The analogy of the prejudiced patient that was brought up in the VIP suite thread has kept sticking in the back of my mind. I hope that raising this question does not offend anyone (ready for flames just in case...)
In the course of my experience and in the area where I live, sometimes we encounter prejudiced and intolerant patients and/or family members. Unfortunately, bigoted jerks can become sick bigoted jerks and find themselves in our hospitals, and the illness may well bring out the worst in their personalities.
Generally, if the patient or family does not way to have "one of those (insert racial, religious, gender-related or sexual preference expletive here) taking care of" him/her, we've usually respected their wishes. This is NOT because of any approval or support of their prejudice itself, but becasue we have no wish to expose our peers to their unreasonable behavior. Nursing is hard enough without having to face doubt, suspicion and outright abuse through no fault of our own.
In ideal circumstances, this isn't an issue. However, sometimes staffing, patient condition or caregiver skill make such assignments difficult. In that case, is the optimal healthcare professional assigned to the prejudiced person in spite of having whatever characteristic that person finds detestible? Of course, this "optimal" assignment isn't optimal in view of the patient/family prejudice, so maybe the prejudice should be considered above the skill level of the caregiver, etc. etc. You see how you can think yourself into a corner on this one.
Please share your thought and feelings on this, especially if you've experienced it directly. Perhaps you can help provide insight into the "right" thing to do in these circumstances. Thanks! Nursemouse :kiss