I would like to get some input on how to handle this question at work. I always find good advice on this forum, and I really don't know what to do about this. I am a new grad and moved to a new city for my job. I'm working at an amazing facility, I love my job and all of the nurses I have met have been great. However, I've only been here a month and have already been asked by several different nurses "If I've found a church yet?" I have no idea how to respond to this question. First off, I find this question so offensive. It really has no place in the workplace. I'm supposed to be free from discrimination of religion at work, but to me this question is very hostile. There seems to be a pervasive attitude in our culture that as long as you have some sort of religion people are tolerant, but if you don't believe in any god, people see no reason to treat you like a human being. When I was little and people asked me my religion I would tell them "I'm Atheist," which is what my parents taught me to say. But I learned early on (by age 8 or so) that people were mean to me if I said that, so since then I have spent my life trying to dodge the question.
Part of me says, that nurses are caring and non-judgemental in nature, and I shouldn't worry so much. But, I've met so many nurses who constantly talk about god and religion stuff, that I would not be comfortable with them knowing my beliefs. I have picked up on the attitude from some nurses that you cannot be a good nurse without believing in god, and I would hate for their opinion of me to suffer because of this. However, I have found no good way of handling this issue.
The other day I was asked by a nurse on my unit if I'd found a church yet, and I stumbled and said "I don't really do church" trying to make light of it. I am always very careful of my tone of voice and I didn't say it offensively or even with any conviction, however her face went sort of blank and she didn't know what to say back to me. Meanwhile, another nurse whipped her head around to see who had just said that. They are both very nice people and good nurses, and now I'm completely uncomfortable around them.
Nursing is a second career for me, and I love it. I have worked extremely hard to get here, I love being able to take care of my patients and I want to learn as much as I can. I know I can't be successful without being a part of the nursing team on my unit, and I'm worried that this is going to cause me problems. It frustrates me that I don't feel like I can be honest about my beliefs without suffering prejudice, especially when the attitude is coming from other nurses. And I don't feel it's right to flat out lie, or even worse, go to a church a few times just so I can try to "fit in." But I don't want to go to work and feel uncomfortable around my co-workers. I don't know that there is any good solution to this, but at this point, anything that might help would be greatly appreciated.
***Please don't derail this thread with a discussion of religion, that is NOT what I am asking for. I realize this is a passionate topic for many people and it's why I'm asking this here and not to people at work. So, please keep this thread on point. Thanks