Would You Pray if your Patient asked?

  1. 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, others said it was too personal a request for a patient to ask, and others said they would call the chaplain as they felt it is a chaplain function only.

    I witnessed one occurence where a patient asked his nurse to pray with him. Without hesistation, she took his hand and prayed a very nice non-denominational prayer. I realize not everyone can or might not want to do this, but it really brought solace to that patient.

    Your thoughts?
  2. Visit LasVegasRN profile page

    About LasVegasRN

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 4,948; Likes: 27
    RN Case Manager


    ...if put in that situation; don't know if i could lead the prayer session though. :uhoh21: i would be as sincere as possible & focus my thoughts & prayers on that sick individual (whether a child, adult, or pet). i would like to think that i could continue to be my patient's advocate in that respect though.

    i wouldn't have anything against those nurses whom aren't comfortable with their religious convictions that wouldn't allow them to pray for someone else. this is an individual choice & their decision not to want to participate is o.k. with me. :wink2:
  4. by   Fgr8Out
    "...others said it was too personal a request for a patient to ask, and others said they would call the chaplain as they felt it is a chaplain function only. "

    You're KIDDING!!!!

    What are the scopes of Nursing? Are we not taught to consider ALL of a patients needs, including physical, psychological, emotional, SPIRITUAL??

    OK, so prayer IS a personal issue. But so is a physical exam, counseling and practically everything we as Nurses do for/with/to our patients.

    I won't argue with those who are more comfortable calling in a chaplain, but to believe it is NOT a function of Nursing..? What if prayer is the ONE thing that will make the difference for this patient?

    Nevermind the various denominations or religions... any patient asking for prayer deserves to have my presence if that is their wish. At that point, I'm fairly certain my patient won't care if I'm praying to Jesus, God, Buddah, Allah or whoever... but the fact that I am open and willing to offer spiritual intervention may be just the inspiration a patient needs at certain times. I can only imagine what thoughts might cross a patients mind if I were to refuse to be present for them at this, their most vulnerable time of need.

    Too "personal" a request to make from a nurse? I beg to differ.

  5. by   CountrifiedRN
    I am very interested in hearing replies to this question. Our nursing class took an NLN Exam today (It is supposed to be an indicator of how well you will do on the NCLEX) and there was a question just like the one asked in this post. There were four multiple choice answers that I can't remember exactly, but I thought it was a difficult question due to it's subjective nature.

    Unfortunately we don't get to see the correct answers because they are mailed to the NLN to be graded, and we just get our percentile score back.

    I haven't been in that situation, and I don't know what I would do if asked. But my thoughts are that a short, non-denominational prayer would do a lot for the patients spiritual needs, with out imposing ones own beliefs onto the patient.
  6. by   highasthesky
    Sure, if I were asked to pray for or with someone, I'd be more than pleased to obige them!
  7. by   ucavalpn
    Sure why not.
  8. by   susanmary
    When asked by patients, I have prayed with them regardless of their faith. I believe it is my privilege to do so and feel blessed that my patient feels comfortable enough with me to ask me to pray with them.

    I pray every night for my patients -- sometimes individually -- more often I am so tired that I ask God to simply "bless all my patients."

    I believe it is up to the individual nurse -- if he/she does not feel comforable praying with a patient, then it is his/her right. For me, it is my pleasure -- especially if a prayer can bring comfort to those I care for.

    Sending good thoughts to all of you. Hope your weekend is safe, happy, and fun. Be kind to yourself.

  9. by   P_RN
  10. by   nightingale
    It can be one of the most healing of moments. If you are not comfortable with it then get a referal for a chaplain or family referal is the right step till you gain comfort.

    It must be dealt with though in meeting the patients needs. All of the hospitals I work in have a spirituality section as part of the assessment.

    I had a lot of positive experiences working in Oncology with pray requests and talk of the "next level". It was truly a gift to share that very private part of someones life. Prayer was healing for the family too.

    I hope you will grow comfortable with this as you develop your nursing experitise.

  11. by   proud2bme
    Absolutely! When drugs fail to control the pain, sometimes turning your energy to a "higher power" through prayer will help ease the pain. I know from experience.
  12. by   duckie
    Not only have I prayed with my residents but I have sang to them also. Some of them are quieted by a soothing song they remember from their church days. Each resident is an individual and I try to do what I see they need and what they react to. I have a strong faith in God. He's all I'm clinging to these past few months and I think many times that comes through to those I care for. No matter how down my spirit is, sharing my faith with them through a touch, a hug, a prayer or a song, it lifts me up as much as them.
  13. by   micro
    duckie.......so nice to see you and to see how you nurse .......but this is not a surprise to me.........as i knew already.........

    You stated it so perfectly......you have to be individualistic in your care..............and you see what your patient needs and you provide it to them.......

    please no one flame me.......

    cause my belief system is deep.......but you feel what you feel from your patients and you provide it to them...........god or the higher power or whatever it is out there will understand and probably is in the grand design of it all anyway..............

    great thread and keep on threadin...... and caring............
  14. by   hoolahan
    Me too Duckie, I have prayed with them, and sang hymns with them, and I would do pretty much anything anyone asked me too as long as it does not involve live sacrifices! Not that anyone would ever describe me as inhibited, but it can be more inhibiting to do this in a hospital environment, but in home care, it feels very natural.

    Once I "baptized" a baby before surgery. A few of us nurses in the PICU decided no child should go to surgery unbaptized, so one Presbyterian nurse, one Jewish nurse, and one Catholic nurse took a bowl of sterile water in a sterile basin (closest we could get to holy water) and I performed the ritual. We all just felt it was the right thing to do since the mother had abandoned the baby b/c she had a cardiac anolmaly.