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Reality Unscripted
Disciplined for Offering a Prayer

A couple of months ago I wrote a post called "Spiritually Caring for your Patient."  I told you about my belief in the power of prayer and how I often pray for my patients, whether they know it or not.  Well, I saw a story recently that has given me pause.

There is currently a case in England where a home health care nurse offered to pray for a patient and ended up suspended.  Apparently, she asked an elderly woman if she would like prayer, and the woman said no.

That was the end of it; the nurse left.

The next day the patient told another home health nurse about the incident and said she was not offended, but another patient might be.  The powers that be ended up involved and decided to suspend the nurse until it could be further investigated.

So how does that make you feel?  Do you feel that suspension was an appropriate consequence?  Does it make you think twice about offering to pray for a patient?  Is spiritual care supposed to be part of the package?

If you would like to see the original story check it out at There is also a short video of the nurse speaking.  Let us know what you think!

Read more Reality Unscripted articles

61 Responses to “Disciplined for Offering a Prayer”

  1. bryn Says:

    she asked, the patient said no, end of story. No one should be offended by that. If she pushed/forced her values on her, kept on asking her to do it, then that’s a different matter.
    Does anyone else get sick of this political bullshit?
    Hell, it’ll get to the stage where you’ll have to pee the right way for fear of offending someone.

  2. Robin Says:

    I think praying for a patient is beyond the scope of Nursing. Let’s reverse the roles for a second – what if a nurse is not religious, and the patient requests a prayer? Do you see the conflict in that?
    I think a suspension was rather harsh. Counseling the nurse against such behavior would suffice, in my opinion.

  3. Max Says:

    I my experience as a CNA, and now as a nursing student, we are advised to keep religion out of the care model. I attend a catholic university and many of our upper class nursing students are in a catholic founded hospital. Dispite this, we are told to be conscious of other beliefs and advised to not interject religion. I do not think this nurse should be suspended, but agree with Robin, counseling the nurse against that or at least outlining some tips for how to deal with that would be totally sufficient. Hospice does involve some spiritual component for many.
    Theres my two cents…

  4. bryn hagan Says:

    you should come and work in new zealand. Prayers, spiritual things are rife there. Hell, in some places if a patient dies in a room, and a maori patient is to be admitted to it, they can insist on having a maori priest bless the room etc.

    But back to the issue at stake, a nurse offerring a prayer. Are we as nurses determined to take the human side, the human nature, the human touch out of nursing. We’re all so bloody professional, it makes me sick.

    There’s no harm in offerring. Hell, most hospitals have a priest on site anyway, a hospital chaplam, at least in most the ones I’ve worked in.

    I’m no religious by the way.

  5. Kim Says:

    This is ridiculous! NO – that nurse should not have been suspended. I feel like we have taken so many steps backward here, I don’t know where to start. Nursing is MORE than just passing meds. She offered something, it was declined and that was the end. What if she offered a back rub – physical touch is offensive to some people – should we be suspended for that? Or is it just okay to suspend someone for offering SPIRITUAL support during one of the most difficult times of their lives?

    She looked at that person as more than a number, more than a diagnosis – she looked at them as a real human being with real human needs – and for that she was punished. I sure hope this is an isolated event that does not happen again as it makes me feel quite oppressed and as if I’ve lost my own freedoms.

    I agree with Bryn – there is NO harm in offering, and she should NOT be punished for something like this. She was not pushy at all. Her offering showed a deeper level of care and true concern for someone’s whole being – and it was stomped on. I am mortified.

  6. JoEllen Says:

    This makes me sad. I am NOT religious — I actually quite dislike organized religion. But I am spiritual and I respect other people’s need for prayer. As a nurse tech and nursing student, I often have patient ask ME to pray for them or with them and I sometimes have them tell me that they will pray for me. And I think it’s beautiful. And I will often pray with a patient if it brings them comfort. I often have people ask me if they can pray for me and I say Yes. Am I supposed to control what they pray for?

    For this nurse to be suspended for offering a caring gesture to a patient is horrible. I am saddened by it.

  7. Fran Says:

    Well I was reprimanded in nursing school for sharing my faith with some patients… At the time I felt I was justified. My views have changed now after 12 years in hospice and end of life care. I do pray for my patients, but they do not know it. IF a patient asks me to pray for or with them,I do it. Often as a patient is taking their last breath, I am the only professional at the bedside. If it helps my families or the patient I will do it. But unfortunately it is hidden under a bushel. I greatly resent the radicals on either side that are so intolerant of the differences that make us human. And finally my FAVORITE quote of all time… “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    Mohandas Gandhi

  8. Carl Says:

    I think the higher ups over reacted. As has been said, she offered the patient said no and it was not mentioned again. I was taught the we need to look after the whole person, that includes not only physical, mental, but also spiritual. It is the whole person concept. To be suspended for this is totally wrong.

  9. Joyce Says:

    Unbelievable… just unbelievable. I am a senior nursing student at a baptist university. There are a diverse number of religions that attend the school, yet the school does not impose its beliefs on the student body. I have experienced situations during clinical where a patient has asked me to pray with them or for them. I have been taught that the patient should state what the prayer is for and at the most he/she should pray if the nurse is uncomfortable… I do not think that this nurse should be suspended. She did not pray… she did not violate any statues… patient said no, the nurse ended it… To me that is a reasonable and prudent yet caring nurse.

  10. Anne Says:

    I was a human being long before I became a nurse. Offering prayer is a simple act of human kindness; the patient declined, end of story.
    What if she had asked the patient if they had a spiritual advisor that should be called? Would they have suspended her for that? I think not, but it’s the same basic instinct, to give spiritual aid to someone who needed it.
    This is a nurse looking out for the whole patient. Guess we’d better replace nurses with robots instead, then we won’t have these problems.

  11. Michaela Says:

    That’s crazy. She offered a gesture and accepted that the patient did not want it. I have offered prayer to a few patients after listening to them cry about a new diagnosis or can’t get relief from some discomfort or something. I don’t offer it to everybody (although I will pray at home for them) and I don’t force it. I’ve had several patients tell me I was their favorite nurse and I would like to think it’s because I try to care for their whole being.

  12. Laura Says:

    Did we forget the definition of holisitic care, the very foundation of nursing? Obviously the people involved with this incident, #2 Robin, and #3 Max did! And Robin apparently never learned it at all: “…beyond the scope of Nursing…” !!!!

  13. Richard Says:

    I work as a Nurse here in the UK and so was able to follow this story to its conclusion. In the BBC article it states that the patient was not offended but was concerned, concerned enough to raise the matter with the next nurse they saw. According to Winslow and Winslow (2003) they state that “In order to provide spiritually respectful care, nurses should seek a basic understanding of patients’ spiritual needs, resources, and preferences.” So the actions of the patient would indicate that this was inappropriate for this patient at that time.

    But asking if you would like a prayer is not the same as prescribing. The Nursing Code of Conduct in the UK does not give specific guidelines regarding prayer and, again, the BBC article tells us that the wishes of the patient were met. So, professionally, there was no breach of conduct.

    This now becomes a local employer/ employee matter. I can probably guess there was nothing in her contract that stated “thou shalt not pray” so I can concluded (with a leap of faith) that our poor nurse did not breach any legal or contractual obligations.

    Did they overreact? We will never know the full story or the background leading to this issue. So it is difficult to answer the question. Based upon what I do know it does seem a little harsh to suspend someone while you investigate an expression of concern from a patient.

    We live in a world of diversity where there are numerous religions and beliefs. Prayer is a common factor in most of them. Therefore, I reckon it is important that prayer, when used, should be to satisfy a spiritual need and not a religious one.

    The article by Winslow and Winslow (2003) provide 5 guidelines which are worth a read. As for our poor nurse, she was quickly reinstated following the actions of an (enlightened) manager.

  14. Jason R. Thrift Says:

    Mind, Body, Spirit. That was taught in my psychosocial nursing course when I attended college. Nursing isn’t just about the patient care, there are other subtleties that are overlooked.

    An action of suspending a nurse for a conflict of values tears at the foundations upon which nursing was formed. Some of the first “true nurses” began as the Knights Templar. These men swore an oath to helping others, while upholding their most cherished beliefs and values. To deny a current day nurse the right to pray for a patient, would be to deny the grand history from which nursing was born.

    I think the attitude and beliefs of not only the patient in question, but the nurse that followed up should be brought into this. We all know, there are nurses out there that are out to sink other nurses. What were their motives in reporting this? Perhaps I’m just too old fashioned, or more founded in my beliefs than I thought, but that would have been a very trivial thing and I may have even questioned the patient myself as to why they saw an issue with this. Obviously the patient is lying that it did not offend them, because it did, otherwise why would you even bring it up?

    This is just a perfect example of why, sometimes, it doesn’t always pay to listen to what a patient has to say. I just had an ethics class that discussed the “duty to warn.” With something like this, it would be a very tough call for any nurse as to whether or not you should report something like this. Maybe the home health agency has a strict policy of religion not being part of the care? Many factors would enter in, but ultimately, any organization that doesn’t hold to the most cherished values that nursing has been, and will always be about, should rethink their structuring.

    I think you would decidely need more information here to make a sound judgment. Until then, it’s always the patient’s word against the nurse’s

  15. susan Says:

    I experienced a similar situation while my husband was the patient. We were awating the results of a biopsy to define what type of cancer we were dealing with. The nurse offered prayer to us. I think that was an awesome act of human kindness. If we didnt want it all we had to say was no. We did accept it and I felt we were closer to her as she cared for my husband. I think we need to get back to the old way of nursing where the nurse not only passes meds but listens and deeply cares for her patient. Suspension is rediculous.

  16. DD Says:

    Prayer is such a beautiful thing. Its the way to communicate with the one who has all power to heal us. Medicine and doctors are great but God is the one who gave that wisdom to the doctor and He gives the medical companies the knowledge to create these medicines.

    The Word of God says:Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    And forget not all His benefits:
    3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
    Who heals all your diseases,
    4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
    Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
    5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
    So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103

    Like it has been said before: Prayer was offered and it was rejected end of story. What’s the offense? That the nurse wanted to help? That the nurse was concerned? That the nurse had a loving heart? That the nurse was willing to take a little extra time with her patient and not just do her job and run out to the next patient?

    I am a Registered Nurse and boy have I seen prayer work with patients. Sometimes I offer, other times the patient asked for prayer. I dont offer to everyone the situation has to call for it. I truly have seen miracles. We once had a patient not responding but yelling at the top of there lungs what seems to be screams from hell and there body seemed to be having convulsions it was going out of control not like a seizure this time it was different. The struggle in there body was beyond words. The code team was in there working on this patient for about an hour and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them the patient wouldn’t react. The Lord guided me to put my hand on there leg and pray silently. After praying for the patient there was a response and the patient was back to normal. When the patient came back the patient was trying to tell there family that they had been in hell and was trying to come back and but couldn’t. The patient says that they kept yelling trying to avoid it and it seemed impossible. Thanks be to God that the patient did make it that night. Prayer played the key role there. No one knew that this person was being prayed for. When the patient came back the doctors were shocked and were all looking at each other because they had given up. But God was up to something.

    We need to be wise when it comes to prayer. It isn’t always the best timing or place but when it is it’s great to see miracles happen.

    This doesn’t surprise me it is a reality that we are facing today. Anything that has any true power is being pushed away. The bible, Christ, the 10 commandments and now prayer. It makes you wonder why are people trying to do away with these things. The truth confronts us and when we are being confronted we have to make a decision either will we accept it or turn away and fight against it.

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

  17. Lea Strongheart Says:

    I have seen nurses who prayed and loved their patients back from the dead. They have been annointed with the spiritual gift of healing.
    There is an enormous spirit of darkness that is permeating the medical field. For that reason, I cannot be a part of it.

  18. Lea Strongheart Says:

    PS. Every time a nurse touches a patient with love,reverance,and tenderness…she becomes a living prayer!

  19. johanna Says:

    I definitely dont think that the nurse should have been suspended. In the last publicationof the TIMES magazine there was this article about health and praying and they have actually done studies where patients that have faith in praying or know that someone is praying for them sometimes do much better than those who do not believe in prayers. Some of the other studies are also focusing on introducing prayer or the patient being asked if they wan to be prayed for by their primary care physician. It is very interesting. I am not a religious person abut i am spiritual and do believe in the power of faith and prayer, I do not feel that offering prayer to a patient is deserving of suspension.

  20. Jennifer Says:

    Pray is a form of comfort and healing, however, as an RN in the hosptial I leave it up to the patient to request prayer. I usually assess where they are spiritually and than act accordingly. I actually had a patient dying one time and I asked if he would like a minister. He firmly said no, however, his family was deeply religious and requested the minister anyway. The minister came and the patient said that he would see us at the pearly gates. Sometimes as nurses we have to make decisions as a patient advocate and act on what our hearts tell us to do regardless of the consequences.

  21. Lea Strongheart Says:

    The only true prayer is, “Thy will be done.” We cannot interfere in anyone’s free will or their path..There are karmic consequences.

  22. Dora Says:

    I think this idea is rediculous. I am glad that my hospital is religion based and carrying out the work and care of Jesus Christ. She needs to find a hospital that is religion based. They were just words, no one was harmed.

  23. Joanna Says:

    I agree with #12 Laura. Holistic care is a part of nursing. Guess who were the first nurses? NUNS!!!
    Also, I am a Christian but respect all religions. If a person from a religion different from my own wished me well, I would not be offended, but honored. This is just another example of people taking things too far!

  24. Cathy Says:

    She should never have been suspended. She did nothing wrong! She asked, the patient said no, she did not pray for the patient. The patient said he/she was not offended. So what is the problem? Nursing care of patients needs to be a very personal thing, we need to care about our patients. She didn’t overstep her bounds, in my opinion her supervisors overstepped theirs.

  25. Heather Says:

    As nurses aren’t we supposed to provide holistic care? And isn’t spiritual care apart of that, especially with end of life issues? I think it was wrong for her to be suspended. She was just doing her job well!

  26. Becca Says:

    I think if we are expected to offer wholistic care than to offer to pray for someone is very appropriate. I am a Christian working in a muslim country and my patients always appreciate if I offer to pray. I only pray out loud if they ask though. Anyone can refuse based on their beliefs. I don’t think anyone should have to pray or listen to prayer if they are not comfortable. But, to suspend someone for offering wholistic care is a bit much.

  27. MCKean Says:

    It would offend me if a nurse offered prayer. I had an oncologist tell me, “God had a plan” in relationship to my breast cancer. My response was, well if this is part of your Gods plan, to hell with you and your God. If a patient asks you to pray, one thing, for you to offer is wrong. I think she was lucky not to be fired.

  28. MCKean Says:

    BTW offering prayer is only wholistic care if you already know the patient is religous and what religion, otherwise it is offensive and is closer to abuse than care. If you are a nurse and pray for me as a patient, better keep it to yourself.

  29. Shannon Says:

    The patient was asked and refused and nothing went further. Being a christian myself, I feel that the facility was wrong in suspending her. Everyone is intitled to their beliefs and opinions. Since no one was offended the matter should have been dropped. My heart and prayers go out to this nurse.

  30. Hilary Says:

    I think it’s ridiculous that she would be suspended! At the hospital I work, as part of our admission process, we are expected to assess patient needs: social work, case management, nutrition, PT/OT, spiritual, smoking cessation… if I’m expected to assess it, then I feel free to offer it (not impose it), and I’ve even been asked to join in prayer at the bedside with family members (as a young nurse I originally found it awkward, but felt honored to have been included). We are supposed to be living in a country of religious freedom, but it seems like lately, many think that means we’re supposed to be free from religion…

  31. bryn hagan Says:

    I’m glad that the majority of us here are on the same page. She did nothing wrong.

  32. Bonnie Says:

    McKean!!! What’s wrong with you? I might be inclined to think that this should probably be addressed with employees as an orientation when they are hired. Some facilities may be ok with this, while others perhaps not. We all have different cultures. BUT…McKean, you need to relax a little, it’s not like they are using voodoo or putting the evil eye on you. It’s more like a wish for a speedy recovery, a blessing for good health, a random act of kindness. Where is the crime in that?

  33. bryn Says:

    McKean, you need to chill. Absolutely anything can be taken the wrong way. When I read your statement about what happened to you, I can see how it could be offensive, BUT, I can also see how it could be the nurses attempt at trying help. I bet the nurse thought it might make you feel better.

    It didn’t in this case. Sorry, get over it.

    We can’t be afraid to make that extra gesture that makes us human, that shows we care that extra bit more.

  34. CNA/Current Nursing Student Says:

    It is beyond the nursing scope of practice to ask a patient if they would like to be prayed for. As a non-religious patient, I would feel uncomfortable if a nurse asked me that.
    In the past, if a patient asked me to read them the bible or something similar I would do so to comfort them… despite my beliefs, but for a nurse to ask a patient to engage in anything religious is not professional.

  35. socretes3 Says:

    To me, this comes down to the whole thing about whether or not to say Merry Christmas to people. I celebrate Christmas. But if someone who was Jewish for instance wished me a Happy Hanukkah I would smile and say thank you, you too because I understand the spirit in which it was intended. To me, even though I’m not a religious person, offering to pray for a patient or client is the same way. Most people who aren’t religious will understand that we are offering them something with good intentions. It would be terrible if a patient who was Catholic, for example, (and didn’t have family) passed away without receiving the last rites because they were too sick to think to ask for a priest and none of the nursing staff wanted to bring it up because it’s a “touchy” subject. We say things to people every day : “Have a good day”, “Enjoy your weekend”, and so forth because we want to pass a little something on to someone else that could brighten their day. It’s people who put too much thought into small acts of kindness that never benefit from them.

  36. socretes3 Says:

    Another thought : My husband was recently hospitalized, and when he was admitted one of the first questions the nurse asked him was if he had any religious preferences, such as if he would want any clergy to come by when they visit. We declined the offer, but weren’t bothered in the least that she asked. If a patient is offered such services on admission and refused, prayer shouldn’t be offered later unless they request.

  37. Jem Says:

    Regardless of viewpoint, NANDA has three diagnoses dealing with spirituality. Prayer is a spiritual practice that should be assessed in every patient. Do be suspended over actually completing the full perspective of your job is ridiculous.

  38. bryn hagan Says:

    to CNA/current nursing student. I think when you start working as a RN your attitude may change. As a student you’re naturally taught the politically correct way and the nursing school ‘professional’ way, but then there’s reality.

  39. Robin Says:

    I see many comments here about holistic nursing and the power of prayer. I have no argument against either. But, the issue at hand isn’t whether nurses should be allowed to practice holistic nursing or whether prayer is beneficial.

    In this particular case, the issue is whether a nurse should ask a patient if they want a prayer. In this particular case, the patient hadn’t asked for a prayer.

    In my opinion, part of holistic care is respecting a patient’s right to privacy.

    By the way, I don’t see the necessity in being rude in any forum and it doesn’t demonstrate professionalism to interact in that manner.

    We all have different opinions. Each is valuable in a civilized discussion. None of us are going to change anyone else’s opinion.

  40. Sukie Says:

    I think one needs to be very careful today with regards to prayer. I have been asked by patients to “pray” with them. Now being spiritual and do often pray myself I am not offended. I can understand that others may be deeply offended. But it is the patient asking. I would never ask a patient “can I pray for you?” That just doesn’t feel right. You are then ASSUMING they pray, believe in prayer and a God or Higher Power. In healthcare one must never ever assume anything.

  41. bryn hagan Says:

    for crying out loud, if people find it offensive if being asked whether they would like to pray, then soceity is even more pathetic than i imagined.
    Oh no, I got asked if wanted to pray, I need counselling. It’s soooo offensive. Hell, I’ll sue the insensitive religious buggers, that’s what I’ll do.
    Simply put, we can’t be too afraid to ask. It doesn’t matter what profession we are in. Everyone’s so bloody worried about offending someone. Well, I’m offended that I can’t ask. Hell, if the patient gets offended, too bad. Say ‘Sorry, I won’t ask again. I didn’t meant offend’.
    Patients have rights as well. They have the right to appreciate what we do for them, and not take offense when none is intended.
    Hell, any patient who decides to take offense is probably looking for an excuse to stir.
    Patients need to show a little common sense and tolerance as well.
    No one should ever be ‘deeply offended’ if asked in a non forceful or persisting, nagging way.

    Get a grip you politico correcto’s. A nurse should be able to offer if they feel it appopriate.

  42. bryn hagan Says:

    by the way, what sort of person does it take to be “Deeply offended” by an offer to pray. I don’t know anyone, anywhere who would by being politely asked.
    Next we won’t be’ll be scared to say things like “Good luck” or “let’s cross our fingers” because we’re worried about offending someone who doesn’t believe in luck. They’ll complain we’re superstitious and offensive.
    It’s just stupidity at it’s most stupid.

  43. Brent Says:


    If you wish to pray. Keep it to yourself. Your preferred deity has pretty good ears and can hear silent prayer.

  44. Richard Says:

    I have been reading all the comments in here with interest. We all seem to agree that being suspended for offering prayer was an overreaction based upon what we do know about the situation. And yet, even amongst ourselves as professionals this seems to be an emotive subject. I suspect the debate over to pray or not to pray will go on for eternity. Personally, I have not read anything that has dissuaded me from my original comments earlier (#13). For me, the advice given by Winslow and Winslow (2003) still holds true; understand your patient first and make sure it is for spiritual, not religious reason. Amen.

  45. bryn hagan Says:

    The most important point of all, she asked. We’re not mind readers. There is never harm in asking, about anything. When we create a society where we are afraid to ask, then that is when problems, sometimes dangerous ones can occur.

  46. bryn hagan Says:

    Oh, and Brent, either you missed the point, or you’re trying to be clever, but she asked the patient because she probably thought by doing so the patient would like this, may like to pray etc with her. She probably prays for all her patients privately.

  47. Pattie, RN Says:

    Robin, you couldn’t be more wrong. Every aspect of nursing violates the patient “right to privacy”. I don’t ask friends over a cup of tea when their last bowel movement was…but ask pts every day. A simple offer of prayer is just that-a simple offer of human kindness and concern. Would the pt have had equal concerns if she was offered a cup pf coffee and didn’t drink caffeine?? Seriously, this pc bullcrap has gone over the top. There is no inherent “right” to 24/7 “protection” from anything someone might find offensive. Frankly, the chronically offended offend ME!

  48. Shaira Says:

    I am in the nursing program, first year second semester. They have taught us the importance of asking such questions to patients to make them feel as comfortable as possible. She is better off asking if the pt wants prayer than not asking at all. I dont agree with the suspention, the nurse was doing her job at finding out what was important for the pt.

  49. MCKean Says:

    Funny how those religous preference forms never include athiest. You people would do well to keep your religion out of medical care until a patient asks, or uses language that would sugest they are indeed religious. What you have to understand is that many of us have been raised and lived within a culture of christians that are:
    offensive in pushing their religion
    offensive in telling you that you are going to hell and all sorts of crap that makes you want to slap them.
    I avoid christians in my personal life, and I expect them to keep that crap to themsevles at work.
    The offender in my case, “God has a plan”, was not a nurse but a doctor, and one I kind of like. Still, I think of him as rather unscientific, non-rational, not the kind of person I want in charge of my care.

    Those of you who find my dislike for christians offensive keep in mind,
    I do not come to your door and bother you.
    I do not peddle my lack of faith as something that you all should also believe or be doomed to eternal damation
    I do not talk about my lack of faith at work, school (unless relivant to topic), or other places.
    I do not wage wars against people of other “faiths”.
    I do not try to violate others privacy and freedoms by telling them how to live their life and what sort of medical care thay can and can not access.
    I do not try and claim that the country if founded on what I believe.
    I do not abuse children, beating and rapping them while I call myself a person of God.

    If you think this is offensive, well like I said, I have been offended over and over; it is time the Chrisitans learn, God did not give this land to them, they are not special, and keep it to yourself or risk loosing your job.

  50. bryn Says:

    ah MCKean, you sound a touch bitter. Beware any nurse that offers you any kindness, you’ll sure turn it around and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Or Perhaps you’ll decide to sue, make some money from being so offended, just because SOMEONE ONLY BLOODY ASKED.
    Get a grip MCKean. The issue is not even about prayer, it’s about someone having the common sense to ASK, so they don’t offend anyone.
    I’m not religious. But I don’t have a grudge against religious types.
    Oh, and the way you stereotype all religions as you described shows you are emotional, not rational. Hell any nurse who crosses you is going to get an earful from you.
    Perhaps you should try religion, it might make you a bit more tolerant. By your reaction, being a nurse certainly hasn’t.

  51. Brent Says:

    Bryn Said “Oh, and Brent, either you missed the point, or you’re trying to be clever, but she asked the patient because she probably thought by doing so the patient would like this, may like to pray etc with her. She probably prays for all her patients privately.”


    I full understood.Nor was I trying to be clever, so I don’t need policing. Which is why I said it’s better to keep things to yourself. I say a prayer for my dying/ deceased patients in and out of hospital. It’s safer to keep your religion to yourself. Unless you are a pastoral care worker and religious or similar.

  52. socretes3 Says:

    Actually, any atheist patients have an opportunity to make that known. If they’re asked if they have religions preferences, like my husband was, that’s the time to say so. I know most hospitals and facilities have their own forms and such, but all of the ones I’ve seen so far either just leave a blank for you to write in what you want under religious preference, or if there’s a list there’s generally a spot to circle “other” and write in your preference. When you’re in college, one of the things they cover your first day of class is “does anyone have any disabilities or special needs? We can accommodate you” The majority of students don’t need special accommodations, so it’s the responsibility of the student who does need them to explain what they need. It’s like that in a hospital. Most patients have a religious preference. We are more than willing and able to do anything we can to accommodate any patients with special preferences, including if they are atheist and don’t want any religious considerations at all. That’s why we ask. If you have special preferences, it’s up to you to make that known when you are asked.

  53. Mr Ian Says:

    I forget which was I was arguing this on other sites. I think I’ll go in the ‘against’ team this week.

    The nurse was already reprimanded for making a christian get well card for a patient. The nature and context of this was not disclosed.
    The nurse was then further found to be offering (Christian) prayer to another patient.
    It sounds like another nurse got this info and ran tittle tattle to management.

    She acted outside of guidance even after being reprimanded once already. She made a judgment of her own volition despite organisational concerns already raised against her. She should be on a final written warning now… if she were a full time employee.

    The nature of the event is irrelevant. She has twice defied the local guidance.
    This demonstrates a maverick attitude.

    Are the employers wrong to suspend her from duties if she’s simply doing as she decides despite organisational direction?

    If she doesn’t like their policy – go work somewhere else.

    It also demonstrates that she holds her religion as above her employment status. That’s some good faith.
    But if she had so much faith – why raise it with the national media? Why not simply pray about it at church? Why not simply and modestly decline to comment? This was a matter between her, her employer and (a) God.

    What she has done is demonstrate that you can screw with your employer and behave as you want then scream unfair treatment.

    Who is being the bigger bully here?

  54. bryn Says:

    where do you get this information Ian? That does shed a different light on things. I even saw a brief news article on it and they never said all that.
    Anyway, if the case were as simple as stated above, ie offering a prayer, nothing more, no previous history, what do you feel is appropriate?

  55. socretes3 Says:

    I too was curious about Ian’s info so I looked around online and found what he was talking about: This is the full story (at least as far as I could find)

  56. socretes3 Says:

    She had been previously handing out cards with a prayer on it to her patients, whether they asked for it or not. She was reprimanded for that before this incident. Most of us agree that for this one incident she shouldn’t have been suspended, but I can understand a little better why they did. It wasn’t the first time this had come up, and she was already asked to stop. I think had it not been for the previous issues, she probably wouldn’t have been suspended this time. She probably would just have been reprimanded.

  57. Richard Says:

    Just for your info. Here in the UK the Nursing Times (Vol 105 No. 7: pg 9-10) did a survey on this matter and asked UK nurses what they felt about it. The results were not surprising. Of those that responded; 91% said that she should not have been suspended, 91% also believe that there would be circumstances where pray for a patient would be appropriate, 72% believe that nursing practice should include a spiritual element, 87% say that there is not enough guidance about this topic.

    The most interesting result, for me, was that 43% of the respondents had been asked at least once by a patient to say a pray for them.

  58. Mr Ian Says:

    where do you get this information Ian?
    Google and God.

  59. Jaclyn Says:

    Well, I’m jumping on this a little late…I think that the nurse in question didn’t do anything wrong. I agree that spirituality is part of holistic nursing care. Spirituality is not religion. And I think that instead of specifically asking if the patient wanted to pray the nurse would have been better off asking if there were any spiritual considerations she needed to take into account when caring for her.

  60. Mr Ian Says:

    So.. if I read that correct Jaclyn… she did nothing wrong – but she didn’t do it right?

  61. Pia M. Love Says:

    It was always my understanding that if the patient didn’t request prayer or spiritual consideration when receiving care to the patient, then the nurse should never offer it.

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