There are so many examples of times where religious/personal beliefs have to be taken into consideration, typically in life or death scenarios. A patient’s right to make these decisions always trumps the professionals desire to help. But what about those scenarios that happen right in the doctor’s office? Telling someone they are pregnant and they react badly, or having to explain to someone the side effects of a drug that could be life altering are both situations where the patient’s beliefs need to be taken into account. The professional cannot simply assume that abortion is a solution or that the side effects of a drug are worth sacrificing a way of life.
It is perfectly acceptable to be without faith, to not understand why people believe the way they do, or to not be able to relate your beliefs to others. It is part of our rights in America. But as a professional, I believe part of our job is to communicate the needs of the patient in a way that does the best good, or that does the least harm. It is our obligation to our community to take into account their beliefs on a level that does not discriminate.
From patient to medical professional, my experience (small town experience anyway) has shown the communication is so much better if each can be open about their own faith. To be able to talk about what is going on and level about what you “believe” leaves less of a gap for science to scare the public. One of the best experiences I have had was from a patient point of view.
After a near fatal car crash, my faith was all but crushed. Yet, my doctor, physical therapist, specialist, and my orthopedist always took into account my belief that my life was meant to be saved and treated it as such. I was able to ask questions about how they felt about the technology that was now a part of me that I didn't consider “god given.” It was those discussions that encouraged me to want to become a medical professional. To rely on my faith to get me through the good and bad, to help me communicate our need for advancement in the medical field, and to help understand my patient’s need on a better level.
This video is Tony Robbins talking about being emotionally involved in what you do (STRONG paraphrasing)! He ends with "explore your web, the [stuff] that's controlling you, so you can give and appreciate what drives other people." It made me think of my Physical Therapists who reminded me of that everyday. I see a direct relationship in being emotionally involved as a medical professional and being aware of the patients beliefs/faith/religion/EMOTION!
My physical therapist loved this old Zen master quote, “A strategy of detachment may not serve you well in the long run. There are indeed rewards for those who care for the dying, but you must be present to win them."