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Forums > Social Chat > How to handle a conversion attempt at work?

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:OK, so I just got dealt this scenario by a professor and told to think about it as an exercise.

Suppose I was caring for a patient and the patient asked me if I had found Jesus in my life. When I explain that I'm Jewish, the patient starts to talk about how everyone should find Jesus in his or her life, including me, in order to be saved. The patient persists in this line and is trying aggressively to prosyletize to me.

Assuming that I cannot diagnose a psychiatric disorder (Mania or hypomania can present as inappropriate religious fervor), what is the best way to respond to this while 1) not lying to the patient, 2) respecting the patient's beliefs, and 3) protecting my own right to my own religion?

What would YOU do? Remember, this is a sick patient in the hospital and you are the doctor.

I'm at a complete loss.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Dio


Dio

HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA

Total posts: 729
Posted:Change the subject around to their condition and keep it professional, I would guess. Or just don't respond in the first place to their religious commenting?

Maybe ask if they are offended by a doctor working on them who practices a different faith... but really it wouldn't be too hard to just avoid the situation entirely.

My 2


What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Tell them that it is something you will someday have to concider and have to think long and hard about, but that before you can have a mind clear enough to focus on such matters you really need to do your job. That while you agree you MAY not have the spiritual teachings to save your soul, you DO have the medical education to save their health, and that is where the focus should be.

It is respectful. You put conditionals on your statements, therefore they are not false..You really may not have the spiritual teaching to save yourself...who does, you really might concider it in the future, you don't know. It protects your rights and gets to the point.

How'd I do????

At least that is how I have treated my family for years...except my brother in law, who I just ignore.

It's a toughy Mike. I don't envy you.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Deescalate, diffuse, redirect.

I think it depends on the state of the patient of course.

I think that anyone that doesn't respect your personal religion certainly doesn't mandate personal respect of theirs. If it's an extended conversation, you may be able to explain that.

You can also validate their beliefs without invalidating your own. For example point out how you've seen others belief in Jesus as helpful or comforting.

You can also pass the buck by stating that you really can't get into religion while employed in this hospital.

Dunno. It seems like you've got lots of options. Actually, in your line of work, I'd think you're going to have tougher scruples problems that you hadn't even thought of.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Flynt
SILVER Member since May 2002

Flynt

Intrepid Penguin


Total posts: 5635
Posted:Good question!

I guess if it were me, I would politely and bluntly say "sir/madam, I respect your beliefs. I also ask you to respect mine. If you would prefer, I can ask another doctor to assist you."

*shrug*
usually that makes ppl realise how they've been biblebashing enough to be shame faced about it, and be quiet!


Currently on the right side up of the world.

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Flynt
SILVER Member since May 2002

Flynt

Intrepid Penguin


Total posts: 5635
Posted:Oh, and btw, isnt that a lovely picture just posted in the Mike Ginny album??

i loove the recently posted pics feature, dont you??? xoxoxoxo


Currently on the right side up of the world.

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Jello


ambiguous
Location: Mpls, MN, USA

Total posts: 646
Posted:Whats wrong with lying to them? If it makes them happy why not? It wouldn't affect the quality of care you'd be giving them in anyway so I'd just go along, not make a big deal about it, and move on.

_________________________________
Fuzzy Dice.......................................

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SickpuPpy


SickpuPpy

Ninja Rockstar!
Location: Denver, Co. U.S.A.

Total posts: 1100
Posted:Since you believe in the same god, I would tell him nicely, and calmly:

"My faith is between God and myself, and I would thank you not to try to come inbetween."
Should he persist you may wish to point out the fact that, should he take a look at the teachings of Jesus, his first duty as a Christian is not to convert those of other faiths, but to live his life by showing grace to others, and living a life of goodness and building his own relationship with god.

If that doesn't work, you can use the famous Quote from Martin Luther (sorry this isn't verbatum):

"Preach you faith every second of every day... Occasionally use words."

And if this fails hand him a copy of the New Tesatament and ask him to show you even one example of Jesus, or any of his deciples for that matter, trying to forceably convert some one, or even one example of them pestering someone with their words to convert someone.
There are none, that's not what Christianity is supposed to be about. You talk to people about it, yes, but if it is forced on someone it totally distroys the message of Gods love and grace. Maybe explain to him that he is violating the much coveted 'golden rule' of Matthew 7:12, and unless he is honestly going to be happy being pesterd by Hassidic Jews all day spouting the virtues of Jahova, or being inendated with the intracacies of the Kabballah, that he should probobly seriously rethink his way of witnessing to those of other faiths.

Hope it helps.


Jesus helps me trick people.

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well, Jello, suppose I say to the patient that I'll try going to Church. I see the patient again at a later date that the patient asks if I went, then I have to either lie again (I'm bad at lying and on top of that, I hate lying) or admit that I was just trying to placate her on the first visit.

NYC, you raise a good point, but actually, we are allowed to discuss religion with patients because it can be an important issue. For example, I need to know if a patient is a Jehova's witness and would rather die than recieve a transfusion. If the patient is Muslim, I'll make a note in the patient's chart that the kitchen should be notified not to serve the patient pork if the patient is ever admitted and I'll make a note that medications containing alcohol should be avoided if possible.

One classmate said that maybe she'd say that she doesn't discuss her own religion with patients, but again...if a patient asked me what my religion was, I'd answer honestly.

So now that leaves me back at square 1. Pele's right, I do need to focus on what I'm doing to help her, not vice-versa. Although, the more I think about the case, the more I realize that depending on how aggressive she is, the more unrealistic the case becomes because there comes a point at which I would be negligent to not start to consider a psychiatric diagnosis. And if I can't get her to stop with more subtle hints, that's the beginning of the gray zone. Maybe this isn't a fair question.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I think you're thinking too hard.

Either you're dealing with a crazy person, in which case you should have no hesitation about de-escalating or lieing.

Or

You're dealing with a truely religious sane person who's probably heard that some people are Jewish. I'm sure you're not the first person who they've tried in vain to convert and you won't be the last. Let them do their sales pitch, then politely decline.

Anyone who's being too aggressive is also being disrespectful to your beliefs. Whether it's Jesus or a New Car, just say no thanks.

Though I do think you could use some more Jesus in your life.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Flynt
SILVER Member since May 2002

Flynt

Intrepid Penguin


Total posts: 5635
Posted:

Currently on the right side up of the world.

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Trippie Hippie
BRONZE Member since May 2002

Trippie Hippie

old hand
Location: Bewildered state of nothingnes...

Total posts: 733
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Flynt:
and bluntly say "sir/madam, I respect your beliefs. I also ask you to respect mine. If you would prefer, I can ask another doctor to assist you."
I think that about sums it up I couldn't have put it better myself.
LOL
Taking it easy
Trippy

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Trippie Hippie- Monty Dons secret love child

Fly like a mouse, run like a pillow, be the small book case.

"Last night i met some pixies and we danced around a stone".

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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:Lets change the scenario a bit;

You have a terminally (sp) ill patient on your hands just last week the patient was pulled from the edges of death by non other than youself.

In that weeks time that person has accepted X religion, and is persisting the idea of conversion on you.


Keep in mind that the paitent will be dead soon.

What do you do?

Do you try to make their final days better both in physical comfert and mental, or find some other way around the situation.

Personally, in that situation I would do what it would take to ease the paitents mind.


Mike, faith is not a psychotic disorder, believing that if somone does not have faith in said religion that they will rot in eternal damnation is not a psychotic disorder.

Trying to "save" someone and refusing to quit isnt a psychotic disorder.

Believing one is sick (either mentaly or physically) when they arnt, however, is.


Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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musashii


musashii

starring Skippy the green llama
Location: Seattle, WA

Total posts: 1148
Posted:Personally, if I was a doctor, which I couldn't do anyways(cutting on ppl, nah ..) I would keep it professional, and choose sparingly where you would choose to cross that line..

Deescalate, diffuse, redirect

Excellent tactics to use to keep the relationship professional and keep good bedsides manners. However, such may not be the case when you have chosen a profession to essentially save human lives. If I was to choose a profession such as that, it would be upon an extreme spiritual level. So then my job would extend beyond simply fixing wounds here, or preventing illnesses there, more than topical solutions to say...Even if on such a spiritual path, I realize that each persons path is their own, and one person cannot dictate what anothers path is, and would hasten to enlighten those who would think otherwise. So you speak of the ultimate catch-22, extremely tough call.


First intention, then enlightenment..
Ars Pyronomica

" Life is programmed. Whether death is programmed or not is yet to be determined."

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Ray, Nobody ever said that faith was psychotic disorder. Please reread Mikes words.

It took me two reads also to figure out what he was saying as well.

"Mania or hypomania can present as inappropriate religious fervor"

He is stating that someone who DOES truely have a psychotic disorder COULD present that disorder through religious furvor NOT the other way around. Mike mearly brought up the disclaimer to illustrate that the situation he was suggesting was a sane, religous person as opposed to a psychotic person. By making the distinction he is clearly respecting religion in general.

Nobody is suggesting that trying to "save" someone and refusing to quit is a disorder. Mike is clearly suggesting the opposite, otherwise he would not be treating it with the sensitivity that he is.

I think you may have misread Mike's original post.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:NYC has it right. There are cases where people are brought in by their own churches. For example, a patient was brought to the Psych ER by a Pentacostal minister who complained that the patient was speaking in tongues and jerking around in peculiar ways. The doctor said, "But I thought that Pentacostals spoke in tongues and moved around like that." The minister said, "Not in THOSE tongues and not THOSE movements."

Similarly, proslyetizing is socially acceptable behavior. Persistently trying to convert your doctor, which whom you have a medical appointment, is not. Once the behavior begins to interfere with social function (and interrupting a medical visit to try to convert the doctor would be an example of that) you have to start thinking about various psychiatric diagnoses. It need not be religion, either.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:drunk? fun or not?

well, perhaps i can give some insight into this, as i am pretty drunk myself as we speak (infact it's a wonder, if not quite worrying, that i can still type).

Being drunk is an interesting experience, something which i have done many many times before.

It's interesting, because you admit to yourself, you say directly to yourself things which are 100% true, but you don't have the balls to say in sobar life, let alone to other people.

These days i don't drink as often as i used too, but it does happen every now and then. I think that with time i come to a point when i am pretty much t-total. I really hope that the time comes when i am in a social circle when we can all sit around on a friday night wihout drink and have fun, but alas the time has not yet come.

So anyway, what is this universal truth? This thing which we only admit to ourselves when we are drunk? This thing which underlines our whole lives, whether we wish to admit it or not? This thing which when we are sobar we think to ourselves "hahaha, what a f*ing drunk g*t, i realy do talk rubbish when i drunk", but we know, ddep down, is true? Well....

Life is all about procreation. Whether we are animals,fish or ameba. Our whole point of existance is procreation. Wev've gotten to the point in evolution as humans where we think that we above all animals, where we think that we are some sort of devience from the whole animal kingdom and our lives are not centered around sex/ultimately procreation, but to be fair, it is at the back of my, and i guess everyone elses mind all the time.

So, come on, why the f* am i posting this on the internet? I mean, admitting it to myself is one thing, but advertising it is another. Well, basically, it's true. If i am to be 100% happy and at one with myself then this is something that i have to come to terms with and publically admit and hopefully get over, if am to be truely at one with myself. It's something that I have to aknowlegde, and hopefully get on with my life without.

I don't know about other people, but on many a drunk occassion I have written notes to myself like "i wish i was exempt" or, like tonight when i wrote "being human sucks". I really wish that i could lead a life where i could get on with things without having at the back of my mind, at a subconious level a masterplan of procreation. Then i could really could get on with life and ejoy things. But at the end of the day, if everyone could do this, would any of us procreate and would we actually get beyond this generation? You know, you don't belive how much i wish i could lead a life as a buddhist monk, but I've grown up with an english drinking backrgound, and this sort of thing has just been programmed into me.

Anyway, the majority of people reading this will think that iam talking utter b*ks, so i will stop here

I'm tempted to start a new thread and lock it, so it is imortalised on the internet forever, but i'll leave it here, where people can flame it, pick to pieces, write posts like "hahaha drunk english people are so funny" or "lol, what an idiot", but hey, i don't care . I know its all true, so erm, yea. I really hope that i have gotten my point across. I know that my typing is s*t and i've made loads of errors, but heh, i've had too much to drink .

so, erm, before i even think about editting this post, night night

[ 24. May 2003, 14:14: Message edited by: flid ]


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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:lmao, i so posted this in the wrong thread, but heh

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Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted:How disappointing. I thought it had a certain relevance.

It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:Yep I missunderstood his post, damn I wish I would have kept up with this topic.

Anyhoo... Let me try to get it all right... if a sane person comes in say they had a broken leg, and started to share their faith with you, what would you do? Is that the question?


Then I ask you, are you sound in your fiath or lack there of in some cases to sit there and listen to the patient babble?

You can redirect, but if you have a privet practice, would it be better to not piss of the paitent by changing the subject, or to listen and maybe keep some cash flowing into the bottomless pockets that we all seem to have?


Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Raymund P.:
Yep I missunderstood his post, damn I wish I would have kept up with this topic.

Anyhoo... Let me try to get it all right... if a sane person comes in say they had a broken leg, and started to share their faith with you, what would you do? Is that the question? No, what happens when the patient wants me to convert to their faith? It's a different issue entirely. When a patient shares her faith, I make an important mental note (and note on the patient's chart) about the patient's spirituality. That's a really useful thing to know about a patient. Helps you get a view of who she is as a person. I know that she turns to G-d as a healing force and that she believes that G-d will heal her. That helps me figure out a bunch of issues, like psychological counseling (she's more likely to accept a poor prognosis as part of G-d's plan, for example). It helps in ways I can't even express.

But the visit is about the patient, not about me, so if the patient is persistent in trying to convert me and I can't get the patient back on the topic of the visit, then I have to consider a manic episode or some other sort of psychosis. It is not appropriate to try to convert your doctor at a doctor's visit.

Otherwise, I'd just say "I'm Jewish, but I'll think about what you've said, OK?" and then move the conversation on. Most people should drop it there. If they persist in trying to convert me, it becomes a psychiatric issue.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:Ahhh... Okay, I understand a bit better now.

Well... it sounds to me like you answerd your own question, so that really leaves me with nothing to say thats a first ehh??


Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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Daiquet


member
Location: Oz

Total posts: 29
Posted:Lightning,

I deal with this one regularly as a teacher - even though i am an athiest i teach in a bible belt school and i regularly have kids and parents (And other teachers) try to convert me. And at times it can be quite forceful...

So it is a kind of similar situation...

I just tell them that my religious beliefs are exactly that - mine! And that since i respect their religious beliefs i expect the same in return. And i have explained to a student once that if he continued i would have him transfered to another class. (He kept going and going every lesson for 6 months - with that threat he stopped) At least with other teachers and parents i can just walk away... But the kidlets are kind of like your patients.

Any help???

Love Daiquet


whoops

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