It's not my job to pray with you.

Nurses Spirituality


I am not religious. I do not pray. If praying makes you feel good then awesome. Do that. When patients are religious and need spirutual support, I am the first one to find their local pastor/rabbi/medicine man/etc. for them. This is how I can support my patient. I do not feel however, that I should be pressured to say prayers. yes, I will give my patient space and quiet time to pray if they want, but i don't feel it's my job to pray with patients. I feel this is over the line.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,498 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

And you are right. Call the hospital chaplain.

I have no problem with it if it makes someone feel better, but as a non church going person I am not the best person for the job.


46 Posts

I totally agree with you. Religion makes me so uncomfortable, and before I came upon this post I honestly thought that all nurses would be required to show some kind of spiritual support.

But I guess not.


1,763 Posts

Is you hospital requiring you to pray with people?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

176 Articles; 27,610 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. Although I am not religious, I do not mind praying with patients who request prayer. After all, when we are at work rendering direct patient care, the nurse/patient relationship is centered upon the patients' needs. It is about the patient, not the nurse.

Even though I live and work in the Bible Belt where churches stand on every other corner, this issue does not come up often for me. I might be asked to pray with a patient once or twice a year at the most. Hence, I wonder what prompted this thread...


2,107 Posts

It is your job, however, to provide spiritually appropriate care. If someone asks you to pray with them, you can stand there and be silent while they pray. If they want you to pray over them, then that is the point where you get someone else to come in.

Your post is pretty militant in tone. I hope you consider the spiritual needs of your patients as an important part of their care. For many patients, their spiritual state is just as important, if not more so, than their physical state.

I'm from the Bible Belt and many of my family members would place prayer as a priority over many medical interventions.

Whether you agree with the patient's practices or not, it is your role to be respectful.


1,262 Posts

Specializes in PICU.

I had a patient that was not going to survive. Hospital chaplain had come in and said some prayers. Later that day, the family's clergy came and was going to have a big prayer circle around the pt. the family stated that it was very important that I be a part of this circle. I am not of the same religion as the family, I did participate in the circle, it just involved holding hands and silence, the family said some chants and then it was done. The family stated they were grateful that I was there. they said they needed the mix of medicine and religion.

Now when they wanted more prayers, I just got the chaplain.

You don't have to be a believer of religion to be there for the family in that way. If you are not, just have silence, think of it as a quick break from a hectic day and an improved connection with your patient.

Specializes in Ambulatory Care-Family Medicine.

I live in the Bible Belt south. I'm semi-religious but I am spiritual and do believe in God. However I do not pray with my patients. I'll get them the chaplain or call their minister for them if need be. My religious practices are my own and I don't feel comfortable bribing religion into the workplace. I work for a baptist owned hospital organization. They do not require us to pray with the patients. That's why there are chaplains who spend years learning their religion so they can help these patients spiritually.


38,333 Posts

I hope that you are not antagonistic toward the patient when you refuse to pray with them. To me, it is just too easy to stand there silently while they pray, so I do not see the reason to be negative.


46 Posts

Is you hospital requiring you to pray with people

No, but my school boasts on being holistic focused.


1,763 Posts

No, but my school boasts on being holistic focused.

Well if you don't like that, then why are you at that school? You weren't forced to go there.


516 Posts

People let's be careful and not let the emotional aspect of this topic derail the thread. It's not my place to question the OP's motive or "tone". OP, I do not believe in gods, gnomes or fairies but as a nurse if the pt asks me to pray I would consider their request and try to find someone to accommodate even if I myself don't believe in it. Being respectful of other's beliefs is the cornerstone of our profession.

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