Today a patient asked, "Do you know Jesus?"

Nurses Relations


This is in the context of an outpatient appointment with a guy who was a missionary for decades. I do not happen to be a believer, but I have quite the religious background. It's been enough years that I am very friendly with my religious culture and use what I know. It is the underpinning for my thoughts on culture, morality, etc.

I said I do. I think I do. At the same time, it's a complete lie in HIS context. He wanted to know if I was "saved" in his terms. I knew at the time what he was asking about and deliberately misled him. He prayed for me towards the end of the appointment, and I participated with him when his obvious cues became apparent.

I'm not sure I really have a question to ask here. Part of me thinks that it's really none of his business what my spiritual/religious life is like. Part of me wants to be honest with him. Part of me is irritated that he feels welcome to make me feel uncomfortable for his own benefit. It's a bit presumptuous, isn't it?

I don't feel offended. I'm more thinking about how my dishonesty will affect our therapeutic relationship. He's probably run into people like me before and I'm guessing he figured out I was BS'ing him about this.

I'm just not sure where to go with this, so give me your thoughts.

I would have said, "I know a lot of people!" then merrily changed the subject to something relevant.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

What do you mean by you don't know where to go with this?

I would just smile and say "I don't discuss religion or politics with my patients...for me it is a very private issue"

Then let it go.


3 Articles; 10,428 Posts

You're concerned about dishonesty affecting your therapeutic relationship, really?

It'd be a long cold day in Hades when I'm THAT honest with patients about my personal (VERY personal) life.

I'm with Esme on this one....unless I was in a "quippy" mood in which case I might respond "I'm not sure, what floor is he assigned to?" :)

BrandonLPN, LPN

3,358 Posts

Possible replies:

"No, do you?"

"Yes, He's standing right there"

"No, but I do know Bast, the Egyptian cat-goddess."


I agree with Esme here. No need to further discuss. If he has been a missionary for many years, it's possible he will ask again, but stick to the "I don't discuss my beliefs with my patients" and it's possible he will respect your wish.


1,030 Posts

Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

If you are comfortable with your answer, why do you think you need to revisit it with him? If he brings it up again, be honest with him. If he's been a missionary, he's used to hearing "no" or "not interested" or other negative responses.

Specializes in Med Surg.

Yeah, he put a roof on my house.*

*The author is Mexican American.

Specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing.

Ah Jesus I like him very much, but he no help me hit curveball.

MrChicagoRN, RN

2,597 Posts

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

"I'm sorry, I'm not here to discuss my religion or my beliefs. Let stick to what it is that you need today."

I <3 OR, RN

134 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room.

I think letting him know that it's not something you are comfortable talking about with him is your best bet. That way neither of you will end up in an awkward moment again.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 5,114 Posts

Jesus Alou? Great outfielder, part of a terrific baseball family.

As an alternative, as the signs on the phone poles around here say, "Jesus saves, and Espo scores on the rebound."

(Go Bruins)

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