When is it appropriate to share faith at work?: One nurse's story - page 3

by NF_eyenurse Guide

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As nurses, we wear many hats. To name a few: we are caregivers, providers, assessors, comforters, encouragers, teachers, an ear to listen. Are we to be evangelists or preachers? In my opinion, no and....yes. I believe that it is... Read More


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    Leslie, you might want to note 'true' Christians. Not 'just say you're a Christian'. What does 'education' have to do with being an 'uncompassionate' nurse and a nurse who sticks medication in a patient even if they are screaming? You don't know anything about me.
    FSUNurse2b likes this.
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    Quote from lovebug0
    Stephanie, I believe windsurfer was making a point. I could not believe 'one' R.N. who comes in a room and talks about God. Most are not true Christians and will stick medication in a 'patient' against their will and not show compassion. Nursefrances 'liked' windsurfer8's comment. Christian 'lover of Jesus' and 'liking' that comment? How can a 'true' Christian like that?

    Hi lovebug. Yes, I am a Christian and I am a person, a mom, nurse, you know a "regular joe". I understand people will have different opinions than I do. So I respect what windsurfer posted as their personal opinion. It doesn't change who I am or what I do. We all have an opinion, as do you. Which I also respect.

    Religion can be such a touchy subject. I wish it wasn't that way but sadly it is.

    Thanks for taking time to post your thoughts here. Really. I do appreciate people taking time to post. It is all of our opinions, thoughts, encouragement, debate, etc. that makes AN a special place in my opinion.
    aknottedyarn likes this.
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    I think this is one of those polarizing subjects to which many feel strongly about. We can agree to disagree as long as we are respectful and polite.

    I think it is ok to have religion at the bedside....however it need to be driven by the patient themselves. I can't say I haven't said a few Hail Mary's under my breath is bad situations when I needed an extra boost for one reason or another.....but what I believe in may not be what my patient believes in. I have seen voodoo rituals and wiccan ceremonies to back country superstitions/rituals....if it makes the family feel better or the patient more comfortable...I'm good with that. However I do put my foot down on live sacrifices....LO )(just kidding).

    I once worked with a Jehovah witness and I never knew until one day I answered my door and growled at her (I was napping form nights) we both laughed and promised never to tell.......Never once did she minister at work. She was respectful of her patients first and foremost.

    Lets be respectful and stick to the topic.
    NF_eyenurse and aknottedyarn like this.
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    Quote from lovebug0
    Nursefrances 'liked' windsurfer8's comment. Christian 'lover of Jesus' and 'liking' that comment? How can a 'true' Christian like that?
    Didn't Jesus also teach, "Judge not, lest ye be judged?"
    elkpark likes this.
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    Quote from lovebug0
    Leslie, you might want to note 'true' Christians. Not 'just say you're a Christian'. What does 'education' have to do with being an 'uncompassionate' nurse and a nurse who sticks medication in a patient even if they are screaming? You don't know anything about me.
    I assume you are talking about "a" person who said they were a Christian, and not "all" Christians? I know there are nurses who do that, and it is not right, of course.

    Quote from nursefrances
    Hi lovebug. Yes, I am a Christian and I am a person, a mom, nurse, you know a "regular joe". I understand people will have different opinions than I do. So I respect what windsurfer posted as their personal opinion. It doesn't change who I am or what I do. We all have an opinion, as do you. Which I also respect.

    Religion can be such a touchy subject. I wish it wasn't that way but sadly it is.

    Thanks for taking time to post your thoughts here. Really. I do appreciate people taking time to post. It is all of our opinions, thoughts, encouragement, debate, etc. that makes AN a special place in my opinion.
    Well said, and I agree!
    NF_eyenurse and aknottedyarn like this.
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    Quote from nursefrances
    As nurses, we wear many hats. To name a few: we are caregivers, providers, assessors, comforters, encouragers, teachers, an ear to listen. Are we to be evangelists or preachers? In my opinion, no and....yes. I believe that it is appropriate to share my faith when the patient has already started the conversation and I am adding to it. Here are a few stories to make my point.

    It was 6:40 pm. Twenty minutes left until shift change. (At last!) Of course, this is when my new admit wheels down the hall. I knew she was coming so I was able to finish my other duties and check on other patients before she arrived. I greeted the patient with a smile and introduced myself. She said hi and smiled back. She said "You're a Christian aren't you?" She saw the look on my face that said "Wow, how did you know?" She then smiled again and said. "I can tell by your smile, you have a glow of happiness. You must know the Lord." She was a very spiritual lady.

    She was there for 24 hour cardiac observation. We talked and shared our love for the Lord for a few minutes while I checked her vitals and got her settled in her room. We prayed for her situation. She also prayed for me and then I said thank you and goodbye. I went on to shift change report. We both left that situation blessed and at peace.

    One more. Some time ago I worked in a surgery center preparing patients for surgery. A patient walked in to my area and sat in the chair. My job was to screen the patient and start an IV. We hit it off from the get go. We learned quickly that we were both Christians. (You know, the smile/glow thing?) I only had one arm available to start an IV due to health issues with the other arm. She also said that she was a hard stick and from her body language she didn't like needles. I tried once but wasn't successful. She asked if anesthesia could start the IV. I let the doctor know and went on to my next patient.

    She was a very difficult stick, small veins that blew easily. The doctor and a few other nurses tried with no success. I was busy with my new patient but would look over to her wishing I could hold her hand while they tried to start her IV. When I finished with my patient, I had a moment to go talk with her. She was almost in tears. She really didn't like IVs but could not have surgery without it. Surgery was needed. The doctor did not want to postpone the surgery if possible. When I went to the patient I saw one vein on her hand that was like a neon saying "pick me! pick me! I'm the one!"

    I asked the patient and anesthesia if they minded if I tried "one more time". The patient said ok. I didn't want to use a tourniquet. I will have the patient hang their hand over the chair. "gravity is my friend" I always say with hard stick IVs. When I hang their hand over the arm of the chair, I need to be lower. I will put the stool low or sit on my knees. I was on my knees and the patient grabbed my hand and started praying. (She read my mind, I wanted to pray too.)

    We both prayed. I prayed that God would use this situation for His glory. That it would be a witness to others in the room that God can do anything. Even something as easy as calming a patient and getting a good IV. After we finished praying I was about to start the IV. I started praying again while I was starting the IV. I instantly felt her body and hand relax. I got it! She was so happy. She gave me a big hug and a peck on the cheek.

    I found out later on that at her post op visit she described the whole story to the staff at the doctor's office. She couldn't remember my name but I was "the little angel who started her IV".

    Times like these stories, this is when I believe it is appropriate to share. When the patient starts the dialogue. If it is started by the nurse and the patient is not a believer I think it can come across as unwelcomed. We as Christians are to go about the world spreading the good news. But I believe this should be done on our own time, not our employers.

    What about you? Do you like to share with your patients? Any thoughts?
    Well, I'm not a nurse quite yet. I hope that doesn't preclude me from responding to this post. My wife is an RN and you are correct, Christians have to be VERY careful within the workplace. I've always said, if we have families to feed, we share our faith at our own peril. You are absolutely right, we as Christians are to go about spreading the good news (i.e., gospel). Gospel in the greek, simply means, "good news"! AND, we know that good news is Christ died for our sins, so simply by believing in that, we can have eternal life.

    But, again, we must be careful, especially when it comes to our jobs/careers. As a nurse, I don't think I'll talk about Christ, unless asked. At least, that is how my wife approaches it. And you know what?, she too has had people ask her if she is a Christian and they're not surprised in the least to know that she is! You mentioned it's the glow. Well, you're right. It is the Spirit of Christ, living in you and showing forth His light:

    12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    This is exactly what you have, the "light of life" within you.

    Personally, I try and turn to the Word for as many answers in life as I can. One verse that comes to mind is in the gospel of John, when Jesus said:

    18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    So, because of this, we must take caution within the workplace. But, outside of the workplace, just remember what Paul said:

    10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    Unfortunately, in the workplace, it's a "sound" decision to please people. And, I only say this because Paul is very blunt about not working:

    8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    Thank you again nursefrances for this article!!! Very touching! And just "hang" in there!
    NF_eyenurse likes this.
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    Quote from leslie :-D
    many of these folks were fundamental Christians...
    and a few of these people were paralyzed with fear, convinced they were going to hell.
    it was at these times, that i would share my (non-denominational and spiritual) beliefs...
    including but not ltd to, my non-belief of God's wrath.
    i do believe i brought a lot of reassurance to these people as death drew near.
    other than to try and comfort those who were suffering, i have never shared my beliefs...
    regardless if pts brought it up or not.
    to me, nsg is supportive in nature and generally speaking, don't see why or how religion should be a part of that role.

    leslie
    When I have patients, who are fundamental Christians and paralyzed with fear, convinced they are going to hell, "I too" at those times, would share my (non-denominational and spiritual) beliefs...including, but not limited to, my "non-belief" of God's wrath on believers. And I too, would imagine that this would bring a lot of reassurance to these people as death draws near.

    And, I would, in the most "humbled" manner, reassure them with these wonderful Words:

    John 3:16
    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    And finally, this...

    2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
    This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

    1 Thessalonians 5:9
    9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Last edit by FSUNurse2b on May 9, '13
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    Quote from FSUNurse2b
    And, I would, in the most "humbled" manner, reassure them with these wonderful Words:
    And finally, this...

    2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
    This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
    WRONG answer.
    you would NOT tell a dying patient in spiritual distress/crisis, that they may be doomed to everlasting destruction!!!
    some of these folks have already spoken with the hospice chaplain, have fervently prayed and are still questioning their faith...their beliefs!!
    so HELL no, you would never never never insinuate anything remotely terrifying to a pt in crisis.
    NEVER.
    yes, i got incredibly upset by your response.
    please, do not work with the dying.
    i know you mean well, but that has to be one of the scariest responses i've ever seen.

    i'm done here.

    leslie
    Nurse_Diane, Rose_Queen, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
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    Thank you so much for sharing this. This will definitely help me during my journey. I really enjoyed your stories!!
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    Sadly, I have to agree with Leslie. I'm respectfully wondering if nursing may not be the place for you, FSU. Given your strong beliefs and love of scripture, I can see you as a preacher or missionary. If spreading your views is the most important belief you have, a religious career may be more suitable. I know for sure, if you ever started quoting hellfire and damnation to me, a family member, or another patient ("believer" or "non-believer") I would be right in front of your Director of Nursing demanding your termination. That's completely and utterly inappropriate.

    I also have to wonder where your attention would be in a crisis. Are you going to be focused on praying for a patient who's coding, or or you going to be able to be 100% focused on protocol? I'm sorry-I'm not trying to be mean. I know you are well intentioned but it came to mind when I was reading your post.
    Last edit by BCgradnurse on May 10, '13 : Reason: additions
    Nurse_Diane, Rose_Queen, Esme12, and 2 others like this.


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