Typically, if an employee needs religious accommodations, they should request them up front with the employer. Some company policies require employees to submit their request to their supervisor or manager, others direct those requests to the organizations HR department. Accommodating religious, spiritual and ethical beliefs should include establishing a in inclusive environment where they are treated with respect. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act defines religious practices and beliefs include traditional and non-traditional organization, as well as those with no religious affiliation (Society for Human Resources Management 2021).
Some of the most common request by employees include time for prayer, and respecting holidays (Grossman, 2020). In meeting these request employers must also ensure they are not putting other workers in unsafe situations by working short staffed. Other request is to not perform certain tasks that go against the person’s views or ethics. Nurses and all healthcare workers are in unique situations in that we deal with dilemma on a regular basis. We are held to a specific code of ethics to do what’s best for our patients, families and community, while maintaining our own well-being and standards. One example I relate to is during my time in a trauma ICU. Our most critical patients with poor prognosis were made comfort measures only. The doctor’s orders where to administer Fentanyl as needed for signs of discomfort. This was difficult for some nurses as it went against their belief. I was one of those nurses at first, but I soon realized it was a unique position to keep the patient and the family comfortable (the families knew the patient was not suffering in pain) during one of the worst experiences of their lives. Some families would stay with the patient until they passed, others could not bare to watch their love one slip away. I never judged either decision the family made, but I made sure if the patient was alone that I stayed with them until they passed. I would hold their hand and talk to them quietly. This was a practice on our unit, and other nurses knew if this was occurring, they made sure my other patient was covered. I always felt it was a privilege to stay with the patient as they left this world, and I was able to share with their family that they passed peacefully and with someone with them. Conversely, if a nurse was uncomfortable in this situation, we would work with them or change the patient assignment.
Nursing is complex. We must care for all patients…regardless of how we feel about them. I cared for a young boy who was being severely neglected by his parents, a sweet child that was malnourished and scared from burns and cuts. Weeks later one of those parents was also my patient. While not overly compassionate, I was professional and did treat the patient and followed physician orders.
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