Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
09-08-2014, 03:06 PM
Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
As I've posted in other places, I am new to being a cardiac nurse. I'm also new to Atheism and still trying to fit this new self image into my life. I don't know how to answer questions from patients and their families about my absence of faith.

I work in the southeast US. Most of my patients are conservative Christians. I feel like most of them only have confidence in Christian nurses and doctors because they have "faith" and are doing "the Lord's work."

I rarely got asked if I was a Christian when I was in the ED - there just wasn't enough time for patients and their families to feel like they formed a "bond."

I hate lying. I really do. It makes me uncomfortable. But I just don't have a good response thought out and I need help.

I recovered a heart transplant earlier this week, and the patient was very difficult to "wake up". Family of course was upset and had less than realistic expectations...because god... and low IQ (same question 17 times with me explaining it 17 ways of easy) and poor education.... They kept talking about the power of prayer and blah blah while I'm constantly titrating drips and doing blood draws and monitoring his hemodynamic to keep him alive. At one point the patient's elderly mom asked me if I was a christian. (My preceptor is also a Christian as well as the nurse educator for my unit). "Nurse, are you a Christian dear". So there are now 5 people looking at me expectantly (yay open visitation), so I said yes. Blush They were happy with this answer and decided their loved one was in excellent hands. 3 days later we raised dude from the dead Rolleyes and he is expected to do well. (Success!!!)

It bothers me because I feel like I missed the opportunity to show these people that an atheist can be a kind, compassionate person that helped save the life of their loved one, and was supportive during a very difficult time for them. It's why the coming out campaign exists. When I'm off probation and don't have to worry about being fired for "no reason", how should I politely answer such a personal question? I don't have time to sit and debate god with them (nor do I have the confidence to engage in such a debate) - most of my thought process is very involved in how to keep this person alive, what's my next task....

Or should I just continue to keep my mouth shut? Everyone was satisfied with the care I provided from that point forward and were confidant they were in good hands. Happy people sue less.

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Nurse's post
09-08-2014, 03:10 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
I vote for keeping my mouth shut, or evading when possible.

Yes, in your specific situation I would have lied.

My husband has often not dusclosed his religious beliefs (or sometimes non-belief)


Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Momsurroundedbyboys's post
09-08-2014, 03:15 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
(09-08-2014 03:06 PM)Nurse Wrote:  Or should I just continue to keep my mouth shut? Everyone was satisfied with the care I provided from that point forward and were confidant they were in good hands. Happy people sue less.

People who're worried about the possible death of a loved one aren't in a position to think rationally. If you really can't bear lying (for very good reason) I'd just go with "I'm sorry, I believe religion is a very personal matter and I don't like to discuss it at my workplace"... or something along those lines.

If it was me though, I'd just grit my teeth and say "yes". If you feel bad about it you can tell them later - after the crisis has passed. Right at the moment of crisis though, speaking as a guy who's seen his Dad looking not too healthy and hooked up to all the monitors and such, all they're looking for is reassurance from *any* source.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like morondog's post
09-08-2014, 03:17 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
(09-08-2014 03:06 PM)Nurse Wrote:  It bothers me because I feel like I missed the opportunity to show these people that an atheist can be a kind, compassionate person that helped save the life of their loved one, and was supportive during a very difficult time for them.

They sound too dim to appreciate that lesson. Lying was in the best interests of your patient.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like GirlyMan's post
09-08-2014, 03:17 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
Perhaps during a testing recovery phase it would be best to completely avoid any religious debate, both with patient and relatives. I would see this as being diplomatic, not dishonest.
I do not see it incumbent upon any health professional to engage in that type of banter.
In saying that I can appreciate your difficulties and where it would put pressure on you, but to get dragged into even more spurious debate seems even worse.
You are working to help and heal people, surely that's enough.

" Of course I doubt, I practise faith, not certainty.'
Robert Brault.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mr Woof's post
09-08-2014, 03:25 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
(09-08-2014 03:15 PM)morondog Wrote:  I'd just go with "I'm sorry, I believe religion is a very personal matter and I don't like to discuss it at my workplace"... or something along those lines.

That is almost word for word what my husband has said, 9x out of 10 the matter is dropped.

One family insisted that he too join hands with them and pray before an exam. He took a step back and told them to just go ahead.

He did some busywork, quietly seething they were wasting his time.


Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Momsurroundedbyboys's post
09-08-2014, 04:56 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
(09-08-2014 03:06 PM)Nurse Wrote:  At one point the patient's elderly mom asked me if I was a christian. (My preceptor is also a Christian as well as the nurse educator for my unit). "Nurse, are you a Christian dear".

Since this will come up again, and since lying and feeling put on the spot is going to annoy the dickens out of you, you need a canned answer you can live with.

Like "The nurse family is catholic" or whatever. Then you're not saying you are, but they will assume it. One sentence every time and you avoid the mess.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Dom's post
09-08-2014, 05:39 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
I have developed a response that could best be described as "fudging it." I simply reply, "I come from a long line of Methodists ministers and missionaries." That's true, and I never have to reveal my real orientation.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Thinkerbelle's post
09-08-2014, 05:55 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
"Yes English, I'm Anabaptist. I am here to fight the devil and his workings in these wires and machines."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes WeAreTheCosmos's post
09-08-2014, 06:35 PM
RE: Nurse, are you a Christian, dear?
I think you made the right decision in this case. Nothing positive would have been gained by telling them you're an atheist.
Saying you're an atheist in a new job to the Christian family of a patient seems like serious boat rocking to me.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes pablo's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: