Nursing a Guilt Complex.

nurseThe last post on the bus slogan has generated the most comments to date for any of my blogs. So clearly there is still a passion for arguing about whether promoting religion should be tolerated in our society. As this story is so close to home, (I live in North Somerset) I thought I would canvass your opinion on the Christian nurse who has been suspended for offering to pray for her patients.

Having some links with the NHS, I am all too aware that many junior doctors and nurses engage in life styles that engender the mantra, “Work hard & play hard.” I could tell you some stories that would shock you. Of course, not all medical care workers are like this but given the choice between your regular NHS nurse and one that has chosen a Christian lifestyle which normally eschews the worst excesses of personal pleasures, I honestly believe I may feel more comfortable with the bible-basher.

That said, looking into this particular case more thoroughly, I was a bit alarmed to see that Nurse Petrie had taken to handing out cards which read, “I am sorry for what I have done wrong in my life and I ask for forgiveness. Thank you for Dying on the Cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.” That’s a guilt trip that seems a bit much for those who may be already terrified at the prospect of death.

I am happy for people to pray for me, adore me, worship me or any other form of positive adulation. But don’t make me feel guilty for your belief systems.


Filed under atheism, In the News, Newspaper

15 responses to “Nursing a Guilt Complex.

  1. “Thank you for Dying on the Cross for me to set me free from my sins. Now if you could just forward me the details of the cure for cancer which your Dad undoubtedly knows, I’d be really grateful.”
    The whole ‘why do bad things happen to good people if there’s a God?’ argument pretty much justifies my atheism in a nutshell. Somehow, ‘because he knows they have His strength to cope’ argument sounds a bit like the classic ‘…it had all been a dream…’ Get out of Gaol Free card that primary school story-writers use to wrap up the action.

  2. Gus

    It would do a great deal for the NHS budget if, instead of all that fooling about with surgery and stuff, ill people just got handed Nurse Petrie’s card…

    But I’m not sure that I’d feel better in the hands of someone who believes that you’ll only recover if God chooses to forgive you than those of a hard-living cynic who thinks modern medicine might just have an influence.

    Chillingly, Nurse P has now been re-instated BTW. And I love this: “Mrs Petrie is represented by the Christian Legal Centre, which described the hospital’s climbdown as a “victory for common sense”. That’s OK then.

  3. Actually the nurse was suspended, not because a patient thought her behaviour was strange and reported it as such, but because she had two previous COMPLAINTS from patients/carers who WERE offended by her. They considered that she was pushing her religion onto potentially vulnerable people. She had been warned by her employers about such actions which clearly breach the trust given to nurses by their patients and their relatives.

    She has now been, rightly, reinstated because the latest patient was not at all offended.

    It is a fine line and sometimes a difficult one to tread between being caring and making a patient uncomfortable, not just regarding religious issues, but also others including the use of humour, or the use of touch & hugs.

    The NMC has recently stated that it is unprofessional for nurses to call there patients “dear” “love” or the like as they could be considered patronising.

    However patients (like nurses) are all individuals, and a good nurse will adjust the line of profesional detatchment for each patient to (try and) maximise the health outcomes for the patient.

    sorry about the spelling…

  4. Ram Venkatararam

    Interesting. I blame socialized medicine. In the United States, this would never be an issue because Nurse P would be working in the “rich and pious” ward of some private Christian Hospital.

  5. I think someone Photoshopped her left arm (on our right). Looks very rubbery. Like Stretch Armstrong.

    That’s all I have to say about religion.

  6. poietes

    Unfortunately, the elite wards of the hospitals to which you are referring would hardly attract the pious: Cedars Sinai in L.A.–a bastion for Hollywood types; Jewish Hospital would hardly hire a Nurse P; Mount Sinai in New York for Wall Street types, pious? Washington Hospital Center where they take politicians and embassadors? I cannot imagine anyone trying to shove a card like that into any patient’s hand there without the Secret Service jumping on her. Methodist Hospital–speaking as a former Methodist, I can tell you that this is one protestant religion that is so averse to butting in to people’s business that it is hardly noticeable.

    All of that being said, I have to get back to the primary argument: Nurse P and her cards. In most U.S. hospitals, there is a resident Pastor who will visit you upon request. I have been in the hospital several times because of my back and to deliver my babies. In those situations, I would be able to handle Nurse P by simply telling her to go away.

    However, when I was in the hospital by my dying father’s bed, and in the hospital with my dying daughter, if Nurse P had come anywhere near me, I think that I might have become violent–truly. She has faith and religion: good for her. But to presume to push that on people when they are going through unimaginable hell is more than inhumane, it is heartless.

    Her proselytizing with her supposedly heartfelt cards is nothing more than shoving her beliefs down other people’s throats when they are helpless to do anything about it, and this is the act of someone who cares more about the message than the individual to whom she is purportedly trying to help.

    She has no business being a nurse. Let her go be a missionary with her mindless smile.

    Ah sorry, bad two days, and this just sent me over the top. But not sorry about anything I said about this situation. Just sorry for going on so.

  7. Is this the wrong time to talk to all of you about Jesus? I would just give you all a card, but I gave my last batch to the beloved Nurse Petrie.

  8. 1st i would ask her if her god is omniscient. if God is omniscient then he knows how to bring it about that there is neither evil nor suffering.

    2nd i would ask her if her god is ominpotent. if God is omnipotent then he is able to bring it about that there is neither evil nor suffering.

    3rd i would ask her is her god is benevolent. if God is benevolent then he wants to bring it about that there is neither evil nor suffering. but if God knows how to, is able to and wants to bring it about that there is neither evil nor suffering, then why does he not do so?
    her god does not do so because he does not exist so she needn’t pray for me…and i needn’t use caps on his name.

  9. poietes

    Too funny . . .

    The answer to the third question is why I question the existence of god in the first place and stopped using caps in the second place.

  10. Gia

    As an atheist, I have no objection to there being religious representatives in the NHS (priests, vicars, etc). They may, for some people, be as useful as placebos or counselling for recovery or coming to terms with death.

    I do object, however, to preying on people who are ill, immobile or on their deathbed who have not chosen or asked for the imposition.

    The idea of someone preaching to me about Jesus on my deathbed is as offensive as me telling a dying religious friend or relative that they are mere days away from total oblivion, that God is just a children’s story and praying doesn’t work.

    It’s just not respectful.

  11. brucehood

    I think the newspapers missed an ideal opportunity with your pun on “preying”on people, Gia!

  12. What is so wrong with jesus?
    Seriously, just because she is trying to make people facing the end of their life “fix” all their broken failed belief systems and reach the heights of peace “god” can give a person. Sheesh…

  13. There are places where carrying a concealed fire arm is perfectly acceptable such as my home state of Texas where there are, not coincidentally, a huge number of Bible Thumpers from competing sects who are all convinced the others are going straight to Hell. If Nurse P pissed off the wrong Bible Thumper, she could easily get shot especially in an elite, Christian hospital. Those dang Elite Christians are the worst for shooting people whenever they get a wild hair up their butts.

  14. Pingback: Bloggers Helping Bloggers! « A Different Kind of Blog

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