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PCT suspends Christian nurse for offering to pray for patient

An offer to pray for an elderly patient has resulted in a Christian nurse being suspended by North Somerset PCT

Caroline Petrie, 45, will face a disciplinary hearing after being accused of failing to show a commitment to equality and diversity.

She said she did not force her Christian beliefs on anyone, but asked if the woman would like a prayer said for her because “it is a valuable part of the care I give”.

She said: “I’m not angry, and I understand if people don’t believe in the way that I do,” adding that she found it difficult to believe she had been asked to stop working.

The sick woman, understood to be her 70s and living in Winscombe, reportedly refused the offer and informed Mrs Petrie`s superiors.

North Somerset PCT said in a statement: “Caroline Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.

“She is a bank nurse and she has been told we will not be using her in this capacity until the outcome of our investigation is known.”

Readers' comments (69)

  • What is the world coming to? It seems that equality works just one way and this situation strikes me as being farcical. I have to ask whether this lady would have been suspended if she had been of another religion???!!
    If her offer of prayers offended the patient in question then why could this not have been dealt with quietly and discreetly. On the surface there seems to be no need for this suspension and the PCT should be ashamed. I am quite sure they would not have taken this action over any other ethinic groups / religions. There is no equaltiy but plenty of positive discrimination and it is no wonder so many people in this country are fed up. We are seeing our values and way of life gradually being eroded away.

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  • I Cannot belive a PCT would act so rashly and although we do not know the true story, i find it hard to believe they would go this far with out serious fears of patient safety. looking at the story details that we do have then I agree with another response earlier. would they have done this if it was another religion in question? or is the world now so politically correct that a simple offer is no longer acceptable.
    what can i say acept lets PRAY that they come to a sensible conclusion for all involved.

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  • I think this is ridiculous, our job at the end of the days is to care for patients in a holistic way. This nurse was doing this, by offering a way that she found acceptable for both her and her patients. How could this nurse be struck off the register for caring? I have heard of nurses who have done a lot worse who never get called up for their actions. I wonder if the trust had not faced a complaint (which would not be good for statistics) would they ever have questioned her practice as a capable nurse? I doubt it!

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  • I am a christian and in my 20th year of nursing. I have often prayed for patients, colleagues, management, just about anything.
    Shall I offer my resignation?

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  • I have to say that the Trust appears to have acted in haste. Remember slow to chide, swift to bless perhaps. And remember also we are still a Christian country, as well as a multi faith society.

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  • Its a very sad day for England when someone has been suspended just for saying a prayer for another human being . Whats happened with our freedom of speech and do the management take into consideration the whole picture? I'm so saddened by this case!!!!!

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  • It’s inappropriate to allow religious belief to interfere with professional services; the two should be separate. Religion is such a personal, emotive issue that you're on very thin ice if you offer your religious views to someone who may not share those views and, as others who have responded to this thread have acknowledged, we live in a multi-faith society (not a Christian country as one person suggests) so there's a high chance of this happening. Aside from this there’s another reason why the nurse’s offer of prayer was inappropriate and unprofessional. Our profession has strived to ensure that nursing care stems from a sound evidence base. Prayer has been shown through a robust, large-scale clinical trial to make no difference whatsoever to patient outcomes. In other words there’s no evidence for it and it should not be considered for clinical use. So this nurse’s offer to pray was inappropriate for two reasons: it’s unprofessional and it doesn't work.

    Having said this, she shouldn’t have been suspended. This seems excessive. Why couldn't North Somerset PCT simply tell her not to do it again, and explain why? After all, it seems that her intentions were good even though they were inconsiderate. She's hardly a threat to the public, which is what suspension pending investigation is intended to ensure. Gary Porter-Jones

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  • What a waste of peoples time to deliberate on this matter when there are better things to do. The patient should be greatful for seeing a nurse offer her a prayer. We as nurses are human being who deserve to be listened to and value the services we offer. What is UK turning? Staying Christian country or what?

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  • What on earth has this world come to. What a ridiculous waste of time etc and the patient herself should be ashamed. That is of course assuming all the facts are here.

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  • I want us to remember that we are a Christian Nation with values founded on a Christian Heritage.Its saddening that the Nurses with such good intents has been indisciminately treated.

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