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Jehovah's witness nurse and blood transfusion

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hi.

As you are probably aware, Jehovah's witnesses do not give or take blood transfusions. What if a nurse was a Jehovah's Witness. Would he/she be able to decline to give or take blood transfusions to patients due to religious convictions? If Jehovah does not approve of intake of blood, would it be ethical for a nurse to give blood (or take) from others? Would it be right to do to others what you would not do to yourself?

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((Grabs popcorn)) this will be a good one :D

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If you do a search you will find many, many informative threads on this very subject. If this is homework tell us what you think first.

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Some of your questions are not really nursing issues: they are a matter for the nurse to deal with in conjunction with her faith. She (you) should be discussing issues related to her participation the question of these activities with her religious advisors/leaders.

If a nurse's convictions about blood products are so strong that she can't support/help a patient who is giving/receiving blood ... then she probably wouldn't want to work in a setting where that sort of activity is common.

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Ok I'll play along (even if this is homework and most likely belongs under the spirituality heading) - This question is no different that the fundamentalist Christian who refuses to care for a homosexual with HIV, or a Lesbian couple with a new baby in LDRP setting. What if you are a Druid and can't take care of a Christian. A Seventh Day Adventist or Jewish and can't work on the Sabbath, or again a Christian and chose not to care for someone with complications from an abortion the list goes on and on. People of all faiths get sick all the time and need to be cared for. If you strongly feel that your faith commands you to not render care to certain individuals then you need to make that clear when you are interviewing for the job. I have had to put my convictions on some matters aside to care for patients whose values and views I did not agree with. If you can't do this maybe nursing is not the best career choice.

Peace and Namaste

Hppy

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My organization's Ethics committee has actually addressed this. During employment interviews, managers are supposed to go over all the 'stuff' that is required by their patient population - most of them have a document that lists everything. It includes various clinical interventions, work hours, shifts, etc. They ask "is there anything on this list that you would be unable to do?"

This raises the issue without delving into "forbidden" territory of religious beliefs. If any issues are addressed, it is up to the manager's discretion to decide whether or not to hire the individual that cannot administer blood, work on Saturdays, wear Level IV isolation garb, etc. If blood administration is a frequent event, managers are highly unlikely to hire an individual who can't/won't do it. They just have to be consistent & apply the same criteria to every applicant in order to avoid any charges of discrimination / adverse selection.

This process works for us.

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hi.

As you are probably aware, Jehovah's witnesses do not give or take blood transfusions. What if a nurse was a Jehovah's Witness. Would he/she be able to decline to give or take blood transfusions to patients due to religious convictions? If Jehovah does not approve of intake of blood, would it be ethical for a nurse to give blood (or take) from others? Would it be right to do to others what you would not do to yourself?

Very often as nurses we do things to others (with THEIR permission) that we would not do/want done to ourselves. I personally would NOT have any one do CPR on me under certain circumstances. However, my patients often chose to have every available procedure done to pull them from deaths door.

I care for patients who are candidates to be organ donors if they should die but they chose not to do that. I would not want to let my organs go to waste.

On a daily basis, I give pain medications and other meds that would put an elephant into a stupor yet my patient demand those meds (and have orders for them). I personally would not want to be taking those pain meds like tick tacs.

I have patients who refuse a much needed amputation of a toe(s) or foot in order to save their life. I would not want to refuse that amputation and allow my foot to rot off and poison my body which leads to my death.

Can you see where this is going. Very often as nurses, what we would want or not want for ourselves for religious or other reasons is not always what our patient want or don't want. I don't pick and chose which patient I care for based on whether or not their acceptance or refusal of certain things does not agree with what I would want for me.

As for Jehovah's Witness nurse..as far as I know, they refuse to have blood given to themselves. As for giving a transfusion as a nurse, I'd think this would be an issue that nurse should raise with their religious leader.

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Maybe it's homework, but it's also possible that this is a pre-nursing student or someone considering nursing who is concerned that personal religious convictions could prevent him or her from getting through school and employment. I'm going with that.

I have worked alongside JW nurses for years, really not a problem. If that nurse has a patient who is going to be getting a unit or two of PRBC, the nurse is completely capable of doing the pre-transfusion vitals, getting the blood from the blood bank, doing the safety checks with another nurse, hanging it (priming tubing and setting up pump) and monitoring the vitals during the transfusion. Can then stop the transfusion when it's done, finish post-assessments, etc. So what is it the JW nurse ISN'T doing? The actual connecting of the tubing to the patient's IV and turning on the pump. That's it. NOTHING else that is occurring with that patient is off-limits, at least as explained by the few JW nurses I've assisted with/covered for during these occasions.

Watching out for the safety of a patient prior to, during, and after a transfusing isn't "giving it to them" according to them (and me, for that matter). Not a big deal in my experience.

And whenever it happened, I also had those same nurses very happy to check up on a patient of mine, or do a dressing change, or give a med or two in exchange for my time in setting up, etc.

Maybe there are different interpretations on what is "giving" a transfusion, but this is what I've experienced in the last ten years, with colleagues of mine.

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Maybe it's homework, but it's also possible that this is a pre-nursing student or someone considering nursing who is concerned that personal religious convictions could prevent him or her from getting through school and employment. I'm going with that.

I don't know. I'm beginning to think KCDawn just changed her username.

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This is a question the Jehovah's Witness religion has specifically addressed and no, Witnesses are not forbidden by religious beliefs from administering blood transfusions to non-JW patients according to the Watchtower. It's one thing to refuse someone care based on religious views, but there's even less of a valid argument to be made for refusing care based on requiring the patient to follow your religious views rather than being allowed to practice their own.

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The OP just signed up and posted a question about religion and ethics that sounds like it came from a textbook.

Obviously this is a student assigned to obtain nurses points of view or she is looking for nurses to write her paper.

It's dishonest and misleading to do this when there is a nursing student assistance forum.

Edited by icuRNmaggie

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