Struggling to be a Christian Nurse

Nurses Spirituality


Hello all! Thanks for reading my venting and hopefully sharing some advice. I am new nurse - been working for roughly 9 months. I am an extremely strong christian and my faith in God leads every decision in my life. Recently at work I have realized that I have become an angry person. I work on a cardiac unit and several of the patients I take care of are frequent flyers because they do not take care of themselves and come to the hospital to get 'quick-fixed' and room service. I have unknowingly adopted the attitude: if you don't care about your health why should I? Several of the nurses on my unit are constantly saying that and its taking a toll on how I think as well as my faith. I never used to be an angry person and I hate that i have so quickly adopted this new attitude. I spent lots of time in prayer and reading the Bible and i pray before entering a patients room that I know might make me upset, but something they say continually seems to set me off. I totally have faith in God that He will take this out of my hands in His perfect timing, but I was wondering if there is anyone else out there who has struggled with this and practical applications yall have used? Thank you thank you!!!

side note: not trying to start some heated debate about religion! There was just no way I could ask for advive without including the God aspect. Thanks for reading!!

Specializes in Critical Care.

Sounds like you are having a stress response related to frustration with the patient population. Some patients are more difficult to care for and can wear you down. They probably are just as frustrated and feel helpless to improve their health and struggle with several chronic diseases. CHF is particularly difficult to treat and stabilize long term even when the patients take all their meds and is further complicated by renal failure. It can be disheartening to realize many times we can't cure disease only treat the symptoms and there will inevitably continue to be flareups and further declines for some patients especially those with CHF, CRF and diabetes. Just take it day by day and do your best. Forgive yourself for your anger. Think how you would want to be treated or how you would treat a loved one. Try to find ways to de-stress such as taking a vacation, getting enough sleep, taking a walk, spending time with family, friends, pets or pursuing a hobby on your off time. Consider asking for a break from a difficult patient if you need to.

Counseling, lay or spiritual-based or both, might be of great help. Many healthcare workers participate in therapy to help cope with their work.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you without sin? You have become angry towards sick people. You are easily influenced by the negative comments of ignorant coworkers. (Honestly I don't think this about you...I am just trying to give some examples.)

So your patients are slothful? I would think these frequent flyers are scared, know they have serious cardiac disease, are facing their own death. They may be dealing with it with denial.

I may be terribly naive but I don't believe patients think......"Oh yeah, I need some rest and relaxation, I will eat the wrong foods, stop taking my medication, stop exercising, so my doctor will admit me to the hospital again because hospitals are such great places." Unless your hospital is some kind of luxurious health spa first class hotel type of hospital?

As to your ignorant coworkers....I love the saying...Don't lower yourself to their level, raise them to your level. But actually I wouldn't get into a discussion with them, just ignore them.

And if nothing else, these patients give you job security :).

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).

I am a multi-denominational Christian and try to live by the message of Christ. What that means to me is to try to walk in HIs path, try not to judge, and be forgiving and to treat all my patients as Jesus did when healed the 10 Lepers in Luke 17:11-19. At the time people with leprosy were considered to have been unclean and sinful and therefore deserving of their affliction. I work in adolescent female psych and it is a most challenging of populations. This does not mean I consider my self a prefect person in any way, I still get Hungry , angry , lonely, tired and sad but as a group of friends and I will tell you, "We aim for progress not perfection. "

As for patients coming to hospital for a few days rest and relaxation I can tell you being in the hospital is not restful.

AS with co-workers if they criticize you must look with yourself and see if any of it is correct. Then own it and fix it. If it's just childish nonsense forget it.


Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

I kind of think you are confusing "Christian nurse" with "Perfect nurse".

You are human.

I kind of think you are confusing "Christian nurse" with "Perfect nurse".

You are human.

I wish I could like this more than once.

Hey your not the only one! I'm a christain as well and always I felt like my strong point was being patient with my patients lol. But now being on the floor of General Surgury we get a lot of people than seem like they are doing nothing to help change their current condition, and it has gotten under my skin. I love these comments with realizing your not perfect and also not judging. Those two points are super important to remember. I don't have the answers, but stick in there I think the devil is just trying to get you down.

Spirituality guides the way we care, but should not condemn the way we feel while caring. As others have said, you're human and are allowed to make mistakes. There's grace for that. Crucial to being able to continue in healthcare, is caring for yourself. What are you doing to relieve the stress and tension you pile on yourself at work? Counseling, (sacred and secular) will give you tools to process and cope in healthy ways. Remember the people you're serving are made in God's image. While that likeness is damaged by sin and their own choices, you serve God and them by caring for them.

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching.

I get those a lot in the ER. And I start getting the same attitude. Well, still do as a matter of fact. As said above, we are human. We like to be thanked once in a while.

What I tell myself is: "Christ died for him too".

Specializes in ER.

You have to learn to practice detached concern. Detachment is something the religious orders in traditional Christianity teach. You can be concerned without emotional involvement.

Another technique I use is humor. I've always been an observer of humanity. Nursing is the mother lode for a people watcher, a virtual freak show. It's better than reality TV. There are a lot of ridiculous situations that are highly amusing.

Being a faithful Christian doesn't mean you're disqualified from intellectually processing stuff. I happen to believe that it makes for more coherent processing, but that's for another thread. Frustration at sick people not getting better for whatever reason is rarely because of the reasons you're thinking are causing it. Christianity, if nothing else, is an acknowledgement of the dignity of the human person as a creature of God. Disorder, physical, spiritual or psychological, is hard for us to witness because we know that that isn't part of the plan, thus, frustration and maybe even anger.

First off, you can be pretty safe knowing that, if the patient were given the choice to be sick right then or not, they'd be siding with you. What capacities, shortcomings, challenges, whatever, the patient has in their life that has brought them to you is impossible to know. These things could go back decades.

Understanding that you have no control at all about the patient's past and decision making really helps. Then the patient's life just becomes an opportunity that our Lord, in His mercy, has given you to care for Him. Don't miss it.

Go back and re-read Mt 25:44

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