Celebrating 30 years! The Society of Rogerian Scholars

On October 5-7, the Society of Rogerian Scholars had its 30th Anniversary conference

Dorothy Larkin

at New York University hosted by Dean Eileen Sullivan Marx with sponsorship from the University of Connecticut. And what an energizing conference it was!  Arlene Farren and the conference planners mapped out an amazing program. Dorothy Larkin opened the conference discussing ideas around holistic nursing and unitary caring science. She also led a panel discussion on the work of New York’s College of New Rochelle School of Nursing and how they infuse of Unitary Science in the Bachelor of Nursing Program.  Friday evening, we were fortunate to be the guests of Dr. Marx at a beautiful reception

John Phillips

overlooking the East River.

On Saturday, keynote speaker John Phillips discussed unitariology and nursology, providing us each with a deeper understanding of what it means to be unitary

transcendent beings on our journey as nurses. There were so many wonderful talks in the ensuing sessions. A panel discussion on power theories from Drs. Elizabeth Barrett, Peggy Chinn and E. Carol Polifroni moderated by Dr. Amy Moore with commentary from Dr. Jacqui Fawcett illuminated the idea of power as freedom and the unique role of nurses as “being the light twinkling in the darkness of health care”.

Standing L-R Jacqueline Fawcett, Carol Polifroni, Peggy Chinn. Seated Amy Kenefick Moore, Elizabeth Barrett

We heard from three new Rogerian Scholars, all students who presented their work in

Mary Antonelli

an interactive poster session to a packed room. Dr. Mary Antonelli, the 2017 Martha E, Rogers Scholars’ Fund recipient, presented her profound work on older adult couples living with chronic illness.  We all recognized the uniqueness of this nursing theory guided study, the results of which will inform caregiving in new ways.  We tearfully listened and with fond memories reminisced and as Anna Biley, Fran’s described her most personal journey of grief and healing through a Caring Science lens. What a gift she was to us.

In other sessions, the attendees agreed they do

Dorothy Jones

not want to hear the phrase “I am just a nurse.”  This sentiment was affirmed in Dr. Dorothy Jones’s work on the professional practice scale that illuminated the sacred space nurses share with their patients.  Closing speaker Howard Butcher provided a stunningly beautiful visual interpretation of unitary science through the lens of Cape Cod beaches. A fun silent auction once again this year raised over $1,000 to support future Rogerian Scholars.

Next year we will be joining other nursing theory groups in Washington D.C. on November 14-15, 2019 at the KING Conference.  See the listing of

Howard Butcher

conferences  on our “Future Events”  main menu, and the “Abstracts Due” section of the sidebar to submit an abstract for several of these conferences. At the KING conference next year,  each theory group will be allotted time for an annual business meeting. I hope to see you all there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nursing theory groups: why join, my story

I serve as the president of the Society of Rogerian Scholars (SRS). I was encouraged years ago to attend the annual conference by my now colleague, but former mentor, Dottie Jones. My timing was not great for my first conference – it was the one following the death of Martha Rogers. In some ways, I felt like I was a spy at a wake, and in reality, I was. Being Irish, for whom wakes are a sport, I am comfortable in this sort of setting so being an outsider did not deter me. I watched as members who had not seen each other in months or perhaps years, hug one another, cry and laugh as they shared memories of Martha. People seemed intrigued by my being there, yet only welcomed my presence. I knew from stories I had heard before the conference that Martha was special. It was a gift to bear witness to the event and see how she influenced so many.

Once the conference kicked off and I heard the papers being presented, I was hooked. Where had these nurses been all my life? I listened to the research, practice and education presentations that focused on Martha Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings (SUHB) and knew I was home – well not exactly because NYU was not my home – but home in the sense of connecting with nurses with whom I could relate. With apologies to James Joyce – Yes! A person is so much more than their disease! Yes! We need new ways of knowing, discovery and measuring outcomes beyond the empirical sciences! Yes! There is room for art, music, literature, mystery, science fiction and spirituality in nursing!

I came back from the conference knowing I would return annually. I am now a nurse educator and when I integrate my thinking about SUHB into the classroom, it resonates with my students as it had with me. I also practice as a NP in a psychiatric facility and I find that incorporating what John Phillips calls wellbecoming into my practice changes the focus from trying to fix the problem to one that maximizes personal resolve and opportunities for self-care. My research on older persons with chronic conditions is framed by SUHB and infused with Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness and Barrett’s Knowing Participation in Change. I see the difference nurses make when they practice from a nursing theory guided perspective.

I cannot imagine ever not being a member of SRS.  Being part of such a welcoming group of colleagues provides me with the energy, language and thinking to test out my ideas and bring them back to my academic and practice settings. It gives me the permission to be the nurse I choose to be. If you like a nursing theory or just wonder what a nursing theory group is all about, I encourage you to join one.  It might be one of the best things you do for your career and for yourself.