Any Buddhist Nurses?

  1. I'm a new nurse deep in the heart of Texas, and pretty much everyone (patients, coworkers, chaplains) assumes that you're a Christian. But I'm not, I'm an atheist and a Buddhist, I don't believe in a soul or afterlife, but I do believe that the Buddhist understanding of reality has much to offer for dealing with death, suffering, and loss. I just read Thich Nhat Hanh's No Death, No Fear, and found it very beautiful and empowering: there is no death because there is no life, because we are all connected to and part of all life.
    I've also found meditation to be invaluable for stress and emotional management.
    (I should mention that I'm in the ICU and people die every day on my unit.)

    Anyway
    Do any of you incorporate similar beliefs or practices in your nursing practice?
    Any techniques or books or practices you have to share?

    Thank you
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    About CriticalJ

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 6; Likes: 2
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    10 Comments

  3. by   dzadzey
    I took refuge in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism back in the 90's and, like you, the philosophy of Buddhism speaks more strongly to me than the metaphysics of Buddhism, although it is still relevant. Having worked in ICU for 10 years, meditation has helped me deal with the stresses that occur on a daily basis. I also work closely with our chaplains and palliative care team in addressing goals of care, family issues and end of life issues for those patients of different faiths.
  4. by   not.done.yet
    I have recently started exploring meditation, the divinity of existence and the interconnectedness of all living beings. I am not a Buddhist, still consider myself a Christian, but have been through a lot of things that have caused me to re-evaluate the dogma that rules this world. I too am in Texas.
  5. by   Gampopa
    I've been a Buddhist for the past 20 years and an M/S RN for 12 years. I don't speak much about my path while at work. I've worked at some pretty conservative hospitals and didn't feel like engaging the more closed minded staff. I am constantly using breath work and "meditative moments" to pause and regroup during the day and meditate for 1-2 hrs when not scheduled. My practice has helped me meet pts, families and staff who are challenging to work with. I often have difficulty with the very sick and elderly pts who still want everything done to prolong their lives when to me the inevitable of death is glaringly clear. To witness how many resources go into getting another month or two of life is shocking when there is so much need elsewhere.
  6. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    I am a Buddhist as well...I find that the general principles of mindfulness along with a solid meditation practice help me stay much more grounded, particularly at work.
  7. by   Wiggly Litchi
    I'm a Buddhist in the bible belt, attending a Christian faith-based college to finish out my BSN.
    Like OP, I'm in the south (though I'm not a native) and I try not to tell people my beliefs because some can be quite judgmental. Those that know me well enough know that I'm Buddhist and spiritual - I know there's divinity in existence, but I couldn't give it a name.
    There was an amazing book by Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha / Living Christ that pointed out a lot of parallels between the two paths, which is honestly one of the reasons I feel so comfortable at my faith-based college.

    I can't speak as a nurse since I'm only a CNA, but meditation and mindfulness really help me to stay grounded when SHTF, but it also helps when dealing with others who may be in distress. Buddhism has helped me to 'get over myself' which is an odd feeling, but it's freeing at the same time. It allows me to be truly present in the moment; it has helped me to deal with more difficult/emotionally taxing patients as I feel like I can understand their position more. Plus, meditation as others have said, is a wonderful tool to incorporate into everyday living as a means of stress management.
  8. by   vetpharmtech
    I come from a Buddhist background although I don't practice Buddhism like I used to. What you say scares me a bit. It seems like Southern Baptist Christians don't tolerate people who don't practice Christianity. I can understand why they have issues with Muslims based on what is happening in the media. But they discriminate against Buddhists too?

    You must be a tough nurse with a kind heart. I will not put up with Christians like you do.
  9. by   masonicusRN
    Yes, I'm a Buddhist new grad RN. I recently read Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn. Highly recommend. I don't really talk about my beliefs or anything, but as a student I used some complementary/alt techniques like guided imagery with pts while in school .
  10. by   DannyBoy8
    I love the similarities and parallels between Bhuddhism and Christianity - or really between any two different religions. We're all just a stones throw away from one another.. #peace
  11. by   tinyRN72
    HI! I am a Buddhist of 10 years. I have shared my beliefs with some co-workers. I have mostly worked as a travel RN, so I have been in a lot of different hospitals. I don't know how I functioned before I used meditation (well, I do, but it wasn't pretty.) I am in Florida, and most of the nurses I have worked with are pretty open-minded, I usually don't talk about my beliefs with patients. I just started at a Protestant hospital, so we shall see how that goes. So far we have prayed at work every day that I have been there. It's ok, doesn't offend me as long as I am not expected to lead the prayer. I have helped my patients with meditation from time to time, which has always been good. I even participated in the employee health fair at a prior hospital and I lead meditation classes that day.

    I feel that all we can do is be who we are. If someone doesn't like it, that is not my problem. I know that I walk through life trying to do no harm to anyone, and I don't think anyone can ask for more than that from a co-worker. It is nice to know that I'm not the only one - you guys are the first Buddhist nurses I have ever "met".
  12. by   anapurnas
    Hi there! I'm a Buddhist nurse and life coach and I've found the teachings invaluable for helping with burnout. I know not all my coaching clients can leave their jobs when unhappy, and the teaching can really help to reframe things to make life more enjoyable when we can't escape suffering when it comes up. I love Pema Chodron's books - especially "When Things Fall Apart." I have some good resources on my website, which aren't obviously Buddhist but are based in Buddhist philosophy. You can check it out at Ana Verzone | Life & Health Coach for Women Seeking More in Life if you'd like (they're free).

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