Most physicians, nurses comfortable praying with patients, poll finds

Most physicians, nurses and medical students said they were very or somewhat comfortable with the idea of praying with or for patients, according to poll data collected by Medscape.

The poll included 428 physicians, 2,385 nurses/advanced practice nurses and 67 medical students.

Five poll findings:

1. Nurses/advanced practice nurses were the most open to the idea of praying with or for patients, with 88 percent saying they were comfortable or very comfortable with it. Physicians and medical students followed at 77 percent and 73 percent, respectively.

2. Medical students and physicians were significantly more likely to say they were very uncomfortable with praying with or for patients (9 percent for both groups versus 3 percent for nurses/advanced practice nurses).

3. Eighty-seven percent of nurse/APRNs answered "always or frequently" when asked how often they accept patient requests to pray with them, but only 69 percent of physicians and 75 percent of medical students answered that way.

4. Only 12 percent of physicians and medical students said patients ask "always" or "frequently" that providers join them in prayer.

5. Most providers (99 percent of nurses/APRNs, 85 percent of physicians and 81 percent of medical students) get prayer requests from Christians. Far fewer get requests from patients of other religions, the poll found.

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