Quote from boomertx
From my experience here in the U.S. if you are asked by someone at work, especially a manager, ask them first if they are a "christian" and if they say "yes", then respond with "well so am I" and if they are some other religion, you can be otherwise honest. btw, I am a buddhist.
If they're asking at work, they need to be careful, lest anything they do thereafter be deemed harassment based on religious preference. And because of that, I'll go out on a limb and say I believe it's illegal to ask
, even at a religious-affiliated health care institution.
The correct answer is, if you don't care to answer (and you can if you want), "I don't answer such questions in the workplace." Regardless of who asks it.
That said, I had a patient when I was a student once ask me to pray for him - to lead him in prayer. He was a pastor who had been dx'd with prostate cancer and was having surgery. I'm just spiritual enough, and I believe in God profoundly, that I was comfortable doing it. LOL, though, because I told him I don't know how I'd do since he was the professional in that case.
I'll never forget him; I clicked with him from day one and was strangely honored that he'd asked me to do it. But I did it because I want to; we'd established a bit of a relationship over a couple of days and I was fine with it. My guess is he'd figured out he wasn't out of line in asking. I stumbled through the task (I'm no Right Reverend, to be sure!), apologized for my ineptitude - he looked so relieved and so pleased that I was immediately glad I'd tried.
Remembering it - and him - still makes me smile.
I've had a few cancer patients that I know very well and I've told them, since I know how important their faith is to them - and again, I'm comfortable - that what 'we' need to do is give the little stuff to the medical staff (treatment, comfort, and all that goes with it) and the big stuff to the Lord, put it in His hands. But I know these people; I would never presume to do this with someone I didn't know as well as that.
I always ask if someone would like to talk to a Chaplain. Sometimes I've even encouraged it - in the military we're sometimes afraid of what may get back to our superiors, but a Chaplain is bound by oath to not repeat nor report ANYTHING said - and I always share my own experiences: I had a few problems when I was enlisted and I trusted it to a Catholic priest, who happened to be the available chaplain the day I went to the Base Chapel. He was wonderful. I talked to a Chaplain in basic training (I am a domestic abuse survivor and I was having nightmares about it) who helped me tremendously.
I really like the way decembergrad2011 described dealing with religion - it honors the pt's beliefs and keeps their own private. It assists the patient greatly, I'm sure.