Catholic nurses/healthcare workers here?

I’m in level 1 of the RN program at my college, and I’m so curious to hear about Catholic healthcare workers’ stories, if there are any here willing to share! What kind of work do you do? Anyone at a Catholic hospital? Any moral dilemmas that seem to happen consistently?

I have no idea what I want to do specifically, except I would love to work for a pro-life pregnancy center.

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I have no healthcare background whatsoever, but I want other people to see the discussion, so here you go.

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Thank you :slight_smile:

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I have worked in a Catholic hospital for 25 years. I started as Chaplain or more technically, Lay Ecclesial Minister/ Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I then became Director of Spiritual Care. After about 20 years we restructured and I had to add another role, Director of Mission Integration and finally all that changed again so now I am Manager of Formation and I still do Spiritual Care.

All that said, I want to point out that these days in Catholic Hospitals there is a need for people in Mission Integration. That consists of Ethics, Spiritual Care, Formation and Community Benefit. In Formation we tend to the spiritual enrichment of all the associates with programs and reflections.

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My wife is a physician, but not a Catholic so I don’t think that helps you. We do have a Catholic friend who is a pharmacist who declines to fill prescriptions for “Plan B”, and as far as I know she hasn’t had any issues. :man_shrugging:

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Good to know! I don’t plan on working in a field where I’ll have to object to certain things, but ya never know how the secular world of medicine will evolve and throw me into that situation.

I would love to provide spiritual care as well as physical.

What I LOVED when our son was receiving his cancer treatments at the Catholic hospital near here is there is a chapel there with our Lord 24-7. I went there many times to spend time with Him. Also there were visits by Priests, Deacons, Nuns and we were offered Holy Communion every day.

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I think you’ll just have to be careful to know when to give a medical opinion and when you can give your spiritual/moral opinion. Like, if you’re a nurse and someone asks you if condoms will effectively prevent pregnancy, your honest answer probably has to be “yes, if used as intended” not “well, condoms aren’t morally licit…”

I mean, assuming you’re just acting as a nurse and not a spiritual resource somehow.

Right. I hope to work in a Catholic hospital faithful to Catholic teaching or some other Catholic site, but honestly I’m not too optimistic I’ll get such an opportunity.

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You would need to get some Clinical Pastoral Education

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Interesting! I have had passing thoughts about checking our nursing-based religious orders once I have my degree and pay off that debt.

I work in a Catholic hospital/physicians office as a very part time RN. The hospital I work at is very large but remains true to the faith because of about 12 sisters. They stay very faithful to the Church. Everyone understands it is Catholic and everything must be approved by the sisters.

With all the controversial issues in our culture right now, such as abortion, contraceptives and same sex “marriage”, that are trying to force their way into Catholicism I know it is difficult for them but they have stood their ground while still following all the laws. I have seen people attempt to slip something in but when the sisters say no, that’s it.

Many non Catholic employees do not understand it.

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Yeah, the world does not understand. Thank you for sharing! I do not think I could find that around where I currently live, but I have to remember that moving around a little may eventually become an option.

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I’ve hesitated responding to your post because I don’t know how relevant my experiences will be for you. Since I graduated in 1969 many of the moral dilemmas that you might face were nonexistent. My nursing career began in a Catholic hospital and as a student nurse we were taught medical ethics based on Catholic dogma besides all of the expected nursing classes. As I recall we could base the outcome of an action on the two fold or double effect. As an example if a patient dying of cancer required a high dose of morphine to relieve their pain but giving that dose might hasten their death we could morally give the pain med since the intent was not euthanasia but to alleviate their suffering. It was a simpler era where concepts such as abortion, euthanasia, sex change operations were yet to even be considered. After I graduated I worked as an RN in a secular hospital several years before getting married. The only issue that came up on the med-surg floor where I worked was my being assigned a young pregnant patient who was scheduled for a D&C. This was before Roe vs Wade but there could a medically accepted reason to perform this procedure. My duties would include giving her pre-op medication and due to speculations I had overheard concerning her condition, I felt uncomfortable being a participant in her pre-op care. Luckily my head nurse was sympathetic to my conflict and assigned that patient to another nurse. After I was married I wasn’t able to find work since my military husband was moved from base to base every 6 months during the first 2+ years of our marriage. When considering where you want to work my advice is to not limit yourself. One of the advantages of nursing is the variety of places that you can find employment. I have worked in hospitals, a state county home, a dentist office, a nursing home facility, as a school nurse and before I retired 24 years in a family practice physician’s office. I think the time that I spent in each of these areas increased my knowledge and skills. I wish you a rewarding and long nursing career where ever you work. You are much needed in the medical field so “Keep Calm and Nurse On”! :clap::clap:

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience! The setting is definitely different now with the societal acceptance of various immoral procedures, but I have hope that I can be a good nurse without compromising my Catholic faith. We actually talked in our Ethics (legal - not religious) class about how, if we have moral objections, we can bring this up and move around assignments.

My fear is, sometimes hospitals don’t act accordingly. The particular charge nurse I happen to work under at the time I’m in such a situation may start trouble over that.

This is what’s got me worried. If being a nurse in any way would force me to compromise my faith or lose my license, I don’t want to be a nurse to begin with.

I understand your concern about compromising your faith by being required to perform a nursing procedure that you feel is morally objectionable. But it is just because of your strong faith that the nursing profession needs more individuals like you. In my last position which I retired from in December 2018, I was blessed to work with a husband and wife Christian family practice physicians who though not Catholic mirrored my values. I frequently prayed for and with our patients. In the Catholic hospital where I trained we were taught to take care of the whole person body, mind and soul. You should look into Nurses for the Divine Mercy. That is their premise also and provide spiritual solace to those they care for. There is a manual that you can send for that has advice and prayers on how to go about being a spiritual source. It comes from The Association of Marion Helpers at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy on Stockbridge, Massachusetts. You should check them out even if you don’t want to purchase the manual. You’ll be encouraged to see that other nurses hold your views and I think that you will be uplifted by it. Prayers for you as you struggle with this crossroads on your path towards an ethical and moral decision.

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I work in the healthcare industry, and it is an industry, but in the most important part of it. I make sure providers gets paid. The wife is a protestant nurse, and I’m the Catholic moneybags.

Thank you so very much!

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