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It's not my job to pray with you.

Spirituality   (52,402 Views | 265 Replies)
by kickatthedark kickatthedark (New) New

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You are reading page 11 of It's not my job to pray with you.. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Fractal-5 has 2 years experience.

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I'm a staunch atheist and yet I realize that my job is to be there for what the patient needs in that moment. It isn't our job to tell the patient that there is no god. That is unnecessarily cruel and unkind.

The patient is ill and frightened and whether you realize it or not there is a power imbalance skewed in your favor. If a caregiver attempts to push their beliefs or proselytize it is unethical and wrong. I leave my outspokenness regarding religion at the door when I step into my facility. If a patient asks me to pray with them I would be fine with standing there respectfully while they pray, as RubyVee said...if they want someone to pray over them or if they wanted me to actively participate I would be happy to call the chaplain for them. If the situation comes up with coworkers I am honest about my lack of belief and decline to participate in spiritual practices with them. I understand what it's like to have colleagues who tend to assume that you share their belief system and I find that remaining honest, matter of fact, and respectful of one another's differences goes a long way. Otherwise I try to avoid discussing religion or politics at work.

If a patient wants to tell me that a god healed them, or that I am doing "the Lord's work" what harm is that to me? I don't agree but they don't need to know that. I smile and move on about my day. I do however get annoyed by the people who leave those ridiculous Chick tracts in the waiting room for my frightened and ill patients, some of whom are battling cancer, to read. It disgusts me that someone of any persuasion would prey upon the fears of the unwell and take advantage just to advance their cause.

Edited by Fractal-5

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WKShadowNP has 19 years experience as a DNP, APRN and specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education.

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I'd like to add that sometimes I am moved to sing hymns for/with/to my patients. It's not often, and it's only when I know it will be helpful and welcome. Moreover, praying with and singing to patients blesses me.

Thank you for this thread, OP. I'm sorry that you feel so put out by that patient's need. I hope you find a way to manage it more comfortably for both the patient's good and yours.

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NightOwl0624 has 6 years experience.

536 Posts; 9,824 Profile Views

I clock in, I am "X", RN. Problems at home? Shut it off. Angry at a coworker? Shut it off. My personal feelings about religion? NOT RELEVANT, SHUT IT OFF.

Great Reply!

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~PedsRN~ has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics.

826 Posts; 10,277 Profile Views

Some of my favorite times as a nurse is standing in a patient's room and praying with the families. But I am a religious person. I can definitely see as to where it would be awkward if they asked me to perform a ritual that was not in my wheelhouse. I have stood silently in rooms during muslim prayers, buddhist prayers, etc. But I will actively partake in a Christian prayer if my patient/family requests it. :)

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10 Posts; 2,060 Profile Views

I am not upset. I was uncomfortable. The patient wanted me to comfort her in this way and I felt it was not my place to do so. I've also had male patients ask me to comfort them with sexual favours. I was uncomfortable with that too. They are on the same level to me.

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1,763 Posts; 20,670 Profile Views

I am not upset. I was uncomfortable. The patient wanted me to comfort her in this way and I felt it was not my place to do so. I've also had male patients ask me to comfort them with sexual favours. I was uncomfortable with that too. They are on the same level to me.

If you feel equally uncomfortable with both situations then, for your own sake, you really should get someone else to pray with the person. As I said earlier, sometimes people are afraid or hesitant to join in religious rituals for good reasons. It isn't anyone's place to judge those reasons.

That being said, please realize that your patients who are asking you to pray have a much different mindset than someone who is asking you for sexual favors. The person who is asking for sexual favors has no respect for you. The person who asks you to join in prayer simply wants his/her nurse to be there for him/her.

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10 Posts; 2,060 Profile Views

Atheism is not a religion. It is simply a lack of. Just like not collecting stamps isn't a hobby.

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10 Posts; 2,060 Profile Views

I disagree. There are some old men of certain cultures who are taught that it's a nurses job to "relieve their needs". No joke. They're not saying it out of disrespect, they simply want to feel good. That's fine, but like praying with people...relieving male patients needs is not my job.

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vintagemother specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

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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.

Hmmm.... I have not read the entire thread. But I think you are doing your job if u call for a chaplain to assist the family in prayer.

As for me, myself, I love it when a pt asks me to pray with them/for them. I'm a Christian and love these opportunities.

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nursel56 has 25+ years experience and specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

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Atheism is not a religion. It is simply a lack of. Just like not collecting stamps isn't a hobby.

You're right if one describes religion as a belief system or of a spiritual nature the atheist chooses not to become involved with or subscribe to. There are the activist atheists who go beyond that and attempt to convince believers that what they believe in is actually a force for evil in the world. That is obviously a very complex question, but it isn't live and let live, either.

I remember one Christmas Eve on Twitter Bill Maher took the opportunity to ridicule Christians and mock the story of the Jesus' birth with his "evidence" it was all BS. That's not "lack of", that's arrogant, disrespectful baiting and he isn't the only one who does it.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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The person who asks you to join in prayer simply wants his/her nurse to be there for him/her.

I'm not so sure that's always the case. And even if it were, that's not my job.

I get that asking for sexual favors is more about power than about sex -- as is rape. But sometimes, asking the nurse to join in prayer is as much about power -- or more. I've been in more than one situation when someone -- usually not the patient or immediate family because they ARE scared -- tries to foist an evangelical prayer on the nurse. I have no problem standing quietly with my head bowed for a brief, quiet prayer. But when you want me to participate in a full blown prayer circle complete with "Hallejuah!"s and "Praise the LORD!"s, that's about power. And I have other things to do than take a big chunk of my time to participate in that so the pastor can smirk about bringing religion to the heathen nurse. I'll grant you that it's more common in certain areas of the country and certain religions. And it seems to be becoming more common in the past several years.

I have "participated" (head bowed, standing quietly) in prayers from many faiths and even in a voodoo ceremony (which worked, by the way). But the evangelicals who want to force a protestation of faith from me -- that's about power. And it's wrong.

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bagladyrn is a RN and specializes in OB.

2 Followers; 2,286 Posts; 18,829 Profile Views

Something those who advocate for "just pray" may want to consider is that insisting that a nurse should go ahead and violate their own strongly held ethical views about not participating is analogous to telling someone with certain strong types of Christian beliefs that they should just "go ahead and participate in that pregnancy termination" or some Jehovahs Witnesses that they should "go ahead and hang that blood".

You should extend the same tolerance which you expect.

Just as in these other situations, calling another who is comfortable in the role is the appropriate thing to do.

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