Registered Nurses' Work With Christian Believers

Topics: Nursing

In the clinical setting Registered Nurses or RN’s are forced to interact with a multitude of age groups, genders, beliefs, religions, and cultures. According to Spector (2017), “Now, more than ever, providers must become informed about and sensitive to the culturally diverse subjective meanings of health/HEALTH, illness/ILLNESS, and curing/HEALING practices” (Spector, 2017, p. 4). In Northern Nevada there is a vast variety of cultures that a RN may encounter on any given day. For example, one religion that might be encountered would be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS.

Introduction and Traditional Health Beliefs

The LDS have three core beliefs that they follow wholeheartedly and without a doubt, that the RN will have to look for and respect. Those being, “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.

Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times” (“Mormonism 101: What is Mormonism?”, 2018).

When it comes to health-related beliefs, the LDS believe that the Word of Wisdom, recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, to be the law of health (“Word of Wisdom and Physical Health”,2018). The Words of Wisdom go into detail about specific drinks, drugs, and health practices that go against what they believe or will help improve personal health. This is important for the RN to know when caring for the LDS patient so that any dietary restrictions can be addressed in the care plan as well as restrictions listed in the discharge plan.

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When it comes to managing personal health one of the ways that the middle-aged LDS females do this is to “practice good personal hygiene, drinking only clean water, cleansing and sanitizing laundry and living areas, minimizing close contact with infected persons, implementing good dental care, following cough and sneeze protocols, and wearing appropriate protective gear” (“Managing Personal Health”, 2018).

The LDS do believe in using immunizations as a way to fight off germs that cannot be avoided, as well as making good overall lifestyle choices. Such as making sure their diet consists of good nutritious foods, exercise is happening on a regular basis, sleep and rest is sufficient, and stress and anxiety is being managed effectively (“Managing Personal Health”, 2018). LDS follow a “health code” in which they avoid alcoholic drinks, smoking and chewing tobacco, and “hot drinks” such as tea and coffee. They also eat meat sparingly (“Health Practices”, 2018). Having a good diet that is equal with healthy exercise is especially important during the middle adult stage of life due to the effect on one’s body a slowed down metabolism can have.

Patients are admitted to the hospital for a variety of reasons, and in the case the RN is caring for a patient of middle age who has received an unexpectedly bad diagnosis, it’s important to respect their beliefs about death. LDS believe that when a person dies, their spirit lives on though the physical body died. They believe that the spirit goes on to a place after death, then the spirit and body are reunited through resurrection when it is time to present to God for judgement (“What Happens When You Die?”, 2018). This is important when interacting and consoling the patient’s family, especially with children. “All nurses are responsible for being aware and sensitive to their patients’ spiritual needs as a dimension of holistic health care” (Spiritual Care: The Nurse’s Role, n.d.).

Erikson’s Stages of Development

RN’s today use several theories to gauge a person’s developmental stage. One of the most commonly used theories is Erik Erikson’s Developmental Theory. There is a total of eight stages concerning his theory, these stages serve as milestones that help measure each person’s developmental status. His belief is that “as people grow, they face a series of psychosocial crises that shape their personality” (Yoost, 2016, p. 237). He explains how each stage has a positive and negative aspect to it that a person will face throughout development and growth. Mastery of each stage will allow the person to progress to the next stage, while failure will hinder the individual’s progress in other stages (Yoost, 2016, p. 237).

In the first stage of Erikson’s, Trust versus Mistrust, the focal point is infancy. In this stage, it is important for the parents to provide the basic needs of the infant. Infants that are able to have their needs met during this stage will develop trust towards their parents, while infants that lack these needs will develop mistrust (Yoost, 2016, p. 237).

The second stage of Erikson’s Developmental Stages is called Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt. During this stage, toddlers are trying to become more independent. It is important that parents must be able to provide firm but reasonable choices to their toddlers i.e. letting a child choose what clothes to wear. If parents can give this then the child will gain autonomy, but if a parent hovers too much over their child, or is too restrictive over them, then the child will develop shame and doubt over themselves (Yoost, 2016 p. 237).

Erikson’s third stage is directed towards the Preschool aged child. This stage is known as Initiative versus Guilt. If allowed to run, jump, and play, the child will successfully master this stage and develop Initiative. However, if the parents are too restrictive, they can hinder the child’s development by placing limitations on the child’s ability to play, allowing the child to develop lower self-esteem and guilt. (Yoost, 2016 p. 237).

Erikson’s fourth stage is called Industry versus Inferiority. School aged children gain industry by receiving praise from others, such as teachers and peers. A parent’s influence starts to diminish at this stage, and children that fail to become industrious will develop a sense of inferiority with themselves (Yoost, 2016 p. 238).

The Identity versus Role Confusion stage accompanies adolescence. Young adolescents are exploring what kind of person they want to become, and do so by experimenting with “different sexual, occupational, and educational roles” (Yoost, 2016 p. 238). Adolescents who succeed in this role emerge with a strong sense of identity, and those unsuccessful will become lost and confused.

Intimacy versus Isolation makes up Erikson’s sixth stage. Young adults in this stage are trying to form intimate relationships with other individuals. Those able to find a partner will develop intimacy, while those unable to successfully master this stage may feel lonely and isolated (Yoost, 2016, p. 238).

Middle adulthood accompanies Erikson’s seventh stage; Generativity versus Stagnation. Generativity can be achieved by successfully rearing one’s own children, or by involving themselves with their community. Motherhood is so important for the middle-aged LDS woman, that those who do not have children may face some prejudice from members of their church. Church-members will usually assume that the woman is infertile rather than believe that they purposely choose to not bear children (Harrison, 2016). One of their proclamations state that “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (The First Presidency and Council of the 12 Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, 1995). Which is why women prefer to stay at home to take care of children rather than work. Although, motherhood is important, it is not the only way that a woman can achieve generativity. Another way that an LDS woman can obtain generativity is by engaging in other activities that promote creativity and productivity. One way that the middle-aged adult LDS woman can achieve this is by volunteering at their local Relief Society. According to, the Relief Society’s main goals are to “Increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need” (The Purpose of Relief Society, 2010). On the other hand, those that are unsuccessful at achieving generativity will develop characteristics of self-absorption and self-indulgence, resulting in stagnation (Yoost, 2016, p. 238).

The eighth and final stage of Erikson’s is labeled Integrity versus Despair. Older adults review the good and the bad events in their life. Those that achieve a sense of fulfillment over their life and can accept death will form integrity. On the other hand, older adults that have too many regrets and are not able to accept death or past failures will have despair (Yoost, 2016, pgs. 238-239).

Comparison with the Traditional Majority

For this paper the region of Northern Nevada will be defined as the following counties: Elko, Eureka, Lander, Humboldt, Pershing, Churchill, Washoe, Storey, Lyon, Carson City, and Douglas. The traditional majority is defined as a group or given race of people that make up the predominant portion of society in a defined area. The traditional majority in Northern Nevada is White alone males, not Hispanic or Latino. The percentage of females in Northern Nevada falls under 50% of the population in all counties. Douglas County has the highest percentage of females at 49.8%, Washoe County at 49.7%, Churchill at 49.2%, Lyon County, Storey County, and Lander County are all at 49.0% in total, Carson City County at 48.5%, Elko County at 47.9%, Humboldt County at 47.7%, Eureka at 46.7%, and Pershing County has the lowest percent of females at 35.6%. The percentage for white alone, not Hispanic or Latino in the Northern Nevada area ranges from 62.8% in Washoe County and 84.2% in Storey County. Douglas County is at 80.4% white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, Eureka County is at 79.8%, Lyon County is 75.0%, Churchill at 72.9%, Lander County at 69.3%, Carson City County at 67.1%, Elko County at 66.5%, Pershing County at 65.4%, and Humboldt County at 64.9% white alone (“U.S. Census Bureau”, 2017). The major religion in Northern Nevada is Catholic. Six out of the eleven counties whose major religion is Catholic include Lyon County, Storey County, Eureka County, Washoe County, Pershing County, and Humboldt County. However, Elko is the only county in Northern Nevada whose major religion is that of the LDS. The number of adherents is 7,952 (“County Membership Report”,2010). Elko County is found on the eastern corner of Nevada bordering the state of Utah. The fact that the LDS is the major religion in Elko is not surprising because the county borders the state that founded the religion. (“State Membership Report”, 2010). The migration of the LDS to Nevada began in 1852 when seven members of The Church established a trading post in Genoa. Several other colonies established by the LDS prospered in Nevada from 1865 to the 1890s. “In the late 1920s, many Utahns moved to Nevada in search of better economic conditions” (“LDS Statistics and Church Fact’s”, 2018).

The traditional majority religion of Northern Nevada is that of the Catholic religion. “Roman Catholics are prohibited from having an abortion and must use only natural methods of birth control” (Spector, 2017, p. 104). This can pose difficulties for middle aged women that would like to use unnatural forms of birth control, or for those who get pregnant at an age that presents a greater risk of complicated pregnancies and may require an abortion. The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS oppose abortion except in the rare cases where through “competent medical counsel, [it is found that] the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered, or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother” (Lee, Tanner, & Romney, 2018). For LDS, the decision of using birth control rest on each married couple (“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, 2018). For a middle-aged LDS female that is still fertile and wishes to have no more children, the option to be able to use contraceptives is beneficial. It is also beneficial to females in this age group to be allowed to have abortions if needed since they are at higher risk for pregnancy complications.


LDS women in the Generativity versus Stagnation stage are beginning to hone in on their motherly duties by providing knowledgeable direction to younger generations and the community. When caring for a LDS patient, it is imperative that the RN have a background knowledge of their beliefs, so when care is provided it is customized in respect to the patient. Although the LDS religion is not considered the traditional majority of Northern Nevada, having an idea of the different beliefs that the LDS follow, the RN can help make being in the hospital a little less stressful for the patient. Being a RN means so much more than just providing standardized care to a patient. Due to the vast amount of diversity in today’s society the RN has to be aware of differences in age, culture, gender, and religion.

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Registered Nurses' Work With Christian Believers. (2022, Jan 19). Retrieved from

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