Religion Needed to be a Good Nurse? - page 7

by Kabin

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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


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    I know it's off topic, but the concept of a Sep of C/S is a pet peeve of mine and it was used directly in a rebuttal against one of my posts. I'm responded to the content of the post only, but I'm going to take up this idea of Separation of C/S a bit further.

    From Madison Federalist #84 in his essay AGAINST a bill of rights: (He used the example of 1 of the items of the subsequent first amendment: freedom of the press - substitute another - freedom of religion, and the same point is carried through.)

    "I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights."

    This goes to the heart of Sep of C/S - if the gov't had no power to involve itself in religion in any case, then how can it have the power to REMOVE religion from civil discourse? To advocate that the gov't has the power to enforce a Sep of C/S is to grant the fed gov't a power SPECIFICALLY denied (or rather, SPECIFICALLY not granted) it by our founding fathers.

    Another thing to consider is the the Bill of Rights was designed, DESIGNED, to protect individuals from the just fear of a huge federal gov't. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE FIRST TEN AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION WERE DESIGNED TO LIMIT THE FEDERAL GOV'T, not to empower it.

    To say that the first amendment EMPOWERS the federal gov't to limit the role of religion in gov't completely misunderstands the rationale for a bill of rights.

    Madison maintains throughout the Federalist Papers that there are two ways to contrain a majority. 1. attack the majority, which would be a cure worse than the disease. 2. Make us all a greater majority to ourselves, which he described as would be as essential to liberty as air is to fire. It might be a more unwieldy solution, but it was the only practical solution to a true Republican form of gov't that protected minority interests as equally as majority interests.

    Let me suggest that Sep of C/S is of the former variety of solutions and is indeed, as Madison suggested, the act of removing oxygen from the fires of liberty.

    (sorry so long.)

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Oct 30, '05
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    Quote from kabin
    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 benefits of pts being able to express their own spiritituality, but not being spiritual myself, i always assumed this could happen without me losing my own identity/belief system by praying with the pt. there are professionals in this area afterall and it's not as if nursing doesn't have enough on its plate already.

    so the question is, does the nursing career, with all it's specialized education and skills, also view good nurses to be spiritual/religious or is this instructor taking some liberties with the topic?
    i can't answer that question for "the nursing career" or anyone else but myself, so please accept my answer based on my own beliefs as a spiritual person.

    i could not personally work in healthcare or in the field of social work if i were not in touch with my spiritual self. it is everything that i am, and all that i can unselfishly offer others. my spirituality keeps me from putting "self" in the way of "others needs" who count on me to deliver the best of myself to their very need.

    when working with patients, it is important for me to be in tune with their spiritual needs. if i'm not comfortable with my own spiritual needs, how can i address the spiritual needs of my patients as they need them? so, knowing myself and my own spiritual level of consciousness makes me confident enough to be completely there for each patient regardless of what their spiritual needs may be.
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    Quote from cheerfuldoer
    i can't answer that question for "the nursing career" or anyone else but myself, so please accept my answer based on my own beliefs as a spiritual person.

    i could not personally work in healthcare or in the field of social work if i were not in touch with my spiritual self. it is everything that i am, and all that i can unselfishly offer others. my spirituality keeps me from putting "self" in the way of "others needs" who count on me to deliver the best of myself to their very need.

    when working with patients, it is important for me to be in tune with their spiritual needs. if i'm not comfortable with my own spiritual needs, how can i address the spiritual needs of my patients as they need them? so, knowing myself and my own spiritual level of consciousness makes me confident enough to be completely there for each patient regardless of what their spiritual needs may be.
    i agree.

    i also agree that that is a personal perspective that may or, more likely, may not apply across the board.

    i think the op's instructor was guilty of making an overly broad generalization based upon a personal experience.

    ~faith,
    timothy.
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    I've been thinking about this thread and I guess it comes down to this: we are all most comfortable in those zones that most appeal to ourselves.

    I guess we all figure that what is best for us must be best for others.

    It's kind of like saying that vanilla is my favorite ice cream, and if YOU will just try it, you'd see why.

    But you're not really at a disadvantage if you prefer chocolate, eh? The point is that, even if vanilla is MY favorite, that I have the ability to find chocolate for you, if that is YOUR preference.

    And I doubt you have to like chocolate to understand that. . .

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Nov 3, '05
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    Quote from Q.
    I think the instructor maybe didn't do a good job at explaining what she meant.

    I think there is a big difference between religion and spirituality. I believe ALL humans posess some type of spirituality; I believe that is what sets us apart from other living things. Spirituality can mean different things to different people, but even in it's simpliest form, it can mean just being aware of one's existance and it's harmony with the rest of the universe. That to me is spirituality.

    I think a good nurse needs to recognize that humans are spiritual beings, not necessarily religious beings, and that just like physical conditions, sometimes a patient's spirit needs healing also.
    Beautifully and perfectly said (and expressed with much spirituality!).
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    I haven't read the entire thread, but I pretty much agree with the idea that Nursing can be a very spiritual vocation without actually involving religion or religious ideologies.

    Before I became a nurse, I left a very rule-oriented, high-control religious group (Jehovah's Witnesses) and no longer follow any religious path (other than helping other ex-JWs exit the group). I do not believe that religion is a pre-requisite for delivering excellence in nursing care, although respect and tolerance for the beliefs and practices of my patients is an integral part of being the kind of nurse who can facilitate open communication and trust with my patients.

    I can't imagine being a patient with a specific set of beliefs (or non-beliefs) and being subjected to a barrage of health care professionals wanting to "bless" me or pray for me, and I'd probably be quite offended.

    To my way of thinking, the nurse is there to facilitate a patient's own belief system (arranging pastoral care, finding a Bible, Koran or Torah, etc. if they want one and don't have their own, sitting with them while they pray if they ask me to, finding them a private place to pray or providing a blanket and letting them know which way is East, and so on) and NOT to proselytize them or plant doubts about their beliefs.

    I have learned SO much from my patients by inquiring about and respecting their beliefs and cultural/religious practices, and I think that it's made me a much better nurse than I would have been if I simply put up the mental roadblocks that tend to come with strict or intolerant religious beliefs.
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    While I don't feel religious involvement to be a prerequesite for being a good nurse, I can't imagine how anyone can look at the wonder of human life without believing in some kind of higher power. I considered myself spiritual before I attended and graduated nursing school, but as the complexities of the human body unfolded before me in A & P, Micro, and Growth & Development, I found myself amazed that humanity has reached the level we're at without some kind of divine help.

    On a lighter note, I've seen all too often how a person's religious beliefs can help them recover against the odds from a life threatening disease or injury. I myself have had a bit of a spiritual awakening during the decline and death of my Mother from Vulvar ca last month.

    Do you need to be religious to be a good nurse? NO, but I think the spirituality sort of comes with the job and grows stronger the longer you work in the field.

    BTW, I consider myself a "recovering catholic", and I work in a Jewish facility, and most of my friends are pagan/wiccan, so I support everyone's right to believe and pray as they wish.
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    Quote from JohnBearPA
    BTW, I consider myself a "recovering catholic", and I work in a Jewish facility, and most of my friends are pagan/wiccan, so I support everyone's right to believe and pray as they wish.
    This is interesting...

    As a Christian, I humbly submit that my religion makes very exclusivistic claims. I, too, support people to believe and pray as they wish---even if I think they are dead wrong. If someone in the workplace says, "Gee, Steve...I know you're a Christian and what do you think of blah, blah, blah...", then they should be prepared for my honest answer. As a Christian, I do not advocate religion anyway...I am an advocate of Jesus Christ and the relationship I have developed with him.

    Nursing care has very little to do with religion, methinks. I feel that as a Christian, I offer better nursing care when I take my religion seriously. If I were teaching a class on effective nursing care, I would mention that acceptance does not mean agreement. I would differ ferociously with Mormons, JW's, Satanists, Pagans, Wiccans, and those who did not think that Ferris Bueller's Day Off was a cinematic masterpiece. [OK, the last statement was offered tongue-in-cheek...but I think you all get the idea.] I have very strong beliefs...because, after all...they are MY beliefs. Although I would violently disagree with a JW about their stance on theology, Christianity, etc.---I would still give him the best possible care I could within my scope of practice...

    I think that is the bottom line with which, we can all agree...


    Last edit by brian on Nov 7, '05 : Reason: change emphasis
    ChelseaLynn1623 likes this.
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    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I know it's off topic, but the concept of a Sep of C/S is a pet peeve of mine and it was used directly in a rebuttal against one of my posts. I'm responded to the content of the post only, but I'm going to take up this idea of Separation of C/S a bit further.

    Timothy.
    I am impressed by your knowledge of this subject. Interesting material...you would be fun to get together with sometime for dinner, drinks or coffee, etc. if you lived near us.
    (BTW, I'm married...thats not a pickup line...just like good stimulating intellectual conversation)
    Keep the faith and we need more out there like you!!!
  10. 0
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    The stereotype that nurses are 'angels' is deeply rooted in the fact the modern nursing has its roots in religious orders.

    But.

    I don't think it's a requirement to be religious/spiritual, although it IS a requirement to not only respect but empathize w/ someone's religion. Nursing deals alot w/ death - it is important to be able to support that 'experience' from that person/family's perspective. That doesn't require identifying w/ those beliefs, but it does require being understanding and even supporting of them.

    And sometimes the best medicine is a good ear. It's a shame that administration doesn't feel the need to allot time for that in nursing care anymore.

    Realiistically, if religion were required to be a good nurse, then we'd need to specialize nursing along religious lines - only Methodists could take care of Methodists, Catholics Catholics, Muslim Muslims, etc. etc. And nobody is suggesting that.

    I don't have to be Catholic (and I'm not) to seek last rites (I know, not called that anymore) if it is desired - and to be respectful of that, well, rite.

    BTW, I'm a very religious person. I think you SHOULD be more spiritual - and I think it would make you a better nurse. But you can be a good nurse in any case, and my case for you seeking spirituality would have more to do for your own benefit. There's so much more to us than a physical core.

    Or lilke the bumper sticker I saw the other day: We are not humans having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    exactly, well said.


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