Catholic hospital - page 2

by Scarlettz | 3,160 Views | 14 Comments

There is a Catholic hospital that I would really like to work at in the future. I am not Catholic, nor have I ever attended a Catholic school in my past. I did a semester of my clinical rotation at this hospital and really... Read More


  1. 0
    There seems to be some confusion here concerning anti discrimination laws. Religious organizations are exempt from such laws and can legally discriminate against others based on religion or religious practices.

    Do these hospitals hire non-Catholics? All hospitals I know of do hire non-Catholics, but they are not required to do so, and the percentages of Catholic employees vs. non-Catholic employees isn't representitive of the regional or national population. The rationale for the exemption is this: a religious institution has customs and beliefs not necessarily shared by others. If they are forced to hire people of other religions in their hospitals, summer camps, and schools, the organization's beliefs and mission could be 'watered down' or altered by having people of other faiths overwhelm the numbers of observant employees. What would happen to a Mennonite school if they were forced to hire other religions? How would a Jewish hospital survive if they had to hire without regard to religion? Religious hospitals, schools, etc are typically founded to provide their members with a faith-based service. The Catholic church through Catholic Charities provides faith-based health and education to people outside its community, and hires some employees who are not Catholic, but there is no legal requirement that hiring be open to non-Catholics. If fact, if you compare the percentage of the general US population (about 20%) with the percentage of Catholic employees in a typical Catholic hospital or school (probably over 50%) you can see that they DO discriminate based on religion.

    What does this mean to a person who is looking for a job at a Catholic hospital? Probably that you have less chance than your Catholic counterpart who applies, but there is no reason not to apply. You should refrain from commenting in your cover letter about your appreciation for Catholic tradition unless you volunteered for a Catholic charity or donated enough money to a Catholic school that they named a building after you. Otherwise, you sound patronizing, overly solicitous, and insincere.
  2. 1
    Quote from Patti_RN
    There seems to be some confusion here concerning anti discrimination laws. Religious organizations are exempt from such laws and can legally discriminate against others based on religion or religious practices.

    Do these hospitals hire non-Catholics? All hospitals I know of do hire non-Catholics, but they are not required to do so, and the percentages of Catholic employees vs. non-Catholic employees isn't representitive of the regional or national population. The rationale for the exemption is this: a religious institution has customs and beliefs not necessarily shared by others. If they are forced to hire people of other religions in their hospitals, summer camps, and schools, the organization's beliefs and mission could be 'watered down' or altered by having people of other faiths overwhelm the numbers of observant employees. What would happen to a Mennonite school if they were forced to hire other religions? How would a Jewish hospital survive if they had to hire without regard to religion? Religious hospitals, schools, etc are typically founded to provide their members with a faith-based service. The Catholic church through Catholic Charities provides faith-based health and education to people outside its community, and hires some employees who are not Catholic, but there is no legal requirement that hiring be open to non-Catholics. If fact, if you compare the percentage of the general US population (about 20%) with the percentage of Catholic employees in a typical Catholic hospital or school (probably over 50%) you can see that they DO discriminate based on religion.

    What does this mean to a person who is looking for a job at a Catholic hospital? Probably that you have less chance than your Catholic counterpart who applies, but there is no reason not to apply. You should refrain from commenting in your cover letter about your appreciation for Catholic tradition unless you volunteered for a Catholic charity or donated enough money to a Catholic school that they named a building after you. Otherwise, you sound patronizing, overly solicitous, and insincere.
    Religious organizations- such as a CHURCH- are exempt from such laws but hospitals that accept state/federal funding (Medicare/Medicaid) must abide by all state and federal laws.

    I believe that in my state all hospitals (including Catholic hospitals) are required to offer Plan B to rape victims. These hospitals accept state funds in the form of Medicaid so they have to abide by this law.
    Meriwhen likes this.
  3. 0
    The Supreme Court recently made a clear exception to employment discrimination laws by ruling that religious organizations are free to choose (and dismiss) employees without interference from the government. The ruling maintains the rights of these organizations to select those who will carry out the church's ministry beyond the walls of the church itself; this freedom extends to affiliated workplaces where ministry or mission is part of the church's plan. Subsequent challenges will further determine the scope and limititations of this case law.

    In the Court's unanimous decision, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important. But so, too, is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”

    Because of the sweeping nature of the opinion, it was one of the most profound and decisive rulings of the last few decades concerning either anti-discrimination laws or First Amendment rights. The Court considered the trade-offs between the employment rights of protected classes and the separation of Church and State and ruled firmly in favor of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
  4. 1
    I am a non-Catholic, happily working for a Catholic healthcare organization for a long time. We absolutely do not discriminate based on religious beliefs - for employees, patients or anyone. In fact, we have a huge emphasis on positive diversity in order to ensure culturally appropriate care & a major part of it is having a workforce that understands and 'looks like' the people we serve. However, anyone working for the organization must adhere to the 'rules' that guide Catholic healthcare. These are spelled out in a document called "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" you can see a pdf copy of it here http://www.ncbcenter.org/document.doc?id=147. The primary differences are related to care at the beginning and end of life. There are a lot of myths out there - so it's best just to look at the source document.

    In the United States, Catholic healthcare was the basis of public health... long before any other type of safety net existed, the early nuns established hospitals in some of the most 'inhospitable' locations. If you'd like to find out more about this movement, you may want to read a book called "Say Little, Do Much: Nursing, Nuns, and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century" by Sioban Nelson. The book is pretty entertaining. Those ladies were a feisty bunch that didn't take a lot of **** from anyone!!!
    Meriwhen likes this.
  5. 0
    Well put, HouTx. I've been affiliated with Catholic Charities and diversity is a large part of their mission. The OP asked if she should include her support of the Catholic church in her cover letter. That seems not only unnecessary, but presumptuous and contrived. She remarked that many of those employed by this Catholic hospital are Catholic and wondered if there is some preference given to Catholics.

    The answer to this specific question lies in the philosophy of that particular hospital and their preferences in hiring. Some Catholic hospitals and organizations appear to give an edge or preference to practicing Catholics. It's evident in the percentages of employees who are Catholic vs. non-Catholic compared to the regional at-large population. This could be any of several reasons: networking (if an applicant is known to the hospital through association with a church, or has a reference from a well-known priest), the applicant's personal mission aligns with that of the organization (as evidenced by their work/ volunteer history), or a desire to promote their ministry.

    Whether each individual hospital, school, church, clinic or or other religion-based organization DOES discriminate based on religion or whether they are legally allowed to do so are two different questions. The answer to the former lies within the hiring practices of the overall organization, the specific institution where the applicant wants employment, and the opinion and preferences of the individual who is making the decision in that instance. The answer to the latter is, yes, a religious organization is exempt from anti-discrimination laws when selecting or dismissing an employee in any capacity that involves ministry or the direct mission of the organization.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top