Religious Restrictions and Pharmacological Therapies: What is the Role of Nursing?
Jennings, Kassandra Leigh
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Session presented on Thursday, September 25, 2014: Cultural sensitivity includes competency with culture, religion, and ethnic differences reflected in the care of patients. Health care providers must be knowledgeable to demonstrate religious sensitivity and accommodation rather than assimilation into the providers culture (Leonard, 2001). In a study of 100 physicians, it was found that 70% were unaware of religious restrictions concerning pharmacological treatments with religiously-forbidden ingredients prescribed for their patients. While about half of patients expected to be informed of this incompatibility by their physician, 35% expected the nurse to be knowledgeable about religious beliefs affecting patients choice of treatments (Sattar, et al., 2004). This descriptive study will examine the knowledge and practices of registered nurses providing pharmacological therapies to patients with restrictions based on their religious beliefs. A random sample of nurses employed in acute care medical-surgical units and emergency departments in large inner city hospital systems will be recruited to complete an anonymous questionnaire that will address routine care to their patients. Nursings knowledge of therapies included in biomedicine that have ingredients in the actual product as well as in the processing and manufacturing of specific pharmacological therapies (e.g., erythropoietin, gelatin used as food and capsule) will be assessed. The application of the knowledge and beliefs that affects daily individualized patient care will be studied. Nurses can be crucial players affecting change in patient care at the health care system level (Leonard, 2001). The culturally competent nurse will possess religious sensitivity by demonstrating awareness, respect, and knowledge of patients need to voice their cultural diversity (Leonard & Plotnikoff, 2000). Nurses need the knowledge of religious restrictions imposed on such ingredients in pharmacological therapies thus improving the satisfaction for providers and their patients (Walker, 1996). The findings of this study may be useful for nurses to affect system-wide changes in health care with educational programs, institutional policy developments, and technological advances for religious-based treatment alerts integrated into the electronic health records (Leonard, 2001).