Monday, 2 February 2009

Caroline Petrie story

Well I was sitting down ready to listen to the football on Sunday afternoon when the phone rang … I was catapulted into the Caroline Petrie story, which has featured in practically every newspaper and news bulletin today. Sadly, my confidence in newspaper reporting has not been increased as I couldn’t recognize my own words within the speech marks attributed to me. However, blogging at least does you a chance to say what you do mean.

For those totally confused, Caroline is a member of our church in Milton, Weston-Super-Mare. For more details I suggest this one - BBC seem to have the gist:

Basically, Caroline has been suspended for offering to pray for a patient whilst working as a community nurse. On this occasion, the patient declined the offer and there, Caroline unsuspectingly thought, the matter was left. However, she now finds herself suspended under ‘equality and diversity regulations.’ My humble opinion on this? – Nonsense – it’s more a case of discrimination against people of faith. I was asked a question by the BBC about what this says about where the country is headed with our PC regulations. Thankfully, they didn’t broadcast that bit, but the issue seems to me to be what this says about where we already are.

If anyone offered a spoken prayer without someone’s permission it might be regarded as insensitive and inappropriate – fair game, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

What we’re actually talking about is an attempt to separate people into physical and spiritual beings rather than whole people. I don’t pretend to know a great deal about nursing, but I’ve known enough over the years to know that this is a common practice and part of a fine caring tradition which goes back to Florence Nightingale at least! What is more, nearly every Health Authority in the country has realised people have needs beyond the physical and that their physical remedies have limitations by the appointment of Chaplains – as do our Armed Forces, the Police, Prisons and the Queen!

I also realise Caroline is also merely putting into practice what I preach on many Sunday’s – don’t separate faith and work, take your faith with you, pray for opportunities etc. I hope the health authority in question sees sense and re-instates Caroline without prejudice as soon as possible – otherwise we’re headed for far more confrontations of this kind.


Bob said...

Nigel - praying for you, and for Caroline in this situation. Appreciate the wisdom in your words here.

Jay Williams said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Please express to Caroline my outrage at her treatment and strongest support for her. I am, by the way, agnostic. Now, if she had been denying medication and offering prayer instead, I could see why there might be a case against her; but nothing in what I've read suggests that is what happened. While I don't share Caroline's religious views, she sounds to me like a fundamentally kind person -- who should be welcomed within the so-called "caring profession" -- Ken in Sutton

Anonymous said...

As a Christian Nurse myself this story has shocked me! Many a time have I also used my discernment and offered a patient prayer so that could just as easily have been me. Spirituality is actually one of the holistic areas of patient care that we are actually ASKED to address after all. In there area where I work we actually have a nurse who's also a fully trained minister!

I will be praying for Caroline and hope she can return to her work very soon.

Angela said...

Some of the ladies at our afternoon fellowship today asked if I knew about this case - and I was pleased to tell them about what you had said on your blog. We were able to pray for Caroline, and for all of you at Milton.
We trust she will be back at work soon.