You guys don’t personally KNOW me but if you did, I am as open minded as they come…(well, that is an exaggeration, vaccinate your kids, no excuses)
I’d love to sit down and hear your opinion, sincerely. I love learning new things, I love hearing different points of view. So when I bring up a controversial topic like this, I’m a bit apprehensive you all won’t feel the same.
I’d like you to give me the same respect I would offer you if we were in person and politely chime in because I think this is a really interesting discussion.
So first of all, my short and fast answer to this question is no. Being religious, being a Christian, being a spiritual person does not make you a better or worse nurse.
This was brought up at work the other day. One of the nurses I work with was never baptized, never went to church, and strongly believes in science. She is very sweet, extremely kind, and overall an excellent nurse.
So, I took a poll asking other nurses their thoughts and most everyone’s hard and fast answer was also no that it doesn’t make a difference in quality of care.
But then I flipped the question: Does it matter to the patient if their nurse is Muslim, Bouhdist, Catholic, Christian, Jewish etc?
For me, the answer is no. I don’t care either way of my nurses religious preference as long as they respect my religious preference.
Here is my long answer:
I am a Christian. I was raised attending a Lutheran church. The older I get, the more I feel like I am a Christian more than a Lutheran and I’d fit in better at a non-denominational Christian church.
I’m raising my children attending a Lutheran church whenever I’m brave enough to bring them. But we pray and Carver doesn’t really know or care who Santa Claus is because IT IS JESUS’S BIRTHDAY more than Santa is coming. He doesn’t know who the Easter bunny is because Jesus died and we are celebrating because HE IS RISEN!
My philosophy of why I am a nurse, my true belief is more than just a calling. I truly believe God works through me to care for people and to teach others to care for people.
When a patient dies too young or something horrible happens, I can lean on the notion that it is out of my control and is in God’s hands. It is a part of His plan. I may never know why that had to happen or why they had to die but I know that it is under God’s control.
I believe that my role on Earth is to care for God’s children the best I can. I believe I encounter certain patients to learn how to accept all walks of life. I believe I am learning every day to learn skills that will make me the best steward to care for others for when we cross paths further down the road.
I’ve had a pretty horrible year. My dad was diagnosed with extremely aggressive lung cancer and died 129 days after his diagnosis. I still believe that was God’s plan. I still believe that I did all I could for him. Can I offer my grieving mother the absolute answer as to why he died at 58 years young? No. But I lean on my faith and I take a breath and pray for acceptance and to strengthen my faith to believe the God has that reason in his plan.
So in short, religion MAKES me a nurse. This is why I do what I do. When a nurse tells me that they aren’t religious, I have so many questions for them!
- Why do you do what you do?
- How do you sleep at night without the comfort of knowing that it wasn’t in your control?
- How do you see what we see and be okay?
- How do you cope?
- How can you let things go?
My answer to all of these questions is my faith.
Is it easy? NO. I still have to process the horrible things I see everyday but I know in the end I’ll be okay and it will make me stronger and more knowledgeable to care for the next patient. I know it will make me a better nurse in the end. I know God is testing me and my faith. I know I will come out on the other side stronger and wiser.
But back to the original question: Does being religious make you a better nurse? No. It’s just the reason I am a nurse. But I’ll share with you how it makes me a better nurse as well.
I feel like I am more tolerant because when I’m frustrated or angry with someone I can pray for them. I remember we are all God’s children. I remember I was put here to care for them.
I feel like I offer religious preferences sooner than others. Such as: If my patient is dying, when there is nothing left for me to do, I find a priest or a pastor or a chaplain or SOMEONE of the patient’s religious preference to come and be with the patient, to pray with the family, to be there.
The quickest and most effective way to calm a room full of demented patients is to hand out Rosaries and say Hail Mary.
I have prayed with patients. I have bent over backwards to get them to church or communion. I’ve sang hymns for and attended my patient’s funerals. Spirituality is an effective non-pharmacological therapeutic intervention.
I think the better question is: How does your spirituality or lack thereof make you a good nurse?
So here are my questions for you all:
What spiritual interventions are you interested in if you were to be hospitalized?
What would it mean to you if your nurse was or was not religious?
Do you have certain beliefs centered around your ability to mentally, physically or emotionally heal?
How do you cope with the tragedies happening in our world today?