Would You Pray if your Patient asked? - page 3

If a patient asked you to pray with or for them at the bedside, would you? I had this discussion with some other nurses and the responses were interesting. Some said they would have no problem,... Read More

  1. by   night owl
    I certainly would pray with a patient or anyone for that matter. I've even sung a hymn or two. Anything that brings comfort to one's heart and soul. Sometimes prayer is the only thing that brings any comforting. I had this patient and together we said the rosary every night that I worked with him...It brought ME great comfort to be able to take time out of my busy schedule to sit down at the bedside and say some very needed prayers.
  2. by   Sleepyeyes
    This thread is very similar to another that was titled: "How do you share your faith on the job, " in 2/02's Off-Topic section, so I'm going to clip part of my answer from that, as it holds up in this case too.

    "There is a valid nursing dx called "Spiritual Distress" and it is my job, therefore, to minister to the spirit of the person in distress if I can. While parish nurses and Hospice nurses get more specialized training for this, we all need to be aware that the patient has the right to express and practice their beliefs.

    If a person professes to be a Christian (as I am) and would like prayer, I believe it is my duty as a Christian and a nurse to pray for them. I will also ask if they would like their minister or priest called, or the chaplain. Supporting this notion that nurses are also "ministers" is the fact that nurses are allowed to perform the last rites of the Catholic faith as well as baptism, and it will be recognized by the Church--a priest told me this--if the situation of their death is "imminent" and there is no priest around.

    So when someone professes to believe as I believe, and asks for prayer, I'm as ready as if they asked me for a pain pill and had a 'standing order.' "

    Frankly, I haven't had any people of other faiths ask me to pray with them, but if they did, I think I could manage a few words that wouldn't offend either God or them, or I could ask around and find someone who could.

    PS I also sing, but only if they promise not to laugh. I then go into a rousing rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" heehee
    :chuckle We usually wind up giggling while they try to keep a straight face (yes, I'm that bad).
  3. by   misti_z
    I have not been in this situation before, but if asked I would. I have joined hands with family as someone leads the patient in prayer and bowed my head respectively. I have, although, read Bible verses to patients when asked. It is very touching how doing so is soothing to the patient. :angel2:
  4. by   PattiRN
    Yes I would and have even prayed silent prayers for those who didn't ask! I knew a nurse who sang Amazing Grace with the family of a dying patient. What a a peaceful thing to do.
  5. by   Zee_RN
    Yes, I have prayed with my patients and I have prayed for my patients. And I have sung hymns, too, when I thought it would be consoling for a patient (and ends up being consoling for me too).

    Still, I can see how it would be nigh on impossible for some people to follow suit. My kids have friends who have never stepped inside a church or religious building of any kind. When these kids grow up, how are they gonna know how to pray? Others may be in a similar situation.
  6. by   susanmary
    This is such a wonderful, insightful post. The original post was would you pray if a patient asked you to -- the question is not about pushing OUR religion/beliefs on a patient which would be unprofessional. It's a very personal question and, clearly, not a part of our "job description." For me, praying with patients (even receiving Communion with patients) has been some of the most meaningful experiences in my career. What a privilege. It is truly in giving that we receive. Holding hands with a patient, bowing my head in silent or verbal prayer at a patient's request -- such a comfort to patients -- such a comfort to me. I would be respectful of any faith -- because I am bowing my head or holding hands with them while they pray -- doesn't mean I don't value my own religion or mean that I'm ready to convert -- for those patients who truly find comfort in their religious beliefs -- it's part of the holistic healing process.

    Bless you all.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    I feel we do have a duty to attend to our patient's spiritual needs. Whether we lead a prayer, join a prayer or arrange for a visit by their choice of spiritual leader are different ways we can meet the need.

    I think a non-denominational prayer for strength, courage, healing is a great way to give comfort to patients and families.

    An aside ... I had a home health patient whose husband was a hellfire and brimstone religious fanatic.(possibly with some mental instabilities as well) He made it impossible for me to care for his wife because of his agenda to 'save' me, his persistent demands for personal info to 'cleanse' my spirit in his home...this is one time where I could NOT meet someone's spiritual needs. Luckily we don't run into many of these.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    As many nurses here, prayed with many of different faiths, even sung--quite badly but forwarded the patients didn't care. Zee 's response makes sense re no experience in religion may make someone uncomfortable.

    I serve as Eucharistic Minister in my church. Last Sunday, I admitted to homecare, the husband of my lone frequent flyer patient I still case manage. She is in a SNF as he'd had hip replacement. Because he had numerous questions at onset, I forgot to give him communion I'd brought and administered it at the end of the visit. His response: "That is all I truely needed to get better." I'd brought it cause I knew she appreciated it but was surprised that it even meant so much to him. Faith moves many in mysterious ways.

    If you don't know what to say, try this. Hold the patients hand or touch them gently on the shoulder and say: "Please send healing thoughts and relief from discomfort to this person." It is non-denominational and has been appreciated by many patients over the years.
  9. by   Huganurse
    Yes of course. I feel that this is part of my nursing practice, to consider spirituality and belief systems. Any religion, any time they ask I do it. I don't worry about if I am proficient at this or how I sound because that really doesn't matter. What matters is the comfort of the patient and anything I can do to help them recover.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  10. by   shay
    Originally posted by bagladyrn
    First of all, please understand that this is NOT meant as argumentative, but to encourage thinking this out.
    So far all these replies have come from a Christian viewpoint.
    What would you/have you done when this request comes from a patient with a very different belief system?
    Again - this is not meant as a hostile question - just to get your ideas.
    I had to respond to THIS particular part, because I thought she had a valid point....

    What if your patient were Hindu? Muslim? Jewish? Pagan? Would you still pray? I think I would with the pagan/hindu/muslim, I KNOW I would with the Jewish. Just being honest here.

    Incidentally, yes, I have prayed w/patients, and prayed OFTEN. Can't count the # of times I've been w/a difficult pt. or pt. in extraordinary pain that I've just silently prayed to myself for God to please help them and help me.

    My Christian faith definitely gets me through this rocky road some days.
  11. by   Huganurse
    What difference does it make that they are a different religion than yours? You can still pray with them!
    There are several prayers that are non denominational out there, ask your clergy if he or she has one they can share.

    May God Bless you all nurses!:kiss
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  12. by   KeniRN
    I am not a religious person but I would without hesitation.
    If it helps my patients and their families:angel2:
  13. by   fergus51
    Tracy I have prayed with most of the above! I sometimes joke I work in the United Nations because I like travelling and learning about other places (especially those that are warmer than Canada!) so the nurses always give me the "non-wasp" clients first.

    I have been there as a newborn muslim was born and stood quietly while his grandfather whispered the call to prayer in to his ears so it would be the first thing he heard. I even participated in a paganish blessing of a placenta for a patient. Odd to me, but hey, it was important to her so I say BLESS THE PLACENTA!!!!!