Religion Needed to be a Good Nurse? - page 5

by Kabin 32,319 Views | 323 Comments

We just covered a spiritituality/religion lesson in our BSN course and the instructor (religious) came out and said good nurses had spirituality and would be there for whatever spiritual needs the PT had. I understand the... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    1. I never said Marx was stupid. I said he was an idiot. There have been and are many 'smart' idiots in the world.

    2. I actually agree with most of what you wrote. My understanding of religion is best summed up in Acts 17: "He (God) did all this so we might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each of us." I don't think you get credit for 'going through the motions'. But I also think the effort to reach out is more important than the process of how you do it.

    3. I'm not a 'republican'. I'm a 'movement conservative'. And for the record, I'm the best nurse in the history of nurses. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.) LOLOLOL.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.

    Please understand it was never my intention to accuse anyone of being...the R word. I was, simply, inspired by Nurse Ratched to do some instigating. Religion, politics, ASN vs BSN: these horses are all looking a mite sickly, but it's still fun to drag them out and beat on them from time to time.

    In school, some of my classmates held a prayer circle before each nursing test. I missed one, and got a C. To be honest, I think it was a coincidence. Or, more to the point, the hectic schedule that led me to be late for the prayer also interfered with my studying, which is why I didn't do so well. But, for all my many doubts about religion and spirituality, I do feel there was a power in quietly joining hands with a group of people I liked and loved and communing with the Almighty. It is said that the tao that can be spoken is not the true tao, and that goes to the core of my beliefs: the more you define it, the less it means.
    As for the "masses," I think any talk of them is likely to wander from the truth, since the so-called masses are made up of many unique individuals. The masses are faceless because we choose not to see their humanity. It's clearly true that people will do collectively things they would never contemplate individually. Tomorrow night, the streets of my hometown with be filled with burning furniture, yet I doubt many people wake up and say, "I think I'll burn a sofa." It's just something the masses do after a football game. But among the mob, there will be a group of people who, at some moment, did actively choose to join in the melee, probably reasoning that it's just harmless fun, and a crappy old sofa, anyway. Others may decide sofas are boring--let's burn a police car. Some will go along, others will draw the line at sofas.
    Marx, Jefferson, and countless others didn't see the humanity behind various religious movements. It's hard to think of a crowd as being made up of earnest, caring, sincere people. I have a habit of using t.v. evangelists as my archetype for false prophets (and I don't think I'm too far wrong in that), but it's a mistake to see those who follow them as mindless sheep. Get to know any one of them, and he or she is probably a lot like me, looking for hope and answers, love and purpose. We few who are chosen to experience these problems on a higher level of consciousness are in fact simply more conscious of ourselves than of others we don't know. We choose not to see that others are just as alive as we are. We see followers of organized religion as too afraid of "adult" questions to open their minds to other paths, or we see those who explore Eastern philosophies and paranormal phenomena as feckless dillitantes lacking the discipline to commit themselves to one belief system.
    And yet, from certain angles, we're pretty much the same.

    I didn't come into nursing through any clear intention of my own. By the time I started nursing school, I knew what I wanted, and I was determined to get there. Now that I'm here, I have no doubt it's where I need to be. But I stumbled into healthcare like a blind drunk, and in the times of doubt, I've reached the conclusion that I was led to this by something greater than me. Maybe God just wanted me to really understand that everyone looks pretty much the same when you're giving them a suppository. Maybe there are even larger lessons to come.

    P.S. Not sure I'm really buying your distinction between "stupid" and "idiot," but I'll think about it.
    ChelseaLynn1623 likes this.
  2. 1
    Quote from tvccrn

    Jesus, God, Yawah, Jevohah, Isis, Astarte, whatever you call your diety doesn't figure into the care you give your patients. It's your attitude, your compassion, and your treatment of them that makes you a good nurse.
    Well said.
    badmamajama likes this.
  3. 0
    I think having religion/spirituality in your life DOES make you a better nurse (whatever that religion may be), because (and i am making a broad generalization here, i understand) most religions encompass basic loving, caring, moral values that we hold ourselves accountable to and effect the way we respond to others.

    I am a christian, and whether or not you chose to believe in the teachings of the Bible, it still is an excellent creation of literature that sets forth moral and ethical codes of conduct and compassion...as do other religious guides.

    Also, just because someone doesn't claim a specific religion or does not acknowledge a higher being does not make them unspiritual. Our spirit is who we are and influences the care that we give to those in need. I believe all nurses have kindred spirits to be able to perform in this feild.

    As a christian, one of the basic teachings that I have lived by is not to judge others and to love all beings as children of God, regardless of fault, color, creed, etc. etc. I respect all religions with an open mind and do not force my views upon another. If I have a pt that approaches me with a delimma and I know they have similar beliefs, I offer my ear and share their experience with them...I do not shy away. If they do not share my beliefs, I do my best to find someone who can meet their needs.

    And one last thought...a former poster stated that a nurse should not pray for her patients without their permission. Prayer is a powerful practice of my religion and personal beliefs, and I chose to pray for all those that I feel need MY GOD's blessing, and I will continue to do so in private with or without their permission because it is my conviction and right to do so.
  4. 0
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    I think having religion/spirituality in your life DOES make you a better nurse (whatever that religion may be), because (and i am making a broad generalization here, i understand) most religions encompass basic loving, caring, moral values that we hold ourselves accountable to and effect the way we respond to others.
    .
    I would feel that way if I actually saw a difference in the behavior of the religious and non-religious I work with (or spiritual, whatever we want to call them). I don't. Some are great nurses, others are not so great. It's entirely possible to be a Christian and be a bad nurse and uncaring to other human beings. I see it when they interact with our non-traditional families all the time. You can be an atheist, but still believe in caring for your fellow human beings and respecting them. It is really about the individual's behaviors.
  5. 0
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    I think having religion/spirituality in your life DOES make you a better nurse (whatever that religion may be), because (and i am making a broad generalization here, i understand) most religions encompass basic loving, caring, moral values that we hold ourselves accountable to and effect the way we respond to others.

    I am a christian, and whether or not you chose to believe in the teachings of the Bible, it still is an excellent creation of literature that sets forth moral and ethical codes of conduct and compassion...as do other religious guides.

    Also, just because someone doesn't claim a specific religion or does not acknowledge a higher being does not make them unspiritual. Our spirit is who we are and influences the care that we give to those in need. I believe all nurses have kindred spirits to be able to perform in this feild.

    As a christian, one of the basic teachings that I have lived by is not to judge others and to love all beings as children of God, regardless of fault, color, creed, etc. etc. I respect all religions with an open mind and do not force my views upon another. If I have a pt that approaches me with a delimma and I know they have similar beliefs, I offer my ear and share their experience with them...I do not shy away. If they do not share my beliefs, I do my best to find someone who can meet their needs.

    And one last thought...a former poster stated that a nurse should not pray for her patients without their permission. Prayer is a powerful practice of my religion and personal beliefs, and I chose to pray for all those that I feel need MY GOD's blessing, and I will continue to do so in private with or without their permission because it is my conviction and right to do so.
    I could not have summed it up better myself.

    I have a little prayer that I try to say on the way to work each time. It varies a little but always includes " and God, please keep my hands strong and steady, my mind clear, and my heart pure. Please keep my lips quiet when they need to be and help them utter the right words when needed. Be with my patients and their loved ones and wrap them in your love and comfort. Without you by my side I can do nothing but with you I can do anything that is your will." I promise you....if I ever am rushed or distracted and forget to pray this prayer on the way to work, things do not go well. Call it self-fulfilling prophecy, snake oil or call it what you will, but it does work.
    So yes, I do need my religion to be a good nurse.

    Some of you will laugh at me, others will be angry and maybe a few will agree. I don't care.

    I am not intolerant of others' beliefs at all (unless their beliefs include intolerance - then it is a struggle), .but I just know that I am a better person with my God by my side - through my shifts and in my life.
  6. 0
    Quote from fergus51
    I would feel that way if I actually saw a difference in the behavior of the religious and non-religious I work with (or spiritual, whatever we want to call them). I don't. Some are great nurses, others are not so great. It's entirely possible to be a Christian and be a bad nurse and uncaring to other human beings. I see it when they interact with our non-traditional families all the time. You can be an atheist, but still believe in caring for your fellow human beings and respecting them. It is really about the individual's behaviors.
    If you read my entire post, I said the same thing...that nurses must have a caring kindred spirit to even perform in this feild.

    I totally agree with you that some Christian nurses can be awful to their pts, just like I see the same lot come to church every Sunday but their heart is not in it. There are hippocrits everywhere sadly to say. Being truly religious is more than just claiming a God and going to church. It is a lifestyle you lead even when no one is watching.:kiss

    and I believe that an atheist can be an exceptional nurse...it is not my place to judge. But I would like to add, that I find atheist more intolerant of my Christian beliefs than I am of there non-believing position.
  7. 0
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    But I would like to add, that I find atheist more intolerant of my Christian beliefs than I am of there non-believing position.
    Being agnostic, I have to respond to this. It's not that those who do not believe similarly are intolerant, moreso they do not like it when sometimes those of others faiths push their beliefs upon them and this just seems to happen more often in Christianity. Nontheists rarely talk about their beliefs unless they feel their belief system is being questioned. To me, religion is a personal thing and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be applied so nobody feels the need to defend their beliefs. I think oftentimes Christians assume everyone believes and do not mean to offend. For example, I know I sometimes receive those mass generated religious emails from friends who do not know my beliefs, because I don't talk about them publically and rather than become annoyed, I simply delete. Those who push when they do know how I believe, well then I get ******. Nobody likes it when someone implies their belief system is "wrong." It's more about respecting others beliefs than being intolerant, IMO
  8. 2
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    and I believe that an atheist can be an exceptional nurse...it is not my place to judge. But I would like to add, that I find atheist more intolerant of my Christian beliefs than I am of there non-believing position.
    I'm sorry that's been your experience. In the US, I have never worked anywhere that Christians are not in the majority. I respect their beliefs and only ask that they respect the beliefs of others. I have had several of them try to "save" me by making me a good Christian like them. It used to offend me, but now I just take the attitude that they are only trying to introduce me to something they think I will like, just like someone recommending a good restaurant. With that attitude, I just politely brush it off and usually they get the message and leave it at that.

    The only time I have a problem with anyone's religious beliefs is when they encourage intolerance. We deal with a lot of families that are not married, including same sex couples. When I see the venom from some nurses who would call themselves Christians or spiritual, it just reinforces the belief that I have that religion is not a requirement for being a good nurse. For some nurses, like you, it will make them better at what they do. For others, it will make them worse. There is no hard and fast rule.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Oct 29, '05
    badmamajama and ChelseaLynn1623 like this.
  9. 0
    Even within Christianity there is a lack of understanding of others' beliefs by some that can progress to intolerance in severe cases. For instance, I am a practicing Catholic in the Bible Belt (largely Baptist and Congregational Holiness). We are a definite minority and viewed as "odd" by some...there is a local physician who happens to belong to our parish, and although he has lived in this area much longer than I , he tells me that he often has to "defend his faith". It does seem that some of the predominant denominations in the area's members are more prone to proselytize. Many times I have been asked by a patient out of the blue.."Where do you go to church?". I don't feel that this is any of their business but I answer them truthfully. I cannot fathom asking a patient that though!!! As if where I went to church would make a difference in the quality of care I gave?

    I do not discuss religion with anyone unless specifically asked...nor do I foster my beliefs on anyone. I have friends from all walks of life and many denominations - Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and agnostic. My best friend of 30 years is an agnostic, as a matter of fact (but even she is very spiritual in her own way...and the most wonderful person ever).

    All that being said, my religion is mine, is private and important to me. I do think that being grounded in some sort of spiritual belief is important to deal with the stresses of nursing...also to help nurture that spirit of caring that is so essential to the job. But as to the variety or flavor of that belief...that is up to the individual.

    If a patient asks me to pray with them I will...If i enter a room and a pastor is there with the family praying or "laying on hands" I stop and observe silence at a very minimum.

    So in answer to the OP, perhaps religion is not essential to being a good nurse. Being a good and caring person is...and that is not necessarily quantified by churchgoing or open profession of religious belief.
  10. 0
    I dont think you need religion at all..
    . I am religious..
    . I just think you really need a love of people... and a drive to get by.!


    And a strong head, etc.........................good sense of humor.......


Top