Nurse fights for right to wear crucifix


A British nurse was moved to a desk job after refusing to remove her crucifix necklace last fall — a move she contends was an act of religious discrimination.
Shirley Chaplin, a 54-year-old nurse, has worn the crucifix necklace without incidence throughout her 31-year nursing career.  Her employer asked her to remove the necklace in the fall of 2009 after a risk assessment showed it could be pulled by one of the confused elderly patients in Chaplin’s care.  Chaplin refused and was reassigned.

She’s currently telling her story to an employment tribunal.  Chaplin told the tribunal that she was “forced to choose between her job and her faith.”  Seven Anglican bishops have issued a letter of support on Chaplin’s behalf.

The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital, Chaplin’s employer, maintains that their request reflected hospital policy and was motivated by health and safety concerns.

What do you think? Do you wear religious jewelry to work? And should there be any jewelry restrictions for nurses?

Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN
Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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