Nurse suspended for prayer offer

Posted
by MaryAnn_RN MaryAnn_RN Member

Specializes in ICU. Has 15 years experience.

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cnm in progress

cnm in progress

134 Posts

Originally Posted by shah viewpost.gif

How would you like if a Muslim nurse could not separate her religion from work and started saying her prayer over you, or a Hindu nurse brought the image of Kali to bless you?

I don't recommend for one moment that a nurse "says her prayer over you" or brings in images of Jesus, or rosary beads, or any other religious symbols. I certainly do not advocate "preaching" to my patients about the virtues of Christianity, or about how Christ died for her sins. Although I am a Christian, I view that as HIGHLY inappropriate. That is using my "authority" position to influence my patient's belief system. But asking a patient if SHE would LIKE me to say a prayer WITH HER is an entirely different ball of wax. I deal with women who deliver IUFDs on a regular basis. We routinely ask patients if they would like us to bless the baby or say a prayer with them. I have yet to see someone get offended by this. When they are admitted and we complete a database, we do ask if they have any religious preferences. I'd NEVER ask a muslim patient, hindu patient, atheist patient, etc... if they'd like me to bless their baby or say a prayer with them. That would be totally insensitive. But to otherwise inquire is part of assessing their needs.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

it is also important to check your nurse practice act.

mine has very specific criteria that talks about religious acts.

i'll see if i can find it.

leslie

sorry, it wasn't the nurse practice act.

it was a position statement from the hpna (hospice & palliative nurse's assoc)

http://www.hpna.org/pdf/PositionStatement_SpiritualCare.pdf

"Spiritual care necessitates the ability of the caregive to reflect on and recognize the importance of one's own spirituality and acceptance of the validity of others' spiritual beliefs. Ones own values cannot be imposed on patients and families."

and offering prayer, is indeed, imposing one's belief.

leslie

Baloney Amputation

Baloney Amputation, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Acute Care. 1,130 Posts

When they are admitted and we complete a database, we do ask if they have any religious preferences. I'd NEVER ask a muslim patient, hindu patient, atheist patient, etc... if they'd like me to bless their baby or say a prayer with them. That would be totally insensitive. But to otherwise inquire is part of assessing their needs.

Hey, you can't even assume that much. I am a soft atheist married to a Christian (so he says, though I'd argue he's more of a deist by virtue of knowing him and being his wife, but when in Rome, do as the Romans, I guess). My husband may welcome a prayer or blessing over our baby. That's why it would be a good idea to ask in an unassuming way about our religiosity rather than assuming either one of us prays before asking us. One of us does and one does not. :)

oregonchinamom

oregonchinamom

Specializes in ICU, Education, Peri-op. Has 20 years experience. 80 Posts

Joint Commission requires that a spritual assessment be completed on every patient. The nurse plays an important role in assessing and providing for a patient's spiritual needs. Although not all nurses feel comfortable providing spritual care in all situations, they should be sensitive to the spiritual needs of their patients.

Many nurses do feel both comfortable and confident in engaging in spiritual care activities such as praying with patients and listening to spiritual concerns. These activities may be appropriately carried out by the nurse only if acceptable to the patient and the family. Spiritual care is not to be an attempt to proselytize or win converts to a particular point of view. Rather it is responding to a patient's expressed needs.

This nurse may have assessed spiritual distress in this patient and offered prayer as a means of providing spiritual care. She apparently did not continue to pray with the patient.

As a Parish Nurse, I pray with patients every day. This is part of my job. I also am called upon to provide spiritual care in other ways. I do not abuse my position, but carefully assess each patient to determine how I might be able to meet their needs.

Automatically associating spirituality with religion is quite a leap. I am not a religious person but that does not mean I don't consider myself spiritual. I am in agreement with most posters that this punishment seems harsh, however I do feel uncomfortable if people assume that I am Christian and welcome dialog about religion. I just smile and let it go but there is a little twinge inside. I wonder if they would think less of me if I interjected that I am not, in fact, a Christian. I never assume anything about my patients. I generally will ask them if they have any religious practices that may affect their care. Most of the time they will offer their religious beliefs but if they just say "no" and leave it at that, so do I.

cnm in progress

cnm in progress

134 Posts

sorry, it wasn't the nurse practice act.

it was a position statement from the hpna (hospice & palliative nurse's assoc)

www.hpna.org/pdf/PositionStatement_SpiritualCare.pdf

"Spiritual care necessitates the ability of the caregive to reflect on and recognize the importance of one's own spirituality and acceptance of the validity of others' spiritual beliefs. Ones own values cannot be imposed on patients and families."

and offering prayer, is indeed, imposing one's belief.

leslie

IMO, saying to a patient "I'm going to pray for you" is borderline imposing one's beliefs. If I pray for them, I'm not asking them to believe my beliefs...but I would be telling them that I'm practicing my beliefs. I should just do it without telling them. In that situation, I agree with others that it would be for MY benefit.

But if I ask a patient if she would like me to pray with her, or if she'd like me to pray for her...I'm not imposing my beliefs on her at all. If she chooses to accept, it's because SHE desires it and would be for HER benefit.

Anxious Patient

Anxious Patient

524 Posts

If someone wanted to pray for me, with me, over me in the hospital room, I would right way think I must be dying. Especially if the patient hasn't heard the results from their operation, tests or whatever, please be careful. We can be very paranoid.

cnm in progress

cnm in progress

134 Posts

Automatically associating spirituality with religion is quite a leap. I am not a religious person but that does not mean I don't consider myself spiritual. I am in agreement with most posters that this punishment seems harsh, however I do feel uncomfortable if people assume that I am Christian and welcome dialog about religion. I just smile and let it go but there is a little twinge inside. I wonder if they would think less of me if I interjected that I am not, in fact, a Christian. I never assume anything about my patients. I generally will ask them if they have any religious practices that may affect their care. Most of the time they will offer their religious beliefs but if they just say "no" and leave it at that, so do I.

I could be wrong, but religion is one dimension of spirituality. Not everyone who is spiritual is religious, I agree. But in assessing their spirituality, one still assesses religion (or lack thereof).

cnm in progress

cnm in progress

134 Posts

If someone wanted to pray for me, with me, over me in the hospital room, I would right way think I must be dying. Especially if the patient hasn't heard the results from their operation, tests or whatever, please be careful. We can be very paranoid.

I'm not laughing AT you... but your post made me chuckle. I can totally see patients freaking out. Like I mentioned in an earlier post... I wouldn't offer to pray with every single patient I encounter. I'd venture to say it's rather rare... but when I have sensed that need in a patient, I have offered. The patients have typically been people who were overly upset about something, sometimes with great cause, sometimes for no apparent reason (highly anxious????).

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

I could be wrong, but religion is one dimension of spirituality. Not everyone who is spiritual is religious, I agree. But in assessing their spirituality, one still assesses religion (or lack thereof).

yes, and in assessing their religion, it is far more appropriate to ask about any religious affiliations...

or, if they would like to visit with the chaplain.

but for a nurse to ask if she can pray for you w/o knowing anything about the pt's religiousity, is crossing a boundary by being presumptuous.

now, had the pt talked about Jesus/God in conversation, it would not be inappropriate for a nurse to ask about prayer.

and there are less invasive ways to assess one's religion or spirituality than to directly start with prayer.

leslie

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

... I wouldn't offer to pray with every single patient I encounter. I'd venture to say it's rather rare... but when I have sensed that need in a patient, I have offered. The patients have typically been people who were overly upset about something, sometimes with great cause, sometimes for no apparent reason (highly anxious????).

ok...so why would you automatically presume that prayer would be the answer?

why wouldn't a nurse pursue the pts emotional stressors by sharing observations, "you seem to be anxious/sad/fearful, etc"

explore and make your assessment after you and your pt talk.

but to offer prayer as your number 1 intervention?

that IS presumptuous and so, it is imposing your values onto the pt...

just be assuming that since you find comfort in prayer, your pt will too.

leslie

jantze

jantze

Specializes in OB, School, Medical, Surgical. Has 18 years experience. 9 Posts

I don't get what the big deal is. The nurse offered prayer, just an offering of kindness. Take it or leave it.

LaneyB

LaneyB

191 Posts

I would find it uncomfortable if a nurse caring for me asked to pray with me. That puts me in the awkward position of having to say "No thanks, I'm not a Christian", which is a conversation I would really rather not have with a professional taking care of me. Then I would wonder if I offended her by not being a Christian, etc, and it really should not be that way in a neutral environment.

If you want to assess spirituality then simply ask if there are needs to be met. That way there are no misunderstandings.

And what I really don't understand is that even when multiple, nonreligious posters are telling you they would feel uncomfortable with your approach you continue to insist it is ok, and use it. Why not take the approach that assesses spiritual needs and yet offends no one? That makes me think it is your own needs you are trying to meet, not the patients.

Edited by LaneyB