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It's not my job to pray with you.

Spirituality   (52,366 Views | 265 Replies)
by kickatthedark kickatthedark (New) New

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You are reading page 12 of It's not my job to pray with you.. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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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.

I completely agree with you. I hadn't thought about those trying to convert the nurse. I was thinking more along the lines of a patient who wants to whisper a quick prayer and just wants the nurse to be there for that.

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Glycerine82 has 4 years experience as a ASN, LPN and specializes in SNF/Rehab/Geri.

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OK, so politely decline.

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I completely agree with you. I hadn't thought about those trying to convert the nurse. I was thinking more along the lines of a patient who wants to whisper a quick prayer and just wants the nurse to be there for that.

I hadn't thought about that, either, although it happens to me all the time. I usually just politely thank them for worrying about my soul and go on my merry way.

I never thought of it as being a power thing, but I can see how it can be perceived that way. I guess growing up in a place with JWs, Mormons, Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, Freewills, Muslims, etc., I've gotten used to people trying to recruit my soul for their team and it doesn't bother me. I can see how it could bother other people, though.

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rnsheri has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, orthopedics, urology.

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I agree, you build up a tolerance!

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Just to clarify they do not. Christians and Jews believe in the same God. Christians believe the messiah has come once and will return a second time. Jews believe the messiah has yet to come. Muslims believe in no messiah and that allah has never begotten a son. Given that the messiah is a pivotal part of jewish and Christian faith it is hard to say that they are the same as islam. As we give spiritually competent care it is important to know some differences in faiths.

Actually you are incorrect. Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Muslims,although they do not believe that Jesus is the begotten son of God, believe that Jesus is the Messiah and will return again to lead all believers. He will arrive right before judgement day. He is referred to in both the Quran and the oral traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (sav) as al- Mesih or the messiah, the Anointed One, and the Son of Mary.Jesus is considered a holy prophet in Islam who was born of the virgin Mary and became man. The major difference is that he is considered man not the begotten son of God. The word Allah is interchangeable with the word God. Al (the) Ilah (god). Islam, like Judaism places a much stronger emphasis on strict monotheism. "The" or "Al" is like the capital "G" in God as opposed to god. Islam is also one of the Abrahamic faiths that has many more similarities than differences to the other Abrahamics faiths, Christianity and Judaism.

I understand that some churches are teaching that Muslims do no not worship the same God as Christians and Jews. That is simply untrue.

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Point is..in nursing you are expected to go above and beyond to bring comfort and care to poeple. There are limits to this i feel, and I wish that it was discussed more. This "oh I do ANYTHING for my poor patients" Perfect nursey land attitude is unrealistic and quite frankly, dangerous in many ways. Yes, we are caregivers, but we are also human beings with limits.

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Fractal-5 has 2 years experience.

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I agree that one shouldn't have to compromise their own values or do something that makes them truly uncomfortable. I enjoy nursing but do not ascribe to the "calling" sentiment where I am only a selfless caregiver with no limits to my willingness to make patients happy.

I live in a place where Christianity is the status quo. People assume that I'm a believer because I am an ethical person capable of kindness...I understand that it doesn't make that mindset right, and sometimes I am irritated or offended by it. I try not to take it personally and to remain rational and objective.

I try to look at the fact that people assume incorrectly as an opportunity to model atheism to people that just don't understand it by showing them that I am ethical and kind as well. I'm just a regular person. I want to change misconceptions as much as I can so that if my kids grow up to be atheists it will be different for them.

You have to work within your comfort level, and should not be forced outside of that unwillingly. Everyone is going to have a different range of things they will tolerate. Do what works for you:)

Edited by Fractal-5

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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There are a lot of aspects of holistic nursing other than praying with patients, and general perception of "holistic" tends to be more hippy New-Agey than Christian, or focused on other aspects entirely (such as CAM).

SO true, at least in my program. One of my nursing theory texts was endorsed by Deepak, and it discussed how the nurse's energy intermingles with the patient's energy, they create a Caring Field. :eek: My instructor also brought her diving rods to class, to show how she used them to find where in her yard had the most favorable Qi for her labyrinth she was building. It was awkward.

I had no idea before starting that class how it was, and by that point I'd already put a fair amount of work into their prereqs.

I got through the class by learning the book stuff as it was believed by the authors (easy with APA--"According to [Deepak et al.] (2009)...") I never wrote anything in the sense that I believed it was true, just as what the authors said.

When opinions were sought, I made ones that the prof probably didn't agree with, but I made my points. One example was what do we think of the spiritual assessments in the assessment chapter. One was a Likert scale with statements such as "the Earth is sacred," and "I see holiness in everyday things." I made the point that this kind of assessment can be divisive. As a Christian, God's creation can be appreciated and we should care for it, but it is not to be venerated. That is for God alone. Everyday things by definition are not holy. Answering these questions in accordance with some faiths (such as my own) can appear to a well-meaning holistic nurse that the patient has spiritual deficits.

Derail over.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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Wow this is all news to me--I didn't know nurses could discuss religion with patients (somewhat) openly. Sorry if this is a foolish question but since we're on this topic--let's say a patient and nurse happen to be the same religion. If the patient asks the nurse to pray with/over them and the nurse is comfortable, is this actually ok to do this instead of getting the chaplain?

Yes, it is. The key is that the nurse doesn't push it. I've had my faith come up in conversation--I'll say I love the hymns they are playing in the room, and they've asked "Oh, are you Christian?" Or I've had patients who have attended a church that my family used to attend. And they've asked me to pray with them or for them; since they asked, I can engage. There is no policy that says I have to stop that conversation or say "No, I can't pray with you. But I can page the on-call chaplain who may or may not be a Christian (as were the ones who have asked me to pray). He/she can be here in half an hour. In the mean time, can I do something else to help with your distress? Some Ativan, some bad coffee?" ;)

I've also told the family I will pray for them on my drive home as is my norm--if I have gathered from conversations that prayer is important to them.

Again, the key is to keep it patient led and patient (and family) focused.

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Yes, it is. The key is that the nurse doesn't push it. I've had my faith come up in conversation--I'll say I love the hymns they are playing in the room, and they've asked "Oh, are you Christian?" Or I've had patients who have attended a church that my family used to attend. And they've asked me to pray with them or for them; since they asked, I can engage. There is no policy that says I have to stop that conversation or say "No, I can't pray with you. But I can page the on-call chaplain who may or may not be a Christian (as were the ones who have asked me to pray). He/she can be here in half an hour. In the mean time, can I do something else to help with your distress? Some Ativan, some bad coffee?" ;)

I've also told the family I will pray for them on my drive home as is my norm--if I have gathered from conversations that prayer is important to them.

Again, the key is to keep it patient led and patient (and family) focused.

I grew up Southern Baptist, and even though I'm mostly agnostic now (my relationship with religion is complicated), I still love the old hymns.

I sang plenty for demented LOLs in the South because it helped keep them calm. I only remember the big ones, like Amazing Grace, these days, it's been so long. Although I do remember some of the blood of the lamb ones, 'cause they creep me out and give me nightmares.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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To the OP--

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.

I agree completely, actually, and it holds true for the religious as well. A Muslim or Jehovah's Witness RN shouldn't be pressured to pray to Jesus. I as a Reformed Christian don't participate in Hail Marys or tribal religious rites. You as an agnostic should not be pressured to do similar.

Yes it is our job to get pts' needs met. However, we are not going to meet every single need. If we note that a pt is coughing after taking a drink, we advocate for a SLP eval. We are not qualified to make the treatment plan. Same for PT, OT, dietary needs. We involve the right people, but they treat the pt. Likewise, if we are "unqualified" to deliver spiritual care, we should involve the professionals in our spiritual care deparents or from the pt's own congregation or denomination.

It sounds like that's exactly what you do--you assess a spiritual need, and you involve the relevant people.

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rnsheri has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, orthopedics, urology.

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OK, OK. OP, you're right. Not your job. The benefit to the patient's well-being is supported scientifically. One tidbit: "An interesting bit of science attached to this ethnocentric and geocentric evolution of prayer comes out of Duke University Medical Center, where a study found that, within a group of 150 cardiac patients who received alternative post-operative therapy treatment, the sub-group who also received intercessory prayer (they were prayed for) had the highest success rate within the entire cohort."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/enlightened-living/201007/the-science-psychology-and-metaphysics-prayer

"The Science, Psychology, and Metaphysics of Prayer." Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications

Many more studies support this. But if you believe your ethical principles trump a possible improvement of patient well-being, you must have some very good reasons that I have no way of comprehending. I like science, and I am an atheist, but I want to do what is in my power to (possibly) improve outcomes. In the end--nope, not your job. Carry on.

Shh... I don't pray either. I Kind of just support in silence. (Bonus: When a family member faints from emotional exhaustion, I'm there to help.)

I wonder if they'll fire me.

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