It’s nothing new to see a business manage the internet traffic that comes and goes, but it is somewhat unusual to see a business filtering email traffic that relates to issues of religious faith. What I’m hearing this evening is that Prince William Hospital is not only censoring internal emails between nursing professionals who express religious convictions, but they’re actually blocking external IP addresses when the content of the emails contains the word “Christ.” Granted, all of this information is anecdotal, but based on the information I’m getting from Prince William Hospital employees, it sure does look like there’s a war brewing between Christian employees and hospital management that doesn’t seem to tolerate Christianity.
This all seems to be a result of widespread dissatisfaction within the hospital staff that some of the new policies being adopted by the hospital’s new owner Novant directly contradict the religious beliefs of some employees. The diversity-focused corporate Human Resources policies of Novant we’ve seen so far appear to be positively Marxist, and as an institution that deals with the very personal decisions of area residents, these policies have distinct impacts that affect the quality of care that patients receive as well as the institutional environment patients will reside in during their stays. When health care professionals are directed, under penalty of termination, to act in ways that they strongly disagree with not only because of their own beliefs, but because they fear negative impacts on the quality of care for the patients they treat, we’ve got a real problem.
While it’s well within the rights of any employer, hospitals included, to restrict email and other internet traffic in any way they see fit. It’s their stuff, and they can do what they want with it, even if those policies are hugely problematic. If Prince William Hospital wants to prostelytize for golden bulls and urge patients to bow down to various graven images, or absolutely prevent any mention of religious faith whatsoever they’re within their rights to do so. The downside of this quite obviously is that a number of their patients aren’t leaving through the front doors, and there’s a very real reason why faith and the expression of it plays a significant part in a healthcare environment. It’s virtually impossible to cordon faith off from a hospital environment, and trying to do so almost certainly has measurable negative impacts on patient outcomes that would even be convincing to persons entirely lacking faith.
So it’s a rather chilling thing to see the word “Christ” trigger email filters and external IP address blocks, if that’s happening as I have been told, and the anecdotal evidence to support that it is happening is pretty strong. Are discussions among hospital staff, and with non-employees regarding faith being supressed? What is to happen when a nurse seeks guidance from their Pastor about how to deal with a terminally ill patient and is having a difficult time with that? Or what happens when the significant changes being rapidly imposed by Novant cause health care professionals to ask the authoritative spiritual leader within their faith questions about how to deal with the changes? If the word “Christ” is mentioned instead of “Mohammed”, do their queries end up going to /dev/null instead of their pastor, priest or reverend?
That appears to be the case now.
I hope the new management at Prince William Hospital thinks long and hard about the impacts that an ostensibly anti-Christian policy would have on employee recruitment and retention as well as the impacts this might have on the care of patients in their facility. Prince William Hospital doesn’t have to become a religious institution or actively promote religious beliefs, but potentially being hostile to them would be a terribly ill-advised decision, to say the least.
That doesn’t fit the community, and it doesn’t work in a health care institution.
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