I especially enjoyed September's Insights on Death and Dying column by Joy Ufema, and appreciate the wisdom she shares regarding the discussion of religious faith as an end-of-life issue ("Religious Beliefs: Are You Saved?"). I agree that as nurses we must not let our own spiritual needs get in the way of our ability to provide care. But I disagree with the advice that all discussion of religion should be relegated to clergy. By working with seriously ill patients, I've learned that many people near the end of life are estranged from formal religion and may be reluctant to accept the services of clergy. It's the nurse's responsibility to inquire into the patient's own perceived "readiness" for death within the patient's own belief system or religion. The nurse can try to form a bridge between the patient and his own faith community.
TERRILYNN FOX QUILLEN, RN, BS
I think you were too rough on the nurse who asked her dying patient if she was "saved." My faith doesn't deal with "being saved," but I know a lot of people whose faith does. I think the nurse was extending her faith to the patient to try to increase the patient's comfort. I understand what you say about leaving your religious beliefs at home, but your faith stays with you, wherever you go.
MARILYN P. BROWN, LPN