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Prayer in the Workforce

Spirituality   (8,554 Views 23 Comments)
by Schoolrat Schoolrat (New) New

1,291 Profile Views; 13 Posts

What is everyone's take on employee rights, and their patients prayer requests? As a pre nursing student I am curious to know what type of backlash Christians or anyone of any faith has experienced. I understand that keeping religion out of the workplace is essential to maintaining a high professional reputation, but with all the miraculous acts and end of life taking place, how can it be practiced without fearing some type of repercussion from the employer. Even though the patient requests that you share or lead in prayer.

Thanks, I know this is a touchy subject

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kakamegamama specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

1,018 Posts; 15,749 Profile Views

"If the patient asks" is key. Freedom to pray/not to pray is still here. Some nurses will pray with the patient at their request. Others will notify chaplain services.

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3 Articles; 10,428 Posts; 89,373 Profile Views

Remember that it is ALWAYS about the patient, and never about you. Any other questions? ;)

Honestly, it isn't complicated at all if people don't LET it become complicated, at least that's been my take on it. Typically on admission, a patient is asked "would you like to be contacted by clergy?" and based on that answer, you might well know what any future steps might be without much debate.

If the patient asks you what your personal beliefs are, the simple answer (and most likely to conclude the conversation) might be "I've never been comfortable discussing such personal things with patients". If they ask you to pray with them AND you are comfortable with that AND you have time, there's no reason not to. BUT (and it's a big, huge hairy BUT) if you're not, it's perfectly reasonable to say "I'm really not comfortable with that, would you like me to call someone to help you with that?"

Your question is one that is raised frequently, and really the best policy is always to remember that it's the PATIENT'S spiritual needs being met that is the priority: if you can't/won't/whatever on the patient's behalf, offer to get someone who can. And never tell ANYONE what they should or shouldn't do where spirituality is concerned: it's personal, and needs to remain that way.

Good question :) Take a look around the forum and you'll see many more discussions along these lines.

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2 Followers; 14,620 Posts; 103,891 Profile Views

I offer to contact the chaplain's service. The only "backlash against Christians" in the workplace I can imagine is people being told that they can't proselytize at work, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. As already noted, work is about the client's beliefs, values, and needs, not our own.

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13 Posts; 1,291 Profile Views

These responses are great, thank you for your time and insight.

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

1 Follower; 4,943 Posts; 42,606 Profile Views

I'm sure North Korean nurses might have a different take on it, but I as a Christian have never felt any backlash. I have prayed with patients with an "In Jesus' name, amen" at the end when they've requested prayer. Had they had an issue with Jesus, I would have called the chaplain to come pray with them.

This is not true--

keeping religion out of the workplace is essential to maintaining a high professional reputation
hence the reason said employers employ chaplains. Meeting pts' spiritual needs is important. The key is that spiritually-based interaction between pt and staff is to be pt centered and pt driven.

If we were being pushy about our beliefs with a pt, sure there will be backlash. Likewise if an atheist RN was being pushy about his/her lack of beliefs with a religious pt, there would be backlash.

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13 Posts; 1,291 Profile Views

Her.I.Stand, I appreciate the comment. I was looking for a response like this. Thank you for pointing out that part of my post was inaccurate. I was hoping so...

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224 Posts; 6,501 Profile Views

I reject organized religion for myself. That being said, I will pray, dance, sing, and shout if I believe my patient will benefit from it. I am not above playing a role in the name of excellent care.

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1 Follower; 2,074 Posts; 36,353 Profile Views

It's not that touchy of a subject.

The patients may pray while they are in your care and while they are staying in your facility.

The patients may ask you to participate in prayer with them.

You may politely and professionally accept or decline dependent upon your ability or desire participate in the prayer ritual.

If the patient believes that prayer helps them (and there may be science to back that notion) that is all we as patient advocates need to know to encourage that patient to engage in that behavior at will. It has nothing to do with our personal beliefs or religious tendencies.

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118 Posts; 3,375 Profile Views

In my experience in various industries, it is only a touchy subject if it is your goal to force your beliefs onto people. Take it as you go. The Holy Spirit will guide you. It is OK to pray with patients if they ask you. It is also OK to ask about a patient's beliefs or ask them if they pray when they are going through something tough. If they say they do not pray, then go on to just listening to how they feel and offering words of encouragement/support.

That's the best that you can do. You will not receive any backlash for asking a patient a simple question. It shows that you are a thinker and want to find the best possible way to meet your patient's emotional/spiritual needs which is a part of being a CNA/nurse. If a supervisor asks you, that's what you tell them: that you were only asking questions to get to know the patient and find a way to best meet those needs during a difficult time. You don't have to say, "Well, I'm a Christian and...." or anything.

Of course, there will come a time when you might experience backlash even for that, but you will cross that bridge when and IF it comes. Don't worry or stress about this. It will be OK. God will give you many many opportunities to share your faith by being an example and never having to say a word :)

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1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,523 Profile Views

There are resources that are available in your facility an/or community that can assist in the spiritual/religious needs of a patient. Nurses need to be mindful and careful that they do not cross professional boundaries by getting personal--with their religious beliefs or otherwise.

Part of an assessment is discussing religious/spiritual beliefs and needs. Your plan of care should include any of these needs and the interventions that are needed to address them.

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firstinfamily has 33 years experience as a RN.

790 Posts; 5,571 Profile Views

I do not push religious beliefs on patients, and if asked to pray with them or family I do. I truly believe in the "power of prayer" and usually when pts are sick they realize that having a higher power helps them to overcome their emotional distress and physical healing. There have been multiple research articles on the power of prayer and positive thoughts affects on physical responses and physical healing. I usually display my religious symbol during religious holidays and have never been approached by management or told that I am not allowed to wear this symbol. Part of our admissions documentation is about cultural and religious preferences and if pt needs or requests a visit by Pastor, Father or other representative. Therefore, whether it seems acceptable or not, religion is a part of meeting the Patient's holistic wellness and is part of patient care.

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