Modern Healthcare’s article on diversity, “Making room for faith” (July 29, p. 18), is a timely primer that should be included in all healthcare facility staff orientations and annual update training.
Healthcare facility staff also need to beware of those sudden-notice “gotcha” situations such as those that have confronted me when teaching American Red Cross training classes after-hours. Evening and weekend classes are usually when most facility management and personnel staff have already gone home and are not easily reachable for policy consultations.
Muslim students might ask you for compass-point directions, then for a carpeted floor where they can orient themselves toward Mecca, where they can practice one of their five-times-a-day Islamic prayers during class break times. Side rooms or break rooms are usually close to the training classrooms and often can provide the needed space for individuals to kneel on carpeted floors.
Muslim students also might ask you about the availability of stimulant-free refreshments whenever vending machines or eateries are not on site or nearby. There’s always the one beverage acceptable worldwide that does not offend any faith: water. It’s almost always readily available from hallway water fountains in a given facility.
Healthcare facility managers need to realize how easy it is to provide zero-cost “reasonable accommodations.”
Donald White Director of safety and security Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute