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Christian nurse suspended for offering to pray for patient returns to work

A Christian nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient has been allowed to return to work.

Caroline Petrie has been given permission to return to work by her employer, NHS North Somerset.

A statement on the PCT’s website warned staff that religious beliefs must always be secondary to patient care.

The statement said: ‘For nurses, whose principal role is giving nursing care, the initiative lies with the patient and not with the nurse.

‘Nurses like Caroline do not have to set aside their faith, but personal beliefs and practices should be secondary to the needs and beliefs of the patient and the requirements of professional practice.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • I find this response by the Trust alarming. Surely as nures we need to look at the holisic approach to caring for our patients and part of holistic practice lies the need for Spiritual care. This nuse did not put prayer before the care she gave to her patient and as a christian nurse myself ,to care deeply for a patient often includes a prayer for them. What is this world comming to, Florence Nightingale always looked to prayer for her patients and many still do.

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  • The managers responsible for this unlawful suspension seem to understand that they have caused considerable distress to Ms Petrie as they say on their website that she will be ‘returning back to work as soon as she feels able. We have always been keen to bring this matter to a timely resolution. It has been a distressing and difficult time for Caroline and all staff involved.’
    They are typically condescending – referring to Ms Petrie by her Christian name – and saying how well they have handled the situation when in fact they have ignored good practice guidelines, created additional staffing problems by reducing their available work force (how many others of their staff have they sidelined too I wonder?) and caused such distress.
    I am so glad Ms Petrie was able to go public about it. So many staff in similar situations have to keep quiet for fear of losing their jobs. So trusts get away with appalling miscarriages of justice.
    Will anyone learn anything from this debacle though? I hope so but I doubt it. We rarely seem to learn anything except that the NHS is a dangerous place to work at rimes.

    Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions in the UK

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  • I find it outrageous that a nurse was suspended on 'offering to say a prayer for a patient'. We are taught in nurse training to give a holistic approach. The best thing I ever did was leave the NHS and move to Australia. I am not te only one there are hundreds of drs and nurses leaving and coming here. I would recommend it to anyone. The NHS do not deserve us!

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  • Thank the Lord for that! What a load of tosh! Someone must have had an ounce left of that precious commodity common sense!!!

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  • The majority of nursing staff felt drawn to nursing because of their personalities and beliefs.

    We treat people as we would like to be treated. We talk to patients as we would like to be spoken to and we are sensitive to their needs and beliefs.Does this mean in future if the patients belief's are that bad language is acceptable we should match this? If they believe its ok to assualt staff we should let them? What if their belief is of a sexist nature. Do we agree not to treat them because we are not of the gender they prefer to treat them?

    This statement is tiptoeing around the issue. Another grey area.

    Just because we are on the lower end of the salary scale in the NHS does not mean we should have to change our whole belief system and what has previously been outstanding care.

    We are a national health care system. Run on public funding. We are turning into a nation who want to sue and complain and claim discrimination at every turn throughout the hospital/care experience.

    Discrimination, non tolerance and complete disrespect of a patient's culture and beliefs are absolutely not acceptable. However nor is turning hard working nurses into robots that can't think for themselves.

    Goodluck Caroline. I'm praying for you....on second thought's I shouldn't have mentioned that...I may get suspended.

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