Religion in the work place

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    Is religion or lack there of, ever a problem in the workplace for Nurses? Has anyone gone through a difficult situation involving a conflict about religion?
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    I am an atheist and keep my religious views private, so I have not encountered it being a problem. I have held hands and prayed with patients before, nodded along encouragingly while they've talked about their own beliefs, and read from the Bible, but in most cases I refer them to the chaplain and allow them to work in their role of spiritual advisor for the patient. That's what the chaplain is there for, and they are a great resource.

    I've been cornered a couple of times when a patient has asked me directly about my religious beliefs, and I normally counter with a question such as, "Are you interested in talking with the chaplain?" or "What's on your mind about religion?" 9 times out of 10, the patient wants affirmation and to be heard out, not to intimately discuss the merits of various religions.

    As far as co-workers are concerned, it's really none of their business and I tend to stay away from those conversations. No need to get into a debate or face judgment in an already highly stressful workplace.
    BluegrassRN, Nurse_Diane, nurse2033, and 7 others like this.
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    I'm a spiritual person who believes in God and the power of prayer, but I do not actively belong to any single religion.

    Anyhow, I live in a Bible Belt state and am constantly being asked which church I attend. Around here, it is automatically assumed that everyone is religious and a practicing Southern Baptist.
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    I am not religious... the only time I ever had a problem was during the 2008 election when a former co-worker told me that A) Obama is a Muslim and B) All Muslims want to kill all non-Muslims. She then told me I was lucky to have survived when I informed her that I had a number of close friends from the Middle East. My head nearly exploded from the conversation.

    This was at a large hospital that served patients from all over the world... I took care of MANY Muslim patients in my time there. It was quite disturbing to hear that a nurse at this institution was so bigoted against all Muslims in that sense....
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    I am a practicing Catholic with an active, vigorous faith in my Lord and Savior, and I am proud to profess that faith wherever I go. However, it's not my job as a nurse to talk about my faith with patients, let alone try to convert them. When I am at work, my job is to provide them with the competent care and the compassion they need, and to make the healthcare experience about them, not me.

    Yes, I've prayed for patients, with patients, even over patients, but only when they request it and only when I'm comfortable providing spiritual care. I would never presume to know what goes on during a Muslim prayer service or a pagan ritual, so I would have to find someone who does know about non-Christian religious rites; but I would never disrespect a patient's religion or lack thereof. While I love attending a baptism and thinking "Yay, we got another one for our side!" it's not up to me to make those choices for the patients in my care. Makes things pretty simple, don't you think?
    nurse2033, jadelpn, Anoetos, and 2 others like this.
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    I've had a few situations where I was cornered. It was difficult to deal with because it was a manager who brought it up. I was just asking to see how much of a problem it is.

    Its good to support patients when they need it the most and I can't say how much I appreciate people who are respectful!
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    It seems to be the opinion of the media too. Its so sad.
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    Quote from Blufea
    I've had a few situations where I was cornered. It was difficult to deal with because it was a manager who brought it up. I was just asking to see how much of a problem it is.
    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.
    Last edit by boomertx on Jun 29, '12 : Reason: grammar usage wrong
    Nurse_Diane and Blufea like this.
  11. 4
    I was badly offended by a co-worker who was a regular church member and devout Christian who had the "us and them" mentality who saw certain staff-members as being evil, eg. "We're seeing the real Pattie," or "There is a force to be dealt with and her name is......"
    One morning I came in to work and overheard her calling someone a "miserable a------." What ever happened to that phenomena of God taking all the swear words out of their mouths?
    I remember one day when she was talking openly about someone's sexuality and referring to her a "counterpart" of one of our patients.

    There are those who use religion to keep themselves on a high and mighty pedestal where they can look down at anyone who's having problems. With their gossip and their own short tempers they are no better than the rest of us and are a part of what makes health care such a difficult profession.
    I don't mind devout Christians at work when they don't look down at their co-workers.
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    Which makes them neither devout nor very Christian as far as I'm concerned..."judge not lest ye be judged" and all that - and yes, that's a slight misquote, but it seems to get forgotten a lot in the name of 'Christianity', which is beginning to bear very little resemblance to any Christianity I'm familiar with.

    JMHO.


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