or "God") ... or they can believe that their are multiple supernatural beings (polytheism)... or they can believe that there are no supernatural beings and that things exist because of the forces of nature playing themselves out (atheism).

    An atheist can experience very profound feelings of awe and wonder at the power of nature ... see beauty in the universe ... experience profound connection to it all ... find meaning in their existence ... hold strong moral values ... etc. without having to add a god figure to the mix. With such possibilities, atheists can be deeply spiritual. I have been told more than once that I am one such a deeply spritual atheist.
    Last edit by llg on May 30, '13
  9. 7
    Just to add..... When atheist nurses are dealing with the spiritual needs of Christians, it would be best to not refer to God as a "magical being". Those who believe in God do not view Him or His power as "magical".
  10. 3
    Point taken. I didn't use the word "magical" to offend anyone. I was just trying to not use the same word ("supernatural") multiple times in the same paragraph. I went back and edited the post to avoid offending people.

    Thank you.
    tewdles, Esme12, and tnbutterfly like this.
  11. 6
    I cater to the pt's needs. If that includes 'the spiritual'? So be it.

    I've repeatedly read from the Psalms to calm a resident. I've jammed out to Amy Grant with a pt. My first hospice patient, I sang hymns with the family. I've discussed spiritual matters with a pt. I mean, I spent enough time in private school and church. Of course, I can wax poetic on these matters.
    I fake the funk at work, often. I don't talk about my non-belief because it's not work appropriate and I don't want anyone saying ugly things or treating me differently. If you're a doubter, you have no idea how rude some can be. Certain religions who shall remain nameless routinely request for tolerance of their faith when they're the least tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them or worships differently.
    ...and they wonder why militant atheists exist....
    I have a CNA who talks to me about Jesus and church 24/7. It's rude. I with it, I guess.
    You can get mad about it but why bother? That's just the world in which we live. Majorities are usually oblivious and uncaring to the feelings/needs of the minority.

    All in all, religion isn't that serious, to me. Spirituality? I don't think about because I normally don't care about things like that. I don't get the sense that I'm surrounded by the unseen so why would I?

    Doesn't mean that I don't wonder about things. Despite my doubt, I've never stopped seeking and never will. I just wish that I could find better answers.
    LLG mentions 'awe'.
    Yes... I'm just in awe of this universe. Nature. I see beauty and order.
    If this is 'gods' handiwork then it is utterly perfect. Religion has inspired man to create beauty, I'll say.
    Nothing appeals to the core of me like classical.
    Nothing brings me to tears like the 'Miserere'.

    I confess that I am not a true atheist. I'm agnostic but a strong doubter, nonetheless.
    anashenwrath, brownbook, llg, and 3 others like this.

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