UK Hospital Reinstates Nurse Suspended for Prayer

Recognizes Importance of «Spiritual Belief»

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LONDON, FEB. 9, 2009 ( The Christian nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient was notified that she may return to work.

Caroline Petrie was contacted Thursday by the North Somerset Primary Care Trust with the news that she could resume her hospital responsibilities within days.

The 45-year-old nurse had asked an elderly patient if she would like her to pray with her. The patient in question, May Phippen, 79, said she did not feel offended, but rather commented in passing to another nurse that she found the offer strange, and that it could be offensive for other patients.

As a result, Petrie had a disciplinary hearing for «failing to show a commitment to equality and diversity.»

The hospital reported her reinstatement Thursday night, affirming that they are «keenly aware of the importance of an individual’s spiritual belief.»

It stated: «We recognize that Caroline felt that she was acting in the best interests of her patients. For some people of faith, prayer is seen as an integral part of health care and the healing process.»

«It is acceptable,» the statement continued, «to offer spiritual support as part of care when the patient asks for it.»

The hospital expressed support for «Caroline and other staff who have a faith» to continue to «offer high quality care for patients while remaining committed to their beliefs.»

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