Primary care trust reinstates nurse in prayer row

A nurse suspended after offering to pray for the recovery of an elderly patient has been asked by her PCT to return to work.

Photograph: iStockphoto/ Florea Marius Catalin
Photograph: iStockphoto/ Florea Marius Catalin

Healthcare Republic reported on Tuesday that bank nurse Caroline Petrie, 45, was suspended pending an investigation by North Somerset PCT.

A PCT statement reads: ‘We recognise the concerns raised by the many people who have contacted us about this situation. We feel we were right to investigate the concerns from people about Caroline’s actions. We are always respectful of our patients’ views, and we will always strive to ensure our staff meet professional standards such as the NMC code of conduct and any policies and procedures which are designed to maintain high standards.

'However, we are keenly aware of the importance of an individual’s spiritual belief, and we recognise that Caroline felt that she was acting in the best interests of her patients. For some people of faith, prayer is seen as an integral part of health care and the healing process.

'It is acceptable to offer spiritual support as part of care when the patient asks for it.

But 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.’

The Daily Telegraph reports today that all NHS staff risk losing their job if they discuss their religious beliefs with colleagues or patients.

  • Is the NHS too tough on staff with religious views?

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