Uncertainty in Life and in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Uncertainty is, in many ways, a human condition—each of us most likely feel uncertain about something at least some time in our life. However, the current covid-19 pandemic has brought forth a time of what is great uncertainty for many people worldwide. What, though, is the meaning of uncertainty and the outcome of feeling uncertain?

Merle Mishel’s Theory of Uncertainty in Illness tells us that uncertainty is “the inability to determine the meaning of illness-related events” (Mishel as cited in Clayton Dean, & MIshel, 2018, p. 49). More generally, uncertainty is defined as “The state of not being definitely known or perfectly clear; doubtfulness or vagueness. . . . the quality of being indeterminate as to magnitude or value” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1921/1989).

Mishel’s theory also tells us that uncertainty may be regarded as a danger or an opportunity. What are dangers associated with uncertainty during the covid-19 pandemic? Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, have been cited as a danger—Chinn wrote of the “Hidden Risks of Physical Distancing and Social Isolation” during the current pandemic. Foli wrote about the psychological trauma experienced by nurses caring for people with covid-19.

What are opportunities associated with uncertainty during the covid-19 pandemic? Media attention to the inequities of health care based on race is an opportunity to highlight what nursologists have known at least since the time of Florence Nightingale. The nursology.net management team has crafted a statement in support of the elimination of health care inequities that is visible in the sidebar of this website. The statement reads in part, “We are dedicated to building praxis in nursing that reflects the tradition of nursing’s dedication to social justice, that addresses injustice, and that welcomes dialogue and action focused on creating needed change within nursing and healthcare.” All nursologists have an opportunity, on which we must now capitalize, to be at the forefront of developing and applying knowledge to overcome finally widely recognized racial-based health care inequities. We must grasp the opportunity given to nursologists by the media and wider society to be recognized as competent and compassionate carers of people critically ill with covid-19. By doing so, we will actualize #neverforget, which Balakrishnan (2020) used to refer to climate change but is perfect for nursology especially at this time.

 Michsel’s Revised Theory of Uncertainty in Illness  tells us that the outcome of feeling uncertain is a new life perspective. What is a preferred new live perspective? Are nursologists and all citizens of our planet willing to a new value system to guide the way we live and interact with others?

Although Mishel’s theories are about uncertainty in illness, many other facets of life involve uncertainty. For example: Will my car start today? Will public transportation be on time? Will the meal I ordered or cooked myself be delicious? Will my family member or friend like the gift I purchased for her or him? Will my partner always love me? Extended to knowledge development, we know that  inferential statistics used to test theoretical hypotheses do not produce results that are “facts” or “laws,” but instead are numbers that represent a certain level of probability – we are, for example,  95% (p = 0.05) or 99% (p = 0.01) certain about some result but %5 or 1% uncertain about the result. Thus, much of what we know empirically is under conditions of uncertainly.

Clearly, if we are to live comfortably with uncertainty, we need to be comfortable with learning that which is not yet certain (if it can ever be certain!). Within the context of theory development, we can learn from rejection of our hypotheses. Indeed, Popper (1963) maintained that rejection of hypotheses is desirable as the next hypothesis will be better–we will have a better theory.  Glanz (2002) added, “There is as much to learn from failure as there is to learn from success” (p. 546).  Knowing “what is not” advances theory development by eliminating a false line of reasoning before much time and effort are invested. Thus, wanting to be certain may be a trap that leads to arrogance or a barrier to accepting at least a certain extent of uncertainty. Paraphrasing Barry (1997), who wrote about truth in science, we can indicate that one can reach certainty “no more than one can reach infinity” (p. 90).   

References

Barry, J. M. (1997). Rising tide: The great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America. New York, NY: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster.

Balakrishnan, K. (2020, May 28). Aggressive containment, extensive contact tracing. Panel presentation as part of the Coronovirus Seminar: Global perspectives. Boston University School of Public Health webinar/ Retrieved from https://www.bu.edu/sph/news-events/signature-programs/deans-seminars/coronavirus-seminar-series/covid-19-global-perspectives/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DLE%20-%20DSS%20-%20COVID%20-%20Global%20-%2023&utm_content=DLE%20-%20DSS%20-%20COVID%20-%20Global%20-%2023+CID_d2cf1e251bb8e6c937a202dfa97b651b&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Join%20us%20online

Clayton, M. F., Dean, M,, & MIshel, M (2018), Theories of uncertainty. In M. J. Smith & P. R. Liehr (Eds.). Middle range theory for nursing (4th ed., pp. 49-81). New York, NY: Springer.

Glanz, K. (2002). Perspectives on using theory. In K. Glanz, B. K. Rimer, & F. M. Lewis (Eds.), Health behavior and health education: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed., pp. 545-558). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Oxford English Dictionary. (1921/1989). Definition of uncertainty. Retrieved from https://www-oed-com.ezproxy.lib.umb.edu/view/Entry/210212?redirectedFrom=uncertainty#eid

Popper, K. R. (1965). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

The Value of Primary Prevention

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the primacy of primary prevention to maintain wellbecoming. The governmental recommendations or requirements for quarantines or sheltering in place during the pandemic are targeted to primary prevention.

However, few people worldwide unfortunately think primary prevention. Instead, far too many global citizens avoid vaccinations or screening tests and wait until they are obviously ill to seek care. Furthermore, governments rarely fund primary prevention efforts until such massive disruption as a major epidemic or pandemic occurs, as we have learned from media reports of no funds to prepare at least possibly effective vaccines and screening tests ahead of outbreaks of novel viruses. According to a recent report on public radio, proposals for studies of the effectiveness of quarantines have not been funded for many years, although the current pandemic may loosen the governmental purse strings.

As always, nursology has an answer to how to emphasize primary prevention. Specifically, Florence Nightingale successfully advocated for a clean environment (clean air, clean water, etc.) as a way to maintain wellness.

Nightingale’s ideas have been translated into contemporary nursology, especially in the Neuman Systems Model. This nursology conceptual model includes primary prevention as intervention as one of three intervention modalities (the others are secondary prevention as intervention and tertiary prevention as intervention (see neumansystemsmodel.org). Although other conceptual models do not explicitly focus on primary prevention, the intention certainly is to promote wellness.

© 2018 Jacqueline Fawcett

My understanding of our history tells me that nursologists have always had the moral courage to advocate for and implement primary prevention while at the same time providing superb secondary and tertiary prevention for all people worldwide.

Poremba (2019), who has studied the 1918-1919 pandemic, pointed out that then and now, nurses are best positioned to care for people. She declared, “If there is anything positive to come from the coronavirus, it may be that we recognize the essential value of skilled nurses. This means expanding our nursing workforce and advancing their training in caring for patients with acute and infectious diseases in hospitals and homes.” Although her focus is on secondary and tertiary prevention, we can expand her message to include the essential value of nursologists in providing primary prevention.

Reference

Poremba, B. A. (2019, March 15). Column: Nurses needed now. Gloucester [Massachusetts] Daily Times. Retrieved from https://www.gloucestertimes.com/opinion/column-nurses-needed-now/article_d1553519-f489-55c9-a1f9-4fe7d0820312.html

What is Reflected in a Label about Health? Non-Nursology and Nursology Perspectives

Posted the first week of March, which is designated as
National Words Matter Week

A long time ago, I read an editorial in a journal decrying the labels for women’s reproductive health issues. The point was that labels such as incompetent cervical os are pejorative words. At about the same time, I began to think about what we mean when we say that a person (called a patient or a client) does not comply with or adhere to a treatment plan. It seems to me that these words reflect the physician’s or the nursologlist’s prescriptions for the patient, which in turn, reflect the physician’s or the nursologist’s power over and control of the patient.

Indeed, Hess (1996) pointed to “connotations of paternalism, coercion, and acquiescence” (p. 19), and Bissonnette (2008) and Garner (2015) noted the power imbalance and loss of patient autonomy inherent in referring to a patient as non-compliant or non-adherent. I doubt that few if any nursologists would knowingly sanction paternalism, coercion, acquiescence, power imbalances, and loss of patient autonomy. Yet we continue to label patients as compliant or adherent if they do whatever they were supposed to do and as non-compliant or non-adherent if they do not do whatever they were supposed to do.

The issue, of course, is to identify a label that can be used to accurately reflect what happens between a person who is a patient and a person who is a healthcare worker as they interact in matters of health without an overlay of paternalism, coercion, acquiescence, power imbalance, or loss of autonomy.

Most, if not all, nursology conceptual models and theories include consideration of the person’s perspective of the health-related situation and may include a process that addresses how the situation is viewed and resolved. For example, the practice methodology associated with Neuman’s Systems Model includes the perspectives of both the person and the healthcare worker throughout the entire process of diagnosis, goals, and outcomes. The practice methodology associated with King’s Conceptual System is even more explicit, with mutual goal setting, exploration of means to achieve goals, and agreement on means to achieve goal. However, the practice methodologies associated with these nursology conceptual models and theories do not include a label for what happens if the patient does or does not do what had been agreed upon.

I have not yet identified a satisfactory label for what actually happens. However, I suspect that turning to nursology theories of power may provide at least the beginning of an appropriate label. For example, Barrett’s theory of power as knowing participation in change sensitizes us to the distinction between power-as-control and power-as-freedom. Barrett maintained that power-as-freedom involves awareness of what is happening, knowingly participating in choices to be made about what is happening, having the freedom to act intentionally, and being fully involved in creating changes in whatever is happening. Perhaps, then, the label could be knowing participation.

Another example is Chinn’s peace as power theory, which sensitizes us to the distinction between peace-power and power-over. The process of peace as power encompasses cooperation and inclusion of all points of view in making decisions. Accordingly, healthcare decisions are based on thoughtful choices as the person and the healthcare worker work together to promote wellness and growth. Perhaps, then, the label could be thoughtful cooperative choices.

What other label might be even more accurate? How can nursologists actualize our moral goal to do “good for the one for whom the [nursologist]” cares”? (Hess, 1996, p. 19). What label should we use to clearly reflect our ethical knowing? Hess’ (1996) discussion of ethical narrative suggests that cocreated narrative may be the accurate term. She explained, “ethical narrative is crafted by the client and [nursologist] to express the good they are seeking” and that ethical narrative is achieved “through engagement” (p. 20).

Labels, which are words, matter for many, many reasons. Labels may reflect paternalism, coercion, acquiescence, power imbalances, and loss of patient autonomy. Labels also may reflect racism and privilege and other words that perpetuate colonialism (McGibbon, Mulaudzi, Didham, Barton, & Sochan, 2014). We must, therefore, identify and consistently use labels that are consistent with ethical knowing in nursology, with clear understanding of “their meanings and the underlying philosophies or perspectives that they connote” (Lowe, 2018, p. 1).

This blog is adapted from Fawcett, J. (in press). Thoughts about meanings of compliance, adherence, and concordance. Nursing Science Quarterly.

References

Bissonnette, J. M. (2008). Adherence: A concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63, 634-643. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04745.x

Gardner, C. L. (2015). Adherence: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Knowledge, 26, 96-101. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/2047-3095.12046

Hess, J. D. (1996). The ethics of compliance: A dialectic. Advances in Nursing Science, 19(1), 18-27.

Lowe, N. K. (2018). Words matter. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 47, 1-2.  Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2017.11.007

McGibbon, E., Mulaudzi, P. M., Didham, P., Barton, S., & Sochan, A. (2014). Toward decolonizing nursing: The colonization of nursing and strategies for increasing the counter-narrative. Nursing Inquiry, 21. 179-191. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nin.12042 (See also https://nursology.net/2020/01/14/decolonizing-nursing/)

Transitions in Leadership Positions: Is There a Best Time?

As we know, leaders transition to and from their positions within educational and clinical institutions. Meleis’ transitions theory, which focuses on “the human experiences, the responses, [and] the consequences of transitions on the well-being of people” (Meleis, as cited in Fawcett, 2017, p. 347) tells us that transitions may be anticipated, experienced in the here and now, or have been completed. Transitions may be development, situational, organizational, cultural, or well-illness; each type may occur singularly or with one or more others. (See https://nursology.net/nurse-theorists-and-their-work/transitions-framework-transitions-theory/)

Transitioning to or from a leadership position is a situational transition, which could be combined with a cultural transition as the nursologist moves to or from a new academic or clinical institution or even another country. The situational transition could be combined with a developmental transition as the nursologist enters another lifespan developmental phase. Furthermore, the situational transition could be combined with an organizational transition as an academic institution undergoes a major shift in priorities or a clinical agency merges with another clinical agency.

Alternatively, the transition of a nursologist to or from a leadership position could create an organizational transition as all affected people and structures adjust to the change. Finally, the situational transition, especially transitions from a leadership position, could be combined with a wellness-illness transition if the nursologist experiences a sudden acute illness or can no longer effectively manage a chronic disease.

One question about leadership transitions is: How does a nursologist transition to becoming an effective leader? Another question is: Is there an optimal time for a nursologist to transition to or from a leadership position?

© 2020 Jacqueline Fawcett

HOW DOES A NURSOLOGIST TRANSITION TO BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE LEADER?

Transitioning to becoming an effective leader obviously first requires a desire to be a leader, although at times, a nursologist may find self gently (or not so gently!) pushed into a leadership position by colleagues or senior administrators or by a vacuum left by someone who transitioned from the position suddenly.

Transitioning to becoming an effective leader also requires certain competencies. The American Organization of Nurse Executives (now the American Organization for Nursing Leadership) identified five competencies for effective leadership in practice and education (Waxman, Roussel, Herrin-Griffith, & D’Alfonso, 2017).  Although the competencies focus on those for executive level leadership positions, they are relevant for all levels of leadership. The five competencies are listed here. The specifics of the competencies are available in the Waxman et al. (2017) journal article or at https://www.aonl.org/resources/nurse-leader-competencies:

  1. Communication and relationship-building
  2. Knowledge of the healthcare or academic environment
  3. Leadership
  4. Professionalism
  5. Business skills and principles

The nursologist may already have acquired these competencies or has to acquire them by enrolling in a formal program and/or finding a mentor or leadership coach. Formal programs for nursologists are offered by Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The programs are:

Sigma Theta Tau International
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Organization for Nursing Leadership (formerly, American Organization of Nurse Executives)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Mentors and leadership coaches may be included within formal programs or the nursologist may have to approach recognized leaders and ask that they share their wisdom about leadership.

IS THERE AN OPTIMAL TIME FOR A NURSOLOGIST TO TRANSITION TO OR FROM A LEADERSHIP POSITION?

Aspiring or actual leaders may ask: Am I too young or too old to transition to or from a leadership position? Inasmuch as many institutions do not have mandatory age requirements for employees, wisdom is an important element of the transition decision. Although, as Larson (2019) pointed out, wisdom may come with older age, my experience indicates that younger persons also may be wise. Wisdom at any age requires nursologists to use “mindfulness, empathy, and self-reflection to learn from their mistakes, failures, and successes over the years” (Larson, 2019, pp. 789-790). Thus, those people who aspire to be leaders or already are leaders may want to heed Larson’s words and engage in serious self-assessment to determine whether they are ready to transition to or from a leadership position. In addition, aspiring or actual leaders may want to assess their leadership competencies, which can be done using a self-assessment instrument that is available at https://www.aonl.org/resources/online-assessments.

Fang and Mainous (2019) examined factors related to short term deanship, which they regarded as problematic. (A short tenure leadership position is one that ends sooner than the specific term of the position, such as 3 years or 5 or 6 years.) Their study of data from the 2016 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Annual Survey revealed that certain personal and organizational characteristics are associated with short tenure chief nursing academic administrator positions, including the titles of dean, chair, director, or department head. The characteristics are: age (60 or older) at beginning of the leadership position, having a title other than dean, being a dean who subsequently takes another deanship, being a first time dean, being a dean in a school without a tenure system, and being a dean of an associate degree program or a baccalaureate degree program.

As I read Fang and Mainous’s (2019) article, I wondered whether short tenure leadership positions are always problematic. Could it be that the position is not consistent with what the person hopes and dreams it will be? Could it be that the person’s leadership style is not conducive to inspiring a faculty or clinical staff to attain personal, professional, and/or organizational goals? Perhaps, then, transitioning from a short tenure leadership position may be a positive event for the nursologist leader and for the faculty or clinical staff. Perhaps everyone breathes “a sigh of relief” that the leader has transitioned from the position (Larson, 2019, p. 789).

Another situational transition, which may be combined with a developmental transition and which affects almost everyone, is retirement. Those nursologists who are contemplating retirement most likely were or still are leaders in the institutions where they work, even if they are not “official” leaders, such as deans, directors, or chairs. Larson (2019) discussed her decision to retire from her faculty position. She regards retirement as “the next transition in my career development” (p. 789). At age 76, Larson (2019) noted, she “made the scary and difficult decision to retire in less than a year . . . [and] not wait until people breathed a sigh of relief that I was finally gone” (p. 789).

Meleis (2016) wrote about her situational transition of anticipating, experiencing, and completing stepping up from a deanship. She explained that stepping up “connotes climbing to a higher place in our lives, taking with us what we learned in the previous [step]” (p. 187). Meleis identified and described five phases in the transition to and from a deanship. I will presume to be so bold as to generalize Meleis’ (2016) description of the deanship transition to all leaders, add a sixth phase (expressing an initial professional voice), and adapt the phases to both transitioning to and from a leadership position. The six phases are:

  1. Expressing an initial professional voice
  2. Deciding to transition to or from a leadership position
  3. Searching for the leadership position
  4. Being named to the position
  5. Exiting from the position by stepping up
  6. Reclaiming a professional voice

© 2020 Jacqueline Fawcett

I applaud those nursologists who are willing to transition to a leadership position and congratulate those who have transitioned from a leadership position. I send best wishes to all for much happiness, wellbecoming, and exciting and stimulating next ventures in stepping up.

References

Fang, D., & Mainous, R. (2019). Individual and institutional characteristics associated with short tenures of deanships in academic nursing. Nursing Outlook, 67, 578–585. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2019.03.002

Fawcett, J. (2017). Applying conceptual models of nursing: Quality improvement, research, and practice. New York, NY: Springer.

Larson E. L. (2019). Musings on retirement. Nursing Outlook, 67, 789-790. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2019.04.008

Meleis, A. I. (2016). The undeaning transition: Toward becoming a former dean. Nursing Outlook, 64(2), 186–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2015.11.013

Waxman, K., Roussel, L., Herrin-Griffith, D., & D’Alfonso, J. (2017). The AONE nurse executive competencies: 12 years later. Nurse Leader, 15, 120–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2016.11.012

Another First for Nursology!

The Roy Academia Nursology Research Center (RANRC, see http://www.ranrc.com/) recently published the first issue of the Nursology Letter (see http://www.ranrc.com/nursology-letter/). This is the first known publication from a research center to use the word, nursology, in its title! The RANRC is a unit of the School of Nursing at St. Mary’s College in Kurume, Japan –see http://www.st-mary.ac.jp/

The Nursology Letter is another first for our discipline. Specifically, the Nursology Letter is another answer to our Who Will be the First? blog on May 21, 2019. The first “answer” to the question was publicized on our June 11, 2019 blog post announcing the establishment of the Roy Academic Nursology Research Center. The founding of the Nursology Letter is a wonderful and very significant means of communication from the St. Mary’s College RANRC. Indeed, the Nursology Letter is the perfect way to share the very important research done by the faculty and students at St. Mary’s College.

The Nursology Letter, Volume 1, 2019, includes a statement of the concept guiding the RANRC; an introduction to the inaugural issue of the Nursology Letter by Tsuyako Hidaka, RANRC Director, who also noted that the Roy Adaptation Model has been used to guide education and practice at St. Mary’s College for 30 years. The first issue of the Nursology Letter also includes greetings and message of congratulations from Nobu Ide, Chancellor of St. Mary’s Education Foundation; Callista Roy, for whom the RANRC is named; Jacqueline Fawcett, a visiting professor at St. Mary’s College School of Nursing; Debra Hanna, President of the Roy Adaptation Association-International; and Leah Fitzgerald, Dean of Mount St. Mary’s University School of Nursing in Los Angeles, CA.

In addition, the Nursology Letter includes messages about the research interests of the RANRC members, including Eric Fortin, Masako Momoi, Mayumi Sakita, Akemi Tsuruta, Michiru Asano, Satsuki Obama, Sachiko Ishimoto, Akina Ide, Chidori Hashiguchi, Ikuko Miyabayashi, and Miyuki Ichinose.

Congratulations to everyone who has made this notable publication possible!  We of the nursology.net leadership team,  are delighted to also let the entire nursology.net universe know about this remarkable achievement!

Margaret Ruth McCorkle 1940-2019

Guardian of the Discipline

Published in The New Haven Register on Aug. 19, 2019 Retrieved from https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nhregister/obituary.aspx?pid=193674212

Ruth McCorkle was born in Johnson City, TN. Peggy Chinn (personal communication, October 12, 2019) reminded me that Martha E. Rogers also was born in Johnson City, TN.  Ruth earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in medical-surgical nursing from the University of Iowa, and a PhD degree in mass communication, also from the University of Iowa. Ruth was a distinguished faculty member in the Schools of Nursing at the University of Washington, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. Prior to her retirement, Ruth was Director of Psychosocial Oncology at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center. At the time of her death, she was the Florence Schorske Wald Professor Emerita of Nursing (this endowed chair, of which Ruth was the inaugural holder, was given by Rick Levin (R. Wittenmore, personal communication, October 15, 2019)) and Professor Emerita of Medicine and Public Health at Yale University. Ruth earned master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Iowa. Robin Wittemore (personal communication, October 15, 2019), a colleague of Ruth’s at Yale School of Nursing, added that Ruth was “recruited to Yale to be the director of the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) program . . . [and] [s]he directed the Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care.

Ruth served in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, caring for Vietnam War wounded and dying military personnel, which greatly influenced her commitment to caring for acutely ill persons, with a special focus on psychosocial experiences of persons living with and dying from cancer. Subsequently, she studied at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London and later cofounded the Hospice of Seattle and the Northwest Regional Oncology Society.

Ruth “was a pioneer and an international leader in cancer nursing, education, and cancer control research conducting landmark research on the psychosocial ramifications of cancer” (Villarruel, 2019). Her research included development and psychometric testing of the widely used Symptom Distress Scale (SDS) and the Enforced Social Dependency Scale. Mark Lazenby (personal communication, October 6, 2019), a faculty colleague of Ruth’s at Yale School of Nursing, added that the the SDS was the first scale that not only assessed whether a patient experienced a symptom but also measured the distress the patient associated with the symptom.

Ruth served as the Principal Investigator for seven clinical trials, four cancer research education projects (R25s) and, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, as the Program Director for a T32 Pre- and Post-Doctoral Training grant. I had the honor of serving as Co-Program Director of the T32 for several years, which enabled me to observe the intensity and effectiveness of Ruth’s superb mentorship of the next generation of nursologist scholars.

Ruth’s work was published in many healthcare journals, books, and book chapters. She was a generous author, providing many opportunities for co-authorship of journal articles and authorship of chapters in books she edited for her students and faculty colleagues.

Ruth championed a curriculum for Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist practice, with an emphasis on theory-guided evidence-based practice. While at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Ruth insisted on retaining a master’s degree program course focused on nursology conceptual models and theories at a time when almost all other advance practice nursing programs at the school and across the nation eliminated that course as a required part of their respective curricula.

Ruth was a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). Among her many other honors are her 1990 election to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), being named in 1993 as Nurse Scientist of the Year by the Council of Nurse Researchers, receiving the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yale Cancer Center, and being named a 2018 Living Legend by the AAN. Ruth also received “the Bernard Fox Award from the International Psycho-Oncology Society and the Jimmie C. Holland Award from the APOS, both societies’ highest awards for contributions to the field . . . [and] she was named to the [International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2014 by] Sigma Theta Tau International” (R. Wittemore, personal communication, October 15, 2019).

“In addition to her extraordinary scientific contributions to health care in the field of cancer care, [Ruth] was also well-known for humanizing the face of cancer care. For those of us who knew her here at [the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing], we also remember well her fun-loving spirit as she was at the forefront of special events and activities – donning costumes at Halloween, decorating her office, and being first in line to sign up for the Penn Nursing softball team.” (Villarruel, 2019). In addition, “Ruth bought yellow daffodils [every March] for every member of the staff [and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing] and personally delivered them as part of [an American Cancer Society] fundraiser (Franco, 2019). Robin Wittemore (personal communication, October 15, 2019) added that Ruth “brought her fun-loving spirit to [Yale School of Nursing,] encouraging a yearly Halloween costume event.”

References

Portions of this blog were adapted from Ruth McCorkle’s obituary, published in The New Haven Register on Aug. 19, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nhregister/obituary.aspx?pid=193674212

Additional information was adapted from “Honoring Dr. Ruth McCorkle: Nurse pioneer in hospice, palliative care, and oncology.” Retrieved from https://nursing.yale.edu/news/honoring-dr-ruth-mccorkle-nurse-pioneer-hospice-palliative-care-and-oncology

Franco, A. M. (2019, August 19). Email message. University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Villarruel, A. M. (2019, August 19). Email message from the Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

What is Real Nursing and Who are Real Nurses? Perspectives from Japan

Thank you to the graduate students and faculty
from St. Mary’s College, Kurume, Japan, who

contributed to this blog!

Hayes (2018) published a thought-provoking article, “Is OR Nursing Real Nursing,” in the September 2018 issue of the Massachusetts Report on Nursing. Her article was the catalyst for my invitation to students enrolled in the Fall 2018 University of Massachusetts Boston PhD Nursing Program course, NURS 750, Contemporary Nursing Knowledge, to join me in sharing our perspectives about “real nursing.” The result was published in the October 2019 issue of Nursing Science Quarterly (Fawcett et al., 2019).

Photo of the Misericordia Bell, The bell, which hangs In the tower of the St. Mary’s College Library, is a symbol of Misericordia et Caritus, which is the founding philosophy of St Mary’s College. Retrieved from http://st-mary-ac.sblo.jp/

This blog has provided an opportunity for six graduate students and three faculty members at St. Mary’s College Graduate School of Nursing, in Kurume, Japan to share their perspectives about “real nursing.” My invitation to them was given as part of a January 2019 video conference lecture I gave in my position as a visiting professor at St. Mary’s College. I am grateful to Eric Fortin, a St. Mary’s College School of Nursing faculty member, for his translation of the students’ and faculty’s contributions from Japanese to English.  Noteworthy is that St. Mary’s College School of Nursing is the first to include nursology as part of the name for their research center–the Roy Academia Nursology Research Center

Graduate Students’ Perspectives

Junko Fukuya: Throughout my nursing career, I have always used a nursing conceptual model to guide care of hospitalized patients from admission to discharge. I would like to become a better nursologist, a “real nurse,” who allows nursing knowledge to permeate my mind and impresses its importance on other nurses.

Akemi Kumashiro: Nursing is practiced in many settings, including clinical agencies and local communities, with people who are well and those who are ill. Real nursing occurs when the nurse continually gains the knowledge and experience required to help people to adapt to a new life style when changes in environment occur.

Takako Shoji: Patients are persons who are important to and loved by someone. By recognizing patients as people with life experiences and families, I do not merely provide knowledge and technology, instead, as a real nurse, I work to establish a relationship with each patient that respects the values he or she has formed through life experiences.

Chizuko Takeishi: The real nurse endeavors to meet the universal needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities of all ages. Real nursing is directed to helping people to make decisions directed toward maintenance and promotion of wellness, prevention of illness, recovery from illness, relief from pain, maintenance of dignity, and promotion of happiness.

Tomomi Yamashita: As a real nurse, I know that patients are waiting for me and support me in establishing mutual and warm relationships. Real nursing involves actions, thoughts, and words that affect patients’ lives. It is a process of talking with patients about their perceived needs and anticipating those needs they have not yet identified.

Yuko Yonezawa: Real nursing involves seeing human beings as holistic beings consisting of body, mind, and spirit, who are deserving of respect and compassion from the very first moment of their existence to the end. Real nursing also involves knowledgeably helping people to help themselves to live their lives how they want.

Faculty Members’ Perspectives

Tsuyako Hidaka, Ikuko Miyabayashi, and Satsuki Obama: As a real nurse, the nursologist interacts with patients while providing daily care and obtains a lot of quantitative and qualitative data as he or she builds therapeutic relationships with patients. These data are the basis for what may be considered “invisible mixed methods nursing research” (Fawcett, 2015). Real nursing is a very noble profession in which real nurses learn “Life and Love” from patients as human beings and can thus grow as human beings themselves.

Jacqueline Fawcett: My position is that all nursologists (that is, all nurses) are real nurses who are engaged in real nursing. However, various perspective of what real nursing is (or is not) exist, as Hayes (2018) had indicated.

I am grateful to the graduate students and faculty at St. Mary’s College Graduate School of Nursing for sharing their perspectives about “real nursing” with the readers of this blog. I now invite students and faculty worldwide to send their perspectives about “real nursing” to me (jacqueline.fawcett@umb.edu) for inclusion in future nursology.net blogs. As we gather worldwide perspectives, we will be able to identify and describe what Leininger (2006) called universalities and diversities in who we are, what we do, and why and how we do what we do.

References

Fawcett, J. (2015). Invisible nursing research: Thoughts about mixed methods research and nursing practice. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28, 167-168.

Fawcett, J., Derboghossian, G., Flike, K., Gómez, E., Han, H.P., Kalandjian, N., Pletcher, J. E., & Tapayan, S. (2019). Thoughts about real nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly, 32, 331-332.

Hayes, C. (2018). Is OR nursing real nursing? Massachusetts Report on Nursing, September, 11.

Leininger, M. M. (2006). Culture care diversity and universality theory and evolution of the ethnonursing method. In M. M. Leininger & M. R. McFarland, Culture care diversity and universality: A worldwide nursing theory (2nd ed., pp. 1-41). Boston: Jones and Bartlett.

Dolores (Dee) Krieger (1921-2019)

Guardian of the Discipline

Dolores (Dee) Krieger, RN, PhD, was a professor emeritus in what was the Division of Nursing at New York University (NYU) in New York City, when she retired.

Dee was born in Paterson, New Jersey, not far from New York City. She earned a diploma in nursing at the Westchester School of Nursing at Grasslands Hospital in Westchester, NY, and baccalaureate, master’s and PhD degrees in nursing at NYU. She was residing near Columbia Falls, Montana, at the time of her death.

Dee taught at NYU for many years, where “she developed innovative curricula. Her graduate course, Frontiers in Nursing, became a model for many other groundbreaking classes in the field of healing” (Therapeutic Touch International Association [TTIA], 2019).

Dee clearly lived the life of a Guardian of the Discipline, especially with her commitment to advancing the innovative non-invasive modality of Therapeutic Touch (TT). Indeed, Dee is best known for her co-founding, with Dora Van Gelder Kunz, of TT, which she taught and gave workshops in at NYU for many years. “In 2010, [Dee] extended the concept of Therapeutic Touch to include the idea of Therapeutic Touch Dialogues which [were designed to explore] in depth the future consciousness of the TT process, research and theory. . . . In 1979, [Dee] established Nurse Healers Professional Associates (NHPA) which eventually became known as Therapeutic Touch International Association” (TTIA, 2019).

Dee “traveled internationally as a teacher and speaker and her many books have been translated into at least nine languages. Thousands of people spread around the world have learned to practice and teach Therapeutic Touch . . . to bring this compassionate work to those in need. Her work is carried on by a cadre of professionals who will extend Therapeutic Touch into the future both theoretically and in everyday healing interactions” (TTIA, 2019). Barrett (2003) pointed out that Dee had taught TT to “48,000 professionals and numerous laypersons.” Barrett (2003) added, “Aside from Florence Nightingale, probably more people recognize the name Dolores Krieger than that of any other nurse throughout history. Her first book on TT is in its 37th printing, and she has written 4 more books on TT.

Dee received many awards for her teaching and TT work, including a Distinguished Alumni Award from NYU (1982) “and the Alice and Elmer Green Award for Excellence from the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine in 1997” (TTIA, 2019). Another award, for holistic healing, was bestowed in 2003 by the Open Center. On that occasion, Barrett (2003) commented  that Dee’s “pioneering work in [TT] has had a profound impact on the practice of healthcare worldwide. Through her lectures, workshops, and writing over the past [2.5] decades, she has helped to bring holistic healing into the mainstream.” The Open Center award is especially noteworthy, as it was “the first award [given] to a nurse and [the Open Center’s] first award in holistic healing” (Barrett, 2003).

However, being an innovator rarely is without challenges from the mainstream. Indeed, as Barrett (2003) indicated, Dee had “withstood political slings and arrows with courageous perseverance. She recently reminded me that she simply responds to misinformation, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding about [TT] with that powerful ally the truth.”

Despite the challenges, Dee’s work has had a substantial impact on healthcare in general and nursology in particular. That impact is evident in the results of a recent search of the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), which revealed the vast reach of Dee’s work (see Table).


References

Barrett, E. A. M. (2003, April 6). Introduction of Dolores Krieger on the occasion of receipt of an award for holistic healing from the Open Center. (Personal communication to J. Fawcett, August 3, 2019.)

Therapeutic Touch International Association. (2019). Dr. Dolores “Dee” Krieger: Obituary. Retrieved from http://therapeutictouch.org/

The Environment, Climate Change, and the #Climate Strike: A Nursology Perspective

with contributions by Peggy Chinn
Also see Adeline Falk-Rafael’s “addendum” to this post below

The nursology.net management team agreed to participate in the September 20, 2019 #Climate Strike – Nursology.net went to a  green screen acknowledging the importance of this public action for the entire day on September 20th. By doing so, we joined people “[i]n over 150 countries . . , to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.” (from Global Climate Strike)

Climate can be defined as “characteristic weather conditions of a country or region; the prevalent pattern of weather in a region throughout the year, in respect of variation of temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, etc., esp. as these affect human, animal, or plant life” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1889/2008)

The lack of sufficient attention to widely documented climate change by so many people, is, of course, the impetus for #Climate Strike. Climate change is defined as “an alteration in the regional or global climate; esp. the change in global climate patterns increasingly apparent from the mid to late 20th cent. onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels .”(Oxford English Dictionary, 1889/2008).

The nursology.net management team’s concern with climate reflects our heritage of Florence Nightingale’s emphasis on environment and the effects of environment on human beings’ health status. Climate is, of course, a major aspect of environment, although climate is rarely mentioned in nurse theorists’ discussions of environment. An exception is found in the content of Orem’s self-care framework. Orem (2001) referred to two dimensions of what she labeled environmental features–physical, chemical, and biological features; and socioeconomic cultural features. Physical and chemical features include what typically is thought of as at least part of the climate—the atmosphere of the earth, gaseous composition of air, solid and gaseous pollutants, smoke, [and] weather conditions (Orem, 2001). Another exception is found in the content of a new conceptual model—the Conceptual Model of Nursology for Enhancing Equity and Quality—Population Health and Health Policy (Fawcett, in press). Following a suggestion from a PhD nursology student at the University of Massachusetts 2018 Five Campus PhD Forum, climate was explicitly included in this conceptual model in the definition of the physical environment.

Two recent nursing scholars have given primary focus on the environment in their work; their work provides important foundations for nursing action. Patricia Butterfield’s Upstream Model for Population Health (BUMP Health) provides a framework for addressing general issues related to health and the environment at a population level (Butterfield, 2017).  Dorothy Kleffel has been a thought-leader in nursing for more than 2 decades pointing the way toward a nursing focus on the environment and its effect on health (Kleffel, 1996).

A recent search of the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL Complete), using the search terms, climate AND nursing, yielded 1,875 publications. However, a search using the terms, climate change AND nursing, yielded only 186 publications Two particularly informative publications are scoping reviews of the literature (Hosking & Campbell-Lendrum, 2012; Lilienfeld, Nicholas, Breakey, & Corless, 2018). Another informative publication is a call for action (Travers, Schenk, Rosa, & Nicholas, 2019).

Contemporary interest in environment and climate change has been prompted by two global initiatives–the 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) Member States World Health Assembly resolution (Hosking & Campbell-Lendrum, 2012) and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (Lilienfeld et al., 2018). The WHO resolution supports progress on studies of the effects of climate change on human health, including health vulnerability, health protection and its costs, the impact of migration and adaptation policies, and decision-support and other tools. Other health effects of climate change include an increase in communicable and noncommunicable diseases, weather-related injuries, mental health disorders, and effects of nutritional deficiencies on growth and development (Lilienfeld et al., 2018).

Hosking and Campbell-Lendrum’s (2012) scoping review of literature published between 2008 and June 2010 yielded 40 relevant papers. Of concern is that none of the papers were reports of studies of effective interventions, which clearly was a major gap in our literature of that time. Lilienfeld et al.’s (2018) scoping review placed climate change with the context of nursology. They identified and categorized 48 papers in their search of literature from 1996 to 2018, only a few of which were research reports. The categories are;

  • Background of climate change
  • Health consequences
  • Nursing knowledge and attitudes
  • Reference to UN Millennium Development Goals and/or the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Migration and/or adaptation strategies
  • Urgency
  • Plan
  • Climate justice

Once again, a major gap is research, especially the design and testing of interventions.

Travers, Schenk, Rosa, and Nicholas’ (2019) call for action by nurses may be the catalyst needed to advance nursology’s contribution to filling the gap in the literature. They underscored the findings of previous literature reviews revealing the effects of climate change on the environment and, consequently, on human health. Their call for action, which encompasses research, education, advocacy, and practice, exhorts nurse “to step up and see themselves as part of the solution to climate change” (Travers et al., 2019, p. 11).

There is, however, little evidence that nurses have begun to step up, to move beyond “talk about what needs to be done” (Travers et al., 2019, p. 11). As reported in The Washington Post (Tan, 2019), nurses are continuing to talk about climate change. An encouraging development is nurses’ willingness to join climate-oriented organizations as they increase their awareness of and even experiences of recent natural disasters, including hurricanes, wild fires, floods, and tornados (Tan, 2019).

The global action of the #Climate Strike, including worldwide demonstrations led by teenagers on Friday, September 20, 2019, and planned future Friday demonstrations certainly is encouraging. Perhaps these demonstrations will be a catalyst to actions by nursology students, faculty, and practitioners to conduct the research needed to identify effective interventions to mitigate the deleterious effects of climate change on human health. Perhaps, too, these demonstrations will move the UN and federal governments worldwide to fund that research.

Nursology is founded on a holistic conceptual orientation that points the way to recognizing the role of environment on human health, and toward nursing action to respond to this global crisis. It is time for nursologists and nursing as a discipline to step up to the challenge and provide a leading voice for healing the planet, for healing those who are harmed by the climate crisis, and join the many others who are demanding social and political action now to turn this crisis around.

Addendum by Adeline Falk-Rafael: Watson’s early publications of her philosophy and science of caring also explicitly identified the provision for “supportive protective and(or) corrective” environments, including specifically the physical environment as a carative factor. Although her language has changed, I believe the intent has not. That aspect of her theory was one key which led me to develop the mid-range theory of Critical Caring, based on her and Nightingale’s work (although my thinking has also been influenced by Butterfield’s and Kleffel’s work). Note: Adeline  (who is on our management team) was hiking in the Alps when we prepared this post!  Thank you Adeline for adding this important information to this post!)

References

Butterfield, P. G. (2017). Thinking Upstream: A 25-Year Retrospective and Conceptual Model Aimed at Reducing Health Inequities. Advances in Nursing Science, 40, 2–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ANS.0000000000000161

Fawcett, J. (in press). The conceptual model of nursology for enhancing equity and quality: Population health and health policy. In M. Moss & J. Phillips (Eds.), Health equity and nursing: Achieving equity through population health & public policy. New York, NY: Springer.

Hosking, J. & Campbell-Lendrum, D. (2012). How well does climate change and human health research match the demands of policymakers? A scoping review. Environmental Health Perspectives, 8, 1076-1082.

Kleffel, D. (1996). Environmental Paradigms: Moving Toward an Ecocentric Perspective. Advances in Nursing Science, 18, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1097/00012272-199606000-00004

Lilienfeld, E., Nicholas, P. K., Breakey, S., & Corless, I. B. (2018). Addressing climate change through a nursing lens within the framework of the United Nations sustainable development goals. Nursing Outlook, 66, 482-494.

Orem, D. E. (2001). Nursing: Concepts of practice (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Oxford English Dictionary (1889/2008). Definitions of climate and climate change.

Tan, R. (2019, September 20). Why nurses, America’s most trusted professionals, are demanding “climate justice.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/why-nurses-americas-most-trusted-profession-are-speaking-out-against-climate-change/2019/09/19/1c5314d8-dae2-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html

Travers, J. L., Schenk, E. C., Rosa, W. E., & Nicholas, P. K. (2019). Climate change, climate justice, and a call for action. Nursing Economic$, 37, 9–12.

How to Teach Nursology: A New Resource on Nursology.net

The nursology.net management team is very pleased to announce a new resource for educators of nursology – Teaching/Learning Strategies. This resource is devoted to explanations of diverse approaches to teaching nursology. The first approach focuses on one way to teach the APPLICATION of nursology conceptual models and theories for practice. This teaching strategy involves teams of students role playing nursologists working within the context of various nursology conceptual models and theories that are applied to a fictional multi-generational, multi-cultural family. (See https://nursology.net/resources/teaching-the-application-of-conceptual-models-and-theories-of-nursology/) Comments about this teaching strategy are welcome.

I am confident that the creativity of all nursologists who each in academic and/or clinical settings will be evident as other approaches to teaching nursology are added to this section of nursology.net. Therefore, the management team invites all educators to use the content guidelines and forms found on the “Teaching/Learning Strategies” page to submit explanations of effective teaching strategies.

I would like to thank Deborah Lindell, a new member of our management team, for her exceptionally fine work developing the content guidelines.