Guest Post: Decolonizing the Language of Nursology

Contributor: Daniel Suárez-Baquero
Scroll down for Spanish language version of this post

ENGLISH

Nursing has been characterized by a colonial perspective in which the advancements and developments made in English are over those made in other languages. We forget as Dr. Ricardo Ayala states in his book Towards a Sociology of Nursing (2019): “Nursing is a social discipline.” Society frames the context of Nursing understanding and development. Moreover, Rodrigo, Cais, and Monforte-Royo (2017), in their article titled “The influence of Anglo-American theoretical models on the evolution of the nursing discipline in Spain,” highlight that those social implications of Nursing in Spain make almost impossible to transfer the conceptual development of nursing theories created and thought in English.

Original art by Daniel Daniel Suárez-Baquero and Nelson Martinez

As a Ph.D. candidate, I lived the experience of being judged as “being wrong” when I provide my assumptions about nursing, rather than receiving an open door for discussion. In Spanish, the discipline’s name is Enfermería from the Latin infirmus, with the Spanish suffix -eria (i.e., as a place in which ill people are treated). In contrast, the English word nursing comes from late Latin nutritia (referring to nourishing and nurture). The use of these words is also different by essence because Enfermería has uses only as a noun, and Nursing can be used as a noun, verb, and adjective.

The linguistic barriers between Romances and Anglo-Saxon languages make us see two different perspectives and words of Nursing. The major difference presented in both languages is mainly because of the absence of a verb to express the act of Nursing in Spanish (“Enfermeriar” [sloppy and nonexistent translation]), then nurse’s action was labeled as Cuidado. Cuidado is a word that encompasses the amalgamation of the act of nursing and the act of caring. The restriction of the world Enfermería as a noun makes Care/Caring (Cuidado) the essence of Nursing in Spanish. Therefore, authors such as Brito Brito, in his paper of 2016 “Cuidadología: Pensamientos sobre el nombre de nuestra disciplina,” proposes the name of the discipline as CUIDADOLOGÍA considering that the essence and the action of Enfemrería are Cuidado. Hence, the most logical way to name our discipline is Cuidadología (Careology) and not Nursology who limits it use only to English, recognizing that if it is true that not all nurses provide Caring, all the nurses care for others. Brito Brito (2016) states that Cuidadología means the science of Cuidado (Caring) and the science of knowledge.

It is important to highlight that “Spanish [nurses] did not differentiate between the concepts Care, Care for, and Caring, using these words with different nuances indistinctively and translating all equally into one‐word in Spanish, Cuidado” (Suárez-Baquero & Champion, 2020).

I provide an initial insight into this matter in the paper “Expanding the conceptualisation of the Art of Caring.” Further, I proposed the word NURSOLOGÍA in Spanish as a bridge between English and Spanish language in an in-press paper on ANS titled “Critical analysis of the nursing metaparadigm in Spanish-speaking countries: Is the nursing metaparadigm universal?” recognizing that the Latin root Nutritia represents also caring. “We propose to rather use the term Nursología as the Spanish equivalent for Nursology, as this term embraces the notion of nursing as the science of caring comprehensively.” (Suárez-Baquero & Walker). This proposal aims to build bridges between perspectives of Nursing instead of imposing and colonize minoritized nurses in the rest of the world as it used to happen in Nursing discipline.

I hope these thoughts provide a little more clarity about our discipline’s name and provide awareness about the importance of the linguistic congruency historically bypassed by English-speaking nurses. Moreover, I agree that this change can’t be made without the contributions of nurses globally in a multilingual framework.

Note: Portions of this post belong to the forthcoming article: Suárez-Baquero, D. F. M. & Walker, L. O. (in press for Volume 44:2). Critical analysis of the nursing metaparadigm in spanish-speaking countries: Is the nursing metaparadigm universal?. Advances in Nursing Science

SPANISH

La Enfermería ha sido caracterizada por una perspectiva colonial, en la que los adelantos y desarrollos hechos en inglés están por encima de aquellos hechos en otros idiomas. Nos olvidamos, como el Dr. Ricardo Ayala indica en su libro Towards a Sociology of Nursing (Hacia una sociología de la Enfermería) (2019) de que “La enfermería es una disciplina social”. Las sociedades enmarcan el entendimiento y desarrollo de la enfermería. Además, Rodrigo, Cais, and Monforte-Royo (2017), en su artículo titulado The influence of Anglo-American theoretical models on the evolution of the nursing discipline in Spain (La influencia de los modelos teóricos angloamericanos en la evolución de la disciplina enfermera en España) resaltan que las implicaciones sociales de la Enfermería en España hacen casi imposible transferir los desarrollos conceptuales de las teorías de Enfermería creadas y pensadas en inglés.

Original art by Daniel Daniel Suárez-Baquero and Nelson Martinez

Como candidato doctoral, he vivido la experiencia de ser juzgado como “errado” cuando comparto mis supuestos sobre la Enfermería en lugar de recibir una puerta abierta a la discusión. En español, el nombre de la disciplina es Enfermería, que proviene del latín infirmus, con el sufijo español -ería (es decir, un lugar en el que las personas enfermas son tratadas). En contraste, la palabra en inglés, Nursing, viene del latín tardío nutritia (referente a la alimentación y nutrición. Nurturing/Nurture se refiere al nutrir de forma física, moral, mental, espiritual, en todas las dimensiones del ser). El uso de estas palabras también es distinto en esencia porque Enfermería tiene usos únicamente como sustantivo,ñ mientras que Nursing puede ser usado como sustantivo, verbo y adjetivo.

Las barreras lingüísticas entre las lenguas romances y anglosajonas nos hacen ver dos perspectivas y mundos de Enfermería distintos. La mayor diferencia entre los dos idiomas es la ausencia de un verbo que exprese la acción de la Enfermería en español [“Enfermeriar” (traducción chapucera e inexistente)]; por esto, las acciones enfermeras fueron etiquetadas como Cuidado. Cuidado es una palabra que engloba la amalgama del acto de enfermería y el acto de cuidar con amor o cariño. La limitación de la palabra Enfermería como sustantivo hace del Cuidado (Care/Caring) la esencia de la Enfermería en español. Por lo tanto, autores como Brito Brito, en su artículo de 2016 “Cuidadología: Pensamientos sobre el nombre de nuestra disciplina”, propone el nombre de la disciplina como CUIDADOLOGÍA, considerando que la esencia y la acción de la enfermería es el Cuidado. En consecuencia, la forma más lógica de nombrar nuestra disciplina es Cuidadología (Careology) y no Nursology, que limita su uso sólo al inglés, reconociendo que si bien no todas las enfermeras y enfermeros proveen cuidado amoroso/cariñoso (Caring), todas las enfermeras y enfermeros asisten a otros con o sin el componente del Cuidado (sino la mera intervención enfermera). Brito Brito (2016) establece que Cuidadología significa la ciencia del Cuidado (Care/Caring) y la ciencia del conocimiento.

Es importante resaltar que “Las enfermeras que hablan español no diferencian entre los conceptos Care, Care for, y Caring, usando estas tres palabras con diferentes matices y significados indistintamente y traduciéndolas todas en una sola palabra en español, Cuidado” (Suárez-Baquero & Champion, 2020).

Aporto una primera visión de este asunto en el artículo Expanding the conceptualisation of the Art of Caring (Expandiendo la conceptualización del arte del Cuidar). Además, propongo la palabra NURSOLOGÍA en español como un Puente entre los idiomas inglés y español en un artículo en producción en ANS titulado Critical analysis of the nursing metaparadigm in Spanish-speaking countries: Is the nursing metaparadigm universal? (Análisis crítico del metaparadigma de Enfermería en países hispanos: ¿Es el metaparadigma de enfermería universal?, reconociendo que la raíz latina Nutritia representa también Cuidar. “Nosotros proponemos en vez el uso del término Nursología como el equivalente en español para Nursology, dado que este término abarca ampliamente la noción de la enfermería como la ciencia del cuidado” (Suárez-Baquero & Walker). Esta propuesta busca construir puentes entre las perspectivas de la Enfermería en vez de imponer y colonizar enfermeras y enfermeros minorizados en el resto del mundo, como suele suceder en la disciplina enfermera.

Espero que estos pensamientos provean un poco más de claridad acerca del nombre de nuestra disciplina, así como conciencia sobre la importancia de la congruencia lingüística históricamente obviada por las enfermeras angloparlantes. Además, concuerdo que este cambio no puede hacerse sin las contribuciones de las enfermeras y enfermeros del mundo en un marco multilingüístico.

REFERENCES/REFERENCIAS

References

Ayala, R. A. (2020). Towards a Sociology of Nursing. In Towards a Sociology of Nursing. Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8887-3

Brito Brito, P. R. (2017). Cuidadología: Pensamientos sobre el nombre de nuestra disciplina. Ene, 11(2).
Rodrigo, O., Caïs, J., & Monforte-Royo, C. (2017). The influence of Anglo-American theoretical models on the evolution of the nursing discipline in Spain. Nursing Inquiry, 24(3), e12175. https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12175

Suárez‐Baquero, D. F. M., & Champion, J. D. (2020). Expanding the conceptualisation of the Art of Caring. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12903

About Daniel Suárez-Baquero

Mr. Suárez Baquero received his BSN and MSN in Maternal/Perinatal Nursing Care from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He is currently completing a Nursing Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. His research and practice concern women/maternal/perinatal health, risk reduction for urban/rural ethnic minority women, and nursing theory.

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Decolonizing the Language of Nursology

  1. This is an example of the linguistic hegemony of monolingual speakers of English that pervades Western academia. I am continually amazed how faculty who are monolingual speakers of English, the least linguistically complex level 1 language in the world, feel such superiority to multi-lingual students who often speak 5-6 languages, many of them highly complex, level 3 languages. There is a significant, and growing, body of research evidence that shows that people who are bilingual or multi-lingual perform better on almost all measures of cognitive function than those who are monolingual.

    I am excited to read your upcoming article regarding the universality of the nursing meta-paradigm which is, itself, steeped in colonialism. Ethnocentrism is a problem that I grapple with as a nurse educator who is also educated in critical applied medical anthropology. As a white, American born woman, I have been taught that the white, English-speaking world is “normal” and the benchmark by which all other things are measured. Anything that diverges from that white, English-speaking center of the world is labeled “diverse”.

    We teach our nursing students that Western one-on-one ethics, with it’s focus on autonomy and self-determination, is universal when my education as an anthropologist has shown me this is not true. The same could be said for the African concept of Ubuntu which many of my African students bring to their nursing practices. That idea of collectivism does not exist in American culture, it is not universal.

    I am currently working with a doctoral student who is an Amhara speaker, a syllabary language ( it has no alphabet) that I have studied but can barely speak much less read or write, who is working with her community to develop a culturally and linguistically specific approach to the assessment of depression. One of the huge problems is that there is no word or concept for depression in that language. This is the case for many African languages. Other languages, such as Khmer, have words and concepts that line up very well with the DSM-5. The PHQ-9 has been translated into Amharic but that translation does not say what it says in English because there is no equivalent word or concept for the English word “depression”.

    On top of that, is the WEIRD problem- the fact that 95% of all subjects of psychological research come from white, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic countries. The majority of those subjects are white psychology students in US universities. We have extrapolated the psychological experiences of 16% of the world’s population ( the West) to that of the 84% of the world that is not Western. Mental health problems are universal, but how they are experienced is not universal and is yet another example of the Western ethnocentrism embedded in healthcare education, practice and research.

    You are engaging in really important work that needs to be highlighted if we have any hope of combatting the racism and ethnocentrism that permeates our work as American healthcare providers and leads to poor quality, inequitable care for those who diverge from the white, English-speaking “center” of the world.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Thank you for this interesting and informative post. Nursology can be a bit of a mouthful and it is not yet a term that is recognized by the majority of English speakers. Would ‘caring science’ be a descriptor which would cross the language barrier with more fidelity?

    We need nurse’s input from around the globe to optimize the output of nursing science. In literature, there are certain publishers who specialize in translation of the best books into English so that they may be enjoyed by a wider audience. Does the scientific community have anything similar? If not, perhaps something like this should be developed. I envision a foundation for translation, where researchers nominate the studies they feel are most significant for translation.

    While multilingualism is a desirable trait, much can be lost in translation when readers dwell in the fringes of fluency. Rather than asking all researchers to become multilingual (ensuring varying degrees of fluency), the scientific community may derive greater understanding by enabling those who are fully fluent to translate articles which are particularly significant for reading by the larger community. Those who are multilingual tend to speak several languages from their own region of the world. Allowing a default scientific language to exist with attention to translation may better facilitate communication between regions. This plan would enable researchers to write in the language in which they feel most comfortable expressing themselves, with the plan of future translation.

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  3. Love the image too…tell me more – how was it created? I didn’t realize you employ aesthetic knowing and aesthetic representation…do you have anything you can submit to the Journal of Art and Aesthetics in Nursing and Health Sciences? Are you familiar with the journal? It comes out of the College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic U.

    Savina

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you very much, Daniel, for your imporant and informative post. inasmuch as i and others on the nursology.net managemetn team have been searching for translations of nursology into other languages, I am especially gratful for your translation of nursology into the Spanish, nursologia. ,

    With regard to the metaparadigm of our discipline, many versions have been offered — see https://nursologycom.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/cwru-paper-fawcett-3-28-19.pdf — for a summary of diverse versions offered by English speaking, mostly white Euro-cenric nursologists. Your ideas about the content and focus of the metaparadigm would be most welcome.

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