Religion and work-- is there a median? - page 4

hi kids... For those that dont know me, my name is Barbara. I am a Wiccan priestess, a moderator on these boards, and a LPN. Wicca is a very gentle peaceloving religion...if anyone needs more... Read More

  1. by   traumarns
    I have worked for two religous hospitals, and one nh for retired nuns.
    I am jewish.
    My first job, i LOVED. i loved the pts. it was a nursing home. i worked side by side with active nuns. and took care of retired nuns.
    not once did i EVER feel discriminated against.

    i then left to work for a private catholic hospital, also owned by nuns, but run by bean counters. i did not felt discriminated against at that place either. when christmas came around and they had all the christmas, and jesus decorations up, i asked if we could have chanukah decorations up as well. the next day i came in somebody brought in a mennorah and set it up at the main nurses station.

    now, i also worked for the centura organization for all of 3 months. in denver, centura owns 2 catholic hospitals, and 2 7th day advents hospitals. this is the 2nd largest for profit organization in denver, they get much of their revenue from the government. i think the nurses went out of their way to TRY to make me feel like second class citizen. the hospital spouts their religous beliefs on the patients as well. no caffeine was served anywhere in the hospital. nurses could have caffeine IF we bought it ourselves and brought it in. meat was not served in the caffeteria, nor was it served to the patients. every time a baby was born a prayer was said over the loudspeaker, EVEN AT 3AM. this was not a secular, prayer, it was a prayor to jesus.
    I felt that religion was shoved down my throat on a regular basis, not just from management, but from my coworkers.

    I knew when i went through hospital orientation, it was a religious hospital. as i stated earlier, i have had no problems
    working for religous entities. however, after my last experience, nuff said.

    I see nothing at wrong with wearing religous items on your body.
    I see nothing wrong with decorating during holidays, however, if one must decorate for the christian holidays, then it must be done for all the holidays. at least acknowledge that other beliefs are out there.

    we are in a profession that sees ALL walks of life come in our doors. we as nurses MUST be tolerant of all religions and cultural beliefs. we cannot judge, nor give substandard care to those pts whose beliefs we disagree with.

    we cannot expect, nor demand our patients to be as tolerant.
    we may not be able to accommodate all beliefs 100% of the time.
    but we have to try. for instance, many from middle eastern, or arab cultures, do not wish to have a man as a nurse. it does not always work out that way.

    when working in the er one day, we had an mva come in.
    the guy had a swastika tatood on his wrist. It was me and gerri, who were his nurses. gerri, and the trauma doc, are black men.
    this person, looked at gerri, and said "I dont want no f.. n... taking care of me."
    gerri's response "well it is this f..n.. that is going to save your life. so get over it."

    the trauma doc just laughed, and then we intubated the man sent him to ct. and off to the or he went.

    a month or so later we got a letter from this nice speciman of a human being. he apologized for his behavior, and thanked gerri and the trauma doc for taking care of him.

    one more thing on that subject, then i will shut up
    most hospitals get their revenues from the government, whether it be medicare, medicade reimbursement, tax deductions. whatever.
    why is it such a problem in public schools to say "under god" when saying the pledge of allegiance. but hospitals can force their religious beliefs on people who do not believe that way?
  2. by   fab4fan
    Originally posted by kona2
    Barbara- I work at a Catholic hospital. Though I am not Catholic, and neither are many of my patients, we are inundated with Catholic prayers, quotes, etc. I am surprised how that one coworker reacted to your shrine. I thought tolerance for multiculturism and religious belief was taught in most nursing schools. I don't believe in alot of the Catholic stuff, but if it brings comfort to others, what do I care? Your statue is no more offensive than any other religious symbol.Most religions hold the same principles at heart of peace, love , and respect for life. I would not be offended by your differing belief. You have every right to be upset.
    This kind of makes me laugh (not Yeti's problem...the above post). I'm not Catholic, but I also went to a Catholic hospital based program, and by the time I graduated I knew the "Hail Mary" like the most observant Catholic.
  3. by   fab4fan
    Unless you belong to a religion that is considered "outside" the mainstream, you cannot appreciate how cruel people can be. I've posted on this before, so I'm not going to repeat all of that...

    Personally, I think it would be nice if religion were not referenced at work. However, that's unrealistic, so most of the time I just ignore it. Let someone tell me that I am going to fry for all eternity because of my beliefs, then...(actually, that's an empty threat, since I don't believe in a firey hell, but...)

    I woud have been upset, too, if someone would have called me crazy. And I loved the "Holy Cow" post. That was too funny.
  4. by   Momto3RN
    Going off on a bit of a tangent....workplaces aside..
    Some time ago, I mentioned to a colleague that I had most of my Christmas shopping done and she corrected me saying that the politically correct term was "holiday"shopping.

    That really upset me! Other people can call it whatever they want, in front of me or not, I don't care. People who do not believe in Christmas can call their shopping by whatever term they desire. But I should not have to change MY choice of terms just because someone else does not choose to be tolerant of my beliefs.

    I don't see enough compromise in our less-than-perfect society. It seems that if Jack is offended by Jill's philosophy, instead of Jack being tolerant of her free agency, Jack does what he can to get rid of it, thereby offending Jill.

    Thanks for listening, all!! And I have been very impressed by the opinions expressed on this thread!
  5. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by KP RN
    I guess I'm in the minority. Displaying religious items at work is not appropriate. I don't think you can achieve a happy medium.
    The point is that prayers referencing Jesus as the only Lord cannot be agreed on by everyone. A crucifix can arguably make some uncomfortable. Imagine a jewish nurse displaying a star of david and an israeli flag on a shelf. How long do you think that would last??
    I would never consider displaying religious symbols in a common area of my work, and I would request the same of you...
    "On the back bulletein board is a christian prayer (it is the only thing on that board, and, distinctly references the 'one lord jesus christ')

    On the front board is a similar paper.... on it is a christian cross and a prayer/thanks to our staff.. "

    perhaps i am mistaken, KP RN, but i think most of us felt that if they are allowing christian prayer posters and the like, theyshould also allow barbara's wiccan display, which she descibed as quite subtle and on an unused shelf. also at issue was the questioning of her sanity, persumably for practicing a "nonmainstream religion"
  6. by   KP RN
    Those posters have got to go too!! I am absolutely APPALLED that hospitals (secular, non-religious) would permit religious objects to be displayed in common areas!
    I have NO PROBLEM with nurses who wear crosses, wwjd bracelets, mezuzahs, or any other religious object ON THEIR PERSON.
    Religious articles are just not appropriate decoration at the nurses station....
    Barbara's co-workers were out of line by suggesting she was nuts by practicing a non-mainstream religion. However, the hospital administration should have put an end to the posters/religious objects, etc long ago.
  7. by   CashewLPN
    Is it wrong to display something that is or can be a familiar site to our patients/workers.... hmm... honestly, I keep my small shrine up.... I've explained it to my fellow workers... they now understand... Why? because they've asked...

    now, KP, if hospitals in their entireity were forbidden to contain anything religious, how would we minister to our patients spiritual needs? Would a pastor be considered a 'religious object' if seen in the white collar? How about a nun? now... How about a Wiccan Priestess (or priest for that matter) or a Rabbi? An Islamic Leader?

    hmm.. anyhoo...
    Turns out that one of the Christian Deacons started the explanation of my shrine... Blessed be to her...

    hmm... next, to Fundimentalist Religious Peoples (I'm not going to go into each and every sect, group, and variation)
    There is a basic wiccan ground rule... Do What You Will, and Harm ye None... Translated out... Do whatever you will do... but dont hurt yourself or anyone else in the process.... in essence it is the golden rule... We also have another guideline... (I can post them all up if you'd all like...) it basically says that Wicca is not the only religion of the world... you're (insert your own here) views are just as right as mine... and I will not debate the truth of that...

    I am still upset that I was referred to as 'crazy' but, I'll get over it... no problemo... and... I do so prefer if people ask rather than assume....

    Oh.... also.... just to give some cool info... I went to a Pagan Pride Project 'Pagan Pride Day' up at battery park a few days ago... it was marvelous.... Classes, Workshops, Vendors... and a large circle... the positive energy was endless... it was truely a beautiful event... we celebrated our 'harvest'... or what it is that we reaped within ourselves... our goals we've met.... beautiful... then... we 'planted the seeds for the new year'... essentially, we all chose something that we wanted to accomplish in the new year.... then, we sang together.... 'We All come from the Goddess.. and to her we shall return... like a drop of rain... flowing to the ocean'.... a beautiful chant to raise energy... to put us all in synch with one another... (kind of like when in church, when the hymn you know so well is done, that powerful good feeling you have inside?) and we used that energy to help boost us in getting our goal accomplished...

    anyhoo... back to the topic... now, the one major SI catholic hospital's DON asked me to stop teaching contraception back when I was in school... hmm... if thats not pushing the beliefs, what is?

    alrighty kids...
    back to reality..
    Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again...
  8. by   micro
    Do what you will and harm ye none.

    Simply beautiful,

    Keep on being who you are,

    This world could do with more of the above philosophy. Truly.

    Displays at work.........what makes an "happy" employee is respect and respect. For someone to insult me, because of a difference is their problem, not mine. But it still can make it difficult.
    "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."
    Last edit by micro on Oct 2, '02
  9. by   Scavenger'sWife
    If the hospital asks/tells/mandates an employee to not wear religious symbols on his/her OWN BODY - what are we to do with our Sikh physician who wears a turban???? heehee (and he is my personal doctor also...he is super)

    I too love the positive postings here. Very mature and non-judgmental. Great debate. Some of the other threads could learn a lesson.

    Keep up the good work Barbara and all....

    Peace..... Debby
  10. by   l.rae
    l work for Seventh Day Adventist hosp....l have never felt their beliefs shoved down my throat...they offer meat in the caffateria...and some SDA's eat is obvious through out the hosp that it is a Christain organization...just as the Catholic facility l worked for had objects of the Catholic faith.....There is a couple of Jewish facilities...a hosp and an ECF in the area....guess what....same there...l believe if the facility is based in a religious affiliation then it is wrong for anyone to expect that they would not aknowlege their faith within the work environment......however for secular establishments...l agree with the posters who state personal beliefs should be a discreet matter with the individual.....Shoud anyone ever ask me to share my faith with them though, l certainly would.....LR
  11. by   CashewLPN
    Danke schoen...

    hmm... and another day goes by.... the statue is now down... management decided to YELL down the hallway that it was innapropriate... so... my statue went down... the st. joseph at the nurses station went down, the beautifully enameled white cross is down... its all down.... after debate with management... (and a promise to call the ACLU if she did not wish to be legal with her wants) small icons/figures/pictures shall be ok at the nurses station, on the small wall surrounding it... so, now, a tiny St. Joseph, my penticle (essentially my avitar) a star of david, a cresent and star, and a laughing buddha are all hanging out down there.... ahh well...
  12. by   NRSKarenRN
    Compromise can be rewarding.
  13. by   micro
    Originally posted by Yeti1313LPN
    Danke schoen...

    hmm... and another day goes by.... the statue is now down... management decided to YELL down the hallway that it was innapropriate... so... my statue went down... the st. joseph at the nurses station went down, the beautifully enameled white cross is down... its all down.... after debate with management... (and a promise to call the ACLU if she did not wish to be legal with her wants) small icons/figures/pictures shall be ok at the nurses station, on the small wall surrounding it... so, now, a tiny St. Joseph, my penticle (essentially my avitar) a star of david, a cresent and star, and a laughing buddha are all hanging out down there.... ahh well...

    Actually, Barbara, I say "You go girl"!!!!!!!!!

    But if belief systems are to be honoured, then all should be allowed and honoured. PM later