Godbothering nurse suspended

The Daily Telegraph reports today that a part-time nurse working in Somerset has been suspended for ‘failing to demonstrate a “personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity”‘ after complaints were made to her employers about her religious approaches to patients.

Caroline Petrie was originally a member of the Church of England but converted to Baptist nine years ago, the Telegraph reports. In October she was reprimanded after an incident in which she offered a prayer card to an elderly patient, whose carer later complained. She was told at the time, ‘you must not use your professional status to promote causes that are not related to health’.

After a new incident, in which she offered to pray for a 70-year-old patient, she was asked by the Health Trust, on December 15, to explain her actions. The patient is understood to have complained. She was suspended without pay on December 17. Ms Petrie attended a disciplinary meeting last week and she expects to hear the outcome soon.


8 Responses

  1. This is sad. Most likely, this was offered as an act of comfort. People should interpret the actions of others in a fair way. Usually older people are religious, and appreciate this, so she must have acted on this assumption. The report does say that she “offered,” not pushed.


  2. Why do you bigots feel it is acceptable to attack Christians,I am sure this article would not have been written if it related to someone from another faith.

    Maybe that is why we are seeing sociaty ripping itsself apart because it is easier to critisise others than to act it an unselfish way to benifit humankind.

    It might be worth while pointing out that more and more sociaty is being supported by faith groups providing socil care activities that the local councils have dropped and that it was the christian church who first sought to provide health care before the establishment of our NHS sixty years ago.

  3. It was the nurse’s employers who suspended her, not I. The suspension followed complaints from patients and carers.

    The National Secularism Society has issued the following statement: “The NSS doesn’t want nurse Petrie sacked. Her skills and commitment are not in question. But we do want her to understand that she cannot use her privileged access to the homes of private individuals as a pulpit, and the disciplinary hearing should elicit from her a promise that she will not repeat this.”

    I agree with that. It’s about respect for people’s privacy and avoiding inappropriate evangelism during work hours, especially when your work takes you, as Caroline Petrie’s did, into their living rooms and bedrooms.

    It isn’t about Christianity. If a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish or Buddhist nurse comes into a home, they should not evangelize for their faith either.

  4. It was however you who summited the tittle “Godbothering” a direct referance to a single faith group.

    Lets be honest the NSS have only jumped on the wagon in the thin hope that their prevously unkown excistance might become known by anyone who might happen to read an article before whipping their behind with it.

    And I disagree, had it been from another faith everyone would have been to PC to deal with it, diversity works all ways not just one way. As neither you or I were in the room when the comment was made we do not know in which context it was said and therefore cannot say if it was in the spirit of evangelising.

  5. Yes, I used the term “godbothering”. That’s the name for somebody who comes to your home and uses it as an excuse to proselytize for a religion.

    I’m quite aware of the common misconception amongst Christian godbotherers that they and they alone are being targetted. It’s stupid to assume that a person who intruded their religious beliefs, of whatever hue, into medical treatment, would not tend to provoke complaints. It isn’t “PC” (whatever that is supposed to mean) to complain about the behavior of somebody in your own house. It’s a personal prerogative related to privacy.

    And yes, the NSS could be accused of bandwagon-jumping here. They had nothing to do with the complaints at all.

    This nurse was suspended after two separate incidents.

  6. Marianne, yes I can understand the nurse being caught out once. What makes me suspicious is that even after a reprimand she continued to offer to pray for patients.

    I don’t know how to explain to you why that kind of behavior is inappropriate, if you don’t see it.

  7. Janet Street-Porter with some commonsense in today’s Independent:

    ‘A huge fuss about Caroline Petrie, the nurse who faces disciplinary proceedings for asking an elderly patient if she wanted her to pray for her. The patient wasn’t offended, but said she thought it somewhat strange behaviour.

    ‘I agree. Mrs Petrie may be a devout Christian, but telling an elderly lady you are going to pray for her more or less implies you don’t expect her to last the night. Mrs Petrie says it is just her way of saying, “Get well soon”, so why didn’t she use those words? She should keep her thoughts to herself and get on with dishing out the bedpans.’

  8. The Trust has decided to take no action and has invited Caroline Petrie to return to work.

    They further state:

    “For some people of faith, prayer is seen as an integral part of the healthcare and healing process. We expect as part of the person’s care plan an entry describing the patient’s preferences in relation to their spiritual needs.

    “The person responsible for care co-ordination has the responsibility for agreeing with the patient how those needs are to be met and whether that is as part of the NHS interaction, such as via chaplaincy, or by support from others such as family or faith/community groups or if they are making their own arrangements.

    “Regarding spiritual support by staff whose principal role is not to offer spiritual support, the initiative needs to rest with the patient and not with the caregiver. The personal views/beliefs and practices of the caregiver should be secondary to the needs of the patient and the requirements of competent professional practice.

    “It is acceptable to offer spiritual support when the patient has stated that they wish to receive this as part of their care.

    “For people of faith who are involved in healthcare, that does not mean they are required to set aside their faith but they are required to allow their actions to speak of their faith.”

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