Religion Needed to be a Good Nurse?

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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 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?
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    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.
    MaddyLea and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    I agree that we are all spiritual beings. I personally am a Christian. This has helped me to be more responsive to all spiritual beliefs. I think that is one of the things sadly lacking in nursing..Taking care of the whole person.
    BunnySan27 likes this.
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    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.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Oct 27, '05
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    Kinda sounds like your instructor is taking a little liberty there. Have been an RN for over 20 yrs, am spiritual to believing in god/supreme being because mankind sure isn't smart enought to figure it out. Have taken care of all sorts of pt's from christians,jewish,muslim,and even buddhists. All we have is to respect their religious beliefs. My buddhist pt who passed the family asked me if he could be kept in the room(and not refridgerated) for 8 hrs and could their priest/holy man come, which i complied with. Ultra-orthodox jews if they die after sundown on Friday can not be touched til the sabbath is over, plus any removal of life-support, IV's etc must be done by someone of their faith only(we used to stand and instruct family what to do for removal). 7 yrs of Oncology made me question God sometimes as to why good people can die so horribly vs scumbags that go on forever. When I first became a nurse my older pt's would say "God bless you" while thanking me for something I did, made me think "hey, I didn't sneeze"- but realized that religion and God were important to them. A nun wanted to pray for once and asked what parrish I was with, told her I was protestant, she said"you'd still let me pray for you?", told her yes indeed(a good word with God or whomever my people believe in has to be a good thing. Sometimes you will learn things from people of different faiths, respect their faith(ask questions if there is something you don't understand;ie Jehovah witness refusal to accept blood etc), your own, and avoid deep seated religious debates unless you got lots of time on your hands(have gotten this from born-again people). Always treat your pt's with dignity, respect, and exactly the way you'd want to be treated if it were you in that bed. flaerman:wink2:
    ChelseaLynn1623 likes this.
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    [quote=Kabin] 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. quote]

    You already have spirituality given what you typed above. Do you truly believe the instructor was attempting to tell you to practice a religion to be a good nurse? Sounds to me as if you are deliberately attempting to misunderstand the comments your instructor made, but it is an interesting topic. I think it's a no-brainer to realize that comfort care including some degree of comforting their *spirit* when possible would be a part of nursing. (I mean... for example... what are you going to do when a pt says, "I'm frightened about this procedure....." walk out of the room and call a minister? What's a minister know about a hospital procedure?) That's all it means at a basic level, attending to their mind/spirit/feelings when you can...

    Knowing about other's religions, now that's a different topic. I'm currently taking a World Religion course to understand how other religions aside from Christianity impact people, because I do feel this is a valuable thing to know when dealing with people.
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    [QUOTE=Catsmeow]
    Quote from Kabin
    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. quote]

    You already have spirituality given what you typed above. Do you truly believe the instructor was attempting to tell you to practice a religion to be a good nurse? Sounds to me as if you are deliberately attempting to misunderstand the comments your instructor made, but it is an interesting topic. I think it's a no-brainer to realize that comfort care including some degree of comforting their *spirit* when possible would be a part of nursing. (I mean... for example... what are you going to do when a pt says, "I'm frightened about this procedure....." walk out of the room and call a minister? What's a minister know about a hospital procedure?) That's all it means at a basic level, attending to their mind/spirit/feelings when you can... .
    As I said before, I'm not spiritual, I've tried the magical thought/lifestyle change and it wasn't logical for me. And there's no misunderstanding on my part as I questioned the instructor numerous times when I was troubled. It sounds more like you are projecting some of your own views to discount my concerns about the orginal question/issue.
    Quote from Catsmeow
    Knowing about other's religions, now that's a different topic. I'm currently taking a World Religion course to understand how other religions aside from Christianity impact people, because I do feel this is a valuable thing to know when dealing with people.
    Good for you, I hope it helps out!
    ChelseaLynn1623 likes this.
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    I think the problem is you're seeing spirituality and religion as being the same. Religion is more based on particular rules that many collectively try to follow. (Someone else had already pointed this out so I didn't repeat it in my post.)

    If your instructor said you had to be RELIGIOUS to be a good nurse, I'd disagree. If he/she said you had to be SPIRITUAL (enough to respond to the spiritual needs/feelings like fear or worry in a patient) to be a good nurse, I'd agree.
    badmamajama likes this.
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    Quote from Catsmeow
    If your instructor said you had to be RELIGIOUS to be a good nurse, I'd disagree. If he/she said you had to be SPIRITUAL (enough to respond to the spiritual needs/feelings like fear or worry in a patient) to be a good nurse, I'd agree.
    I agree.
    Religion and spirituality are two different things and I think you are confusing the 2. Or your instructor is. Or both of you are.
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    religion needed to be a good nurse?
    no, but you absolutely must have a bsn. :d

    i am totally just kidding (ducks rocks hurling at me .) feeling kinda wicked today .

    no - you don't need religion to be a good nurse.
    Merlyn and badmamajama like this.


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