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When Is It Appropriate to Share Faith at Work?: One Nurse's Story

Spirituality Article   (27,596 Views 111 Replies 834 Words)

nursefrances has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, Tele.

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This article will discuss my personal views on when it is appropriate to share your faith at work. Religion can be a touchy subject for many. Some are offended when you mention religion. Others are comforted. Where is there balance in this? Let's discuss this further. You are reading page 8 of When Is It Appropriate to Share Faith at Work?: One Nurse's Story. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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If a patient, who engages the conversation, wants to discuss their love of their Lord and you in turn discuss this too, how is this different than making conversation about who is on dancing with the stars or who is playing in the playoffs?

But knowing what I do about Jesus, that He loves me, little insignificant me. And what he did for me (us). Wow. I am overwhelmed in His love. Not all believe the bible to be true or believe what I do. But for me, it is good. I have joy and peace. It works.

THANK YOU nursefrances!!!

It's such a pleasure to know that I (as a nurse), if the patient initiates the conversation, can discuss things of the Bible!

And, I too, have peace with knowing that Christ died for our sins on that cross, to give us eternal life!

Amen to that:)

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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Yes, I understand. That's just the way it is.

So, you mentioned the word, "counsel". If a patient was in a "spritual crisis" and I (hypothetical speaking), told them:

...my (non-denominational and spiritual) beliefs...

including but not ltd to, my non-belief of God's wrath.

i do believe i brought a lot of reassurance to these people as death drew near...

 

 

, would this be considered, "counseling" them? Which, as you said, would warrant:

IN most facilities this will cost you your job...period.

Counseling would be counseling the employee about appropriate behavior at the bedside.....not the patient. Which means I would begin an improvement plan to correct behavior or deficiencies of the employee so they may be successful in the position they occupy....or begin a progressive discipline to terminate the employees association with the facility.

I have said my piece religion has it's place and it isn't necessarily at the bedside.....you will follow your path and find your own experiences.

We will have to agree to disagree.....I bow out gracefully.

Edited by Esme12

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The difference is that I don't discuss ANYTHING of a controversial nature with my patients (or staff for that matter) even if they are the same faith. Subjects that, in my opinion, are Taboo in the workplace. Religion, politics, Gay marriage, birth control, abortion, sexual orientation, sexual exploits (hetero or Gay). If a patient was having a conversation about the subject I would listen intently and answer with...."That's interesting, however it is my personal policy that I don't discuss politics with friends nor family and I consider you my friend" smile nicely and move on to the weather.

So, if you overheard a fellow staff member talking about things concerning the Bible, you would:

ask them to discontinue this behavior or further disciplinary measures will be take. IN most facilities this will cost you your job...period.

 

I politely ask,

1) would you take these actions because of "hopsital" policy or your own "personal" policy and,

2) is it like this at "most" facilities because of "their" policy, or a nurse managers, own "personal" policy or opinion?

I'm not certain if certain areas of the hospital have differing policy statements concerning "conversations" with the patients....

just curious.

Thanks.

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Counseling would be counseling the employee about appropriate behavior at the bedside.....not the patient. Which means I would begin an improvement plan to correct behavior or deficiencies of the employee so they may be successful in the position they occupy....or begin a progressive discipline to terminate the employees association with the facility.

I have said my piece religion has it's place and it isn't necessarily at the bedside.....you will follow your path and find your own experiences.

We will have to agree to disagree.....I bow out gracefully.

Thank you Esme12, but I was referring to your use of the word, "counsel", with regards to a staff member/nurse:

Whether you choose to believe/follow this advice is solely up to you. Whether or not they are Christian it is still NOT your job to counsel them or share scripture...it really is that simple.

 

I don't want to go around "thumping" scripture at patients when I'm a nurse. I simply look forward to "conversations" with fellow-Christian patients about things concerning the Lord Jesus, IF they initiate the conversation.

Take care.

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Most hospitals have clergy or someone who can meet with patients and family to share their faith. Having dealt with quite a few while DH was sick and dying I can tell you I would rather deal with the clergy and leave the nursing for nurses. Many times I utilized the clergy or the chapel. I went to the nurses for lab work, scheduled tests, what meds were being changed, when they planned to do things with him. It seemed better to separate the two, at least for me. If the nurses were praying they could get blood I was not offended. I prayed when looking for veins with the lab personnel.

Had a nurse done more than a cursory comment I would have been shocked. There are professionals to do this and nurses do not need to take on another task. One of my biggest issues is that notion of let the nurse handle it. We are our own worst enemies and do things that need to be done. Support of religion is one of those things. If the religion is the same I can understand the boundaries feeling blurred. They should not be. Boundaries are there for a reason. If one wants to be a spiritual counselor that person should follow that path rather than extend nursing to include more non-nursing duties.

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So, if you overheard a fellow staff member talking about things concerning the Bible, you would:

ask them to discontinue this behavior or further disciplinary measures will be take. IN most facilities this will cost you your job...period.

 

I politely ask,

1) would you take these actions because of "hopsital" policy or your own "personal" policy and,

2) is it like this at "most" facilities because of "their" policy, or a nurse managers, own "personal" policy or opinion?

I'm not certain if certain areas of the hospital have differing policy statements concerning "conversations" with the patients....

just curious.

Thanks.

it is not quite the same however: If one is where others can hear most employers demand English to be spoken as patients get upset thinking they are being discussed. if you are having a religious discussion where others can hear it is similar. How would you respond if a group of Muslim nurses wearing hajib were speaking about their religion and it was not compatible with your knowledge of Christianity? Would you be as quick to defend their position?

Religion is personal. Think of it as if it were other personal info you could be sharing. If someone has gyn or urinary issues would you describe your toileting routine to prevent or treat these things? Why not? Not saying medications, but voiding after sex, wiping front to back. These are educational pieces but you do not share your personal experiences. Same thing with religion. Keep it to yourself. Nothing wrong with Christian attributes, just don't bother to brag that you have them. This is how your posts are coming across to me.

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Converse, yes; proselytize, never.

at this point, this is semantics as anyone could defensively assert that they only are conversing. ;)

Yes, I understand. That's just the way it is.

So, you mentioned the word, "counsel". If a patient was in a "spritual crisis" and I (hypothetical speaking), told them:

...my (non-denominational and spiritual) beliefs...

including but not ltd to, my non-belief of God's wrath.

i do believe i brought a lot of reassurance to these people as death drew near...

 

 

, would this be considered, "counseling" them? Which, as you said, would warrant:

i have been privy to many bedside confessions.

when a pt has shared with me that they are not sure if they are going anywhere (after death), a few have asked me what i believe.

keep in mind that i had developed very intimate relationships with these folks.

i worked inpatient hospice so we were together, during the most vulnerable of conditions, for weeks...sometimes months at a time.

these bedside conversations were a reflection of a cumulative bonding experience that only deepened over time.

and so, at those moments (when they asked me my beliefs), i kept it as brief, succinct and conceptual as possible.

for example: from the time i was a child, i understood that energy never dies.

and so because man is comprised of energy, it made perfect sense that while our physical body dies, our soul does not....

because our soul and spirit are energy forms.

my patients found comfort with that, because "it made sense" to them.

there was nothing religious about it, and i tried to be as analytical and logical about it to extent possible.

even if i didn't believe that?

i believe i would have still answered the same way as these pts were terror-stricken about dying and the thought of nothingness or hell afterwards...

again, absolutely nothing religious about our conversations.

fwiw, while you also deny that you would proselytize...

anything cited from the bible, could be construed as just that.

leslie

Edited by leslie :-D

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If the religion is the same I can understand the boundaries feeling blurred. They should not be. Boundaries are there for a reason. If one wants to be a spiritual counselor that person should follow that path rather than extend nursing to include more non-nursing duties.

oh gosh, i so agree.

i too believe it is crossing a professional boundary when nurses do this...

and seriously wish there were penalties for those who do.

or, that the BON would consider that professional misconduct.

the only exception might be working in a faith-based hospital and their p&p encouraged such interchange.

even then i still feel uncomfortable with a nurse disclosing that type of info to a pt.

it is just not professional.

yet, people are going to do what they want to do.

in some cases it'll be because they don't see anything wrong with it;

and others, do so out of defiance...sheer defiance.

this isn't specific to religion, i am saying this in the most general sense.

aky, great point about everything that is dumped on us nurses.

leslie

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tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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I am a nurse.......a parish nurse who works with all ages in various settings, in the hospital, the church, as well as throughout the community. It is a big part of my job to address the spiritual and physical needs of the patient, family.....and staff. I feel very fortunate to work in a hospital that promotes the importance of and encourages meeting spiritual needs. In fact I am paid to do this. And no, I do not work for a church sponsored hospital but a community hospital........a very large healthcare system.

I do pray with almost every patient that I visit, whether it be in the hospital, nursing home, hospice, clinic, or home. Many times the prayer is initiated by the patient, but not always. Most of these patients know who I am and what I do. We do have in depth discussions about our faith and scripture. I feel blessed that I can "minister" to them in this most intimate way during very difficult times. Sometimes, what the patients need cannot be addressed by medicine but by the words of the Lord.

And no, I am not a minister. But I go into a situation with different eyes than that of a minister, doctor or nurse. It is my job to help bridge the gap between the healthcare system and the church. I love my job because I am still a nurse but am able to freely address all the needs of the patient.....body, mind, and soul. I see these people before they are sick.....I know their families. We have already formed a relationship and they trust me to explain medical issues as well as help them make difficult decisions about themselves or their loved ones.

This is one nurse that definitely thinks faith has a place at the bedside as long as the patient is in agreement.

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I dont share with my pts because I dont believe in religion. I hate when people ask me to pray because I just stand there looking like a doofus. But if it works for the pt/nurse whatever' date=' I think it is great.[/quote']

Do non religious people take better care of their bodies and take less risks thinking when you die there's nothing afterwards?

I know how you feel. I feel the same way when having to watch sports tv at family gatherings.

I played sports growing up, but watching other people play sports feels like punishment.

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This is one nurse that definitely thinks faith has a place at the bedside as long as the patient is in agreement.

well yes...the specialty of parish nursing is the only specialty of our profession that would be conducive to addressing faith-based needs of a patient.

here are a couple of links for the readers, to learn the connection betw community and church.

Functions of the Parish Nurse Role

Functions of the Parish Nurse Role

Starting a Parish Nurse Program (yes, the info contained herein is relevant, lol)

www.indianaparishnurses.org/starting.html

so yes, i can see why it'd be obvious that a parish nurse would be the exception to religious interaction with the pt.

fsu, this might be the perfect specialty for you to work in.

thanks tnbutterfly, for the reminder.

leslie

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tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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Thanks for the links, Leslie.

One can go to the Parish Nursing forum here at allnurses to learn more about Parish Nursing as well.

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