We ARE the theory-practice connection; COVID-19 tells us so!

Guest Contributors*:
Andra Opalinski and Patricia Liehr

We are responding to Dr. Foli’s request in her blog titled “Say It Ain’t So:  Graduate Students Shade Nursing Theory!” where she stated…What about you?  If you have suggestions for me on how to strengthen the theory-to-primary care advanced practice connection in a master’s level course, please forward them…”

WE BEGIN WITH DEFINITIONS

Throwing Shade: (verb) subtly disrespecting or ridiculing someone or something.

Shade: (noun) a comparative darkness caused by shelter from direct light.

We ARE the theory-practice connection.

As nurse educators who appreciate the theory-practice connection, we had been pondering Foli’s post and then Constantinide’s follow-up about graduate students throwing shade at nursing theory. Not knowing the meaning, we took the “throwing shade” descriptor quite literally and thought how we often prefer to find shade on sunny Florida days!!!  In the midst of our extended pondering and thoughtful conversations came COVID-19; and a virtual class that we co-hosted with NP students to discuss the use of Story theory in practice; and THEN, we serendipitously came across a 2020 calendar page with a haiku by Tomihiro Hoshino entitled “In the Shade.” This haiku accompanies his calendar painting of a redbud tree with hanging red pods amidst green foliage:

In the shade of leaves,
They shyly sway,
Pods like strips of paper
With girlish wishes
Written on them

Moving along to a class with NP students.  

In this class, we were talking about Story theory and the practicality of using it when working with patients. Story Path, a way to pursue story-sharing was the specific lesson (Liehr & Smith, 2020). Clare, an ER nurse, volunteered to share a recent practice story with the class.

“I was caring for an elderly patient in the Emergency Room who had just tested positive for COVID-19. However, this day, the provider I was working with was resistant to putting the patient on a ventilator.” As Clare reflected  on the situation she shared, “I remember asking myself, is the provider just being lazy because the patient is elderly with a poor prognosis? However, I also knew, this doctor reads a lot of research. I still couldn’t help but question the decision. The patient did in fact improve without ventilator assistance,” giving Clare pause….thinking about the juxtaposition of knowledge with practice. As Clare’s recounting of the story concluded, Clare was asked to consider how her COVID-19 experiences may influence the future. The rawness of her sharing was palpable as she elaborated on the pause noted in her story: “I never knew nursing would get to this point. I am becoming suspicious of everyone, even co-workers. I stand away from everyone and wear masks all the time. I am challenged with what feels like lacking compassion. I don’t spend time in the rooms like I always did before, or place a hand on an arm to show comfort because we are thinking, is this the next COVID patient. I do make sure there is a phone in every room and I call often to check on the patients. It just feels less personal. It feels unnatural.”

Hmmm…lacking compassion feels unnatural. There is a theory and/or a philosophical perspective in this sentiment. We could go with Meyeroff’s ideas (1971) about caring as a way of ordering one’s values so that one feels “in place” rather than “out of place” in the world. We could go with Watson’s Transpersonal Caring Moment (Watson, 2018) where people come together in a human-to-human, spirit-to-spirit connection that is meaningful, authentic and intentional. These are just two examples providing context that allows for locating self in the theory-practice connection; many others could be the philosophical/theoretical lens providing context.   

Then the class was asked, “What have you learned from Clare’s story that resonates with your own practice?” Anna was quick to answer, “Everything is fluid and flexible right now, we have protocols, but they change day by day, they are evolving and there is a lot of uncertainty. We have to be able to allow flexibility in new ways. I can’t get into my usual groove.” Then THE question was posed. “Is theory real for you in your everyday practice? If not, it’s ok to say so.” Perhaps the most insightful answer was Brad’s response. “We are taught many theories, but challenged to know how to apply them. I don’t have theory on my mind when I am in front of my patient. It may be subconscious, but I’m not thinking, I’m applying Leininger or Watson right at this moment.”

Brad is right…we don’t expect that nurses live real-time practice checking in with theoretical/philosophical perspectives. However…the perspectives are there and stepping back and reflecting on nursing circumstances may enable forward movement with theory-guided intention and with knowledge-building for the discipline.

Pondering We ARE the theory-practice connection

As the nurse theorist-practitioner team that we are, we have great appreciation for the comments of these practicing nurses who happen to be graduate students. We wondered …Could the shade granted by COVID-19 bring theory out of the shade for students when they don’t even know it? You see, we are educators in a setting where nursing theory is highly valued and caring theory is the organizing spine of our curriculum. Has caring theory become so naturally interwoven in their practice that these NP students know something is amiss but they have difficulty naming it beyond descriptors like “unnatural” or “I can’t get in my groove”? We can only hope….but we can also plan to honor the shade by:  

  • remembering that we are always working from a theoretical perspective – we have only to step back from any nursing situation and consider the principles/concepts that are guiding our actions;
  • creating opportunities to share our practice stories with the knowledge that the implicit theory woven into the practice threads can come alive through scholarly engagement that is open to authentic expression and that gently supports exploration and maturing of an individual nurse’s own thinking;
  • holding the theory-practice connection as a truth that just takes time and professional maturity for appreciation but it is a truth that can be readily described when nurses have a mentor who helps with connecting the practice-theory dots;
  • pairing theorists and nurse practitioners to forge opportunities for growing nursing knowledge grounded in our practice.

Though there is little positive to say about COVID-19 these days, it may be that the pandemic granted some shade for us to reflect on the theory-practice connection in a way that can guide  understanding. After all, We ARE the theory-practice connection. Let’s own it.

Now….what do you think – we would like to hear from you.  How do you see our plan to honor the shade as an integral dimension of developing practice-scholars AND growing the discipline of nursing?  

  1. Liehr, P. & Smith, M.J. (2020). Claiming the narrative wave with story theory. ANS, 43(1), 13-27.
  2. Meyeroff, M. (1971). On caring. Harper & Row: New York.
  3. Watson, J. (2018). Unitary caring science: The philosophy and praxis of nursing. Louisville, CO: University Press of Colorado.

About the contributors

Andra S. Opalinski

Andra Opalinski, PhD, CPNP-PC, NC-BC is a pediatric nurse practitioner and an Associate Professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University. She is an advocate for child and adolescent mental health promotion. Her current areas of interest include community-based participatory research with elementary through high school students using mindfulness interventions for self-regulation and stress management skill building. She also uses visual anthropology through photographs to explore perspectives of health of vulnerable populations. Right now, you’ll find her working remotely, doing the best she can to keep her household of 5 under strict physical distancing, and using the visual anthropology approach to document her family’s physical distancing experiences.

Patricia Liehr

Patricia Liehr PhD RN is currently the Associate Dean for Nursing Research and Scholarship at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She is the co-author of story theory and the co-editor of Middle Range Theory for Nursing. Most of her scholarly work has focused on peace, from personal through mindfulness; to global through coming to know both sides (Pearl Harbor; Hiroshima) of surviving the bombings of WWII. Story-gathering has played a major role in her research endeavors and she highly values the place of nursing practice stories for disciplinary knowledge development. Right now, as she moves toward an August retirement from FAU, she is imagining all the things she will do with new-found time.

In case you missed it – Nursing and Racism

There seems to have been a glitch in our June 16th post titled “Nursing and Racism: Are We Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution, or Perhaps Both?” So just in case you missed it, follow this link to view, and please add your thoughts and comments to this important challenge! https://nursology.net/2020/06/16/nursing-and-racism-are-we-part-of-the-problem-or-part-of-the-solution-perhaps-both/

Nursing and Racism: Are We Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution, or Perhaps Both?

One of the first “lessons” in my now-long-ago nursing education was “the nursing process.” This was in the early 1960s, almost a decade before anyone spoke of nursing theory, but the University of Hawaii (my alma mater) had modeled the curriculum on that of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) which was designed around the ideas of Dorothy Johnson. These ideas would ultimately become known as Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral Systems Model (See also the history of the UCLA School of Nursing, pgs 43-48).

Of course this same problem-solving process is widely used in many walks of life, and many see it as a mere pragmatic outline for making good decisions and forming appropriate action – a necessary process but several degrees removed from developing foundational knowledge of the discipline. In reflecting on the situation in which we find ourselves today I fear that as a discipline we have not adequately faced the realities before us as a discipline and as a society – both as a problem, and as a health experience. As I wrote in my January 20th post titled “Decolonizing Nursing”

Despite the fact that race and racism so repeatedly rise to the surface with a clear intent to address this issue, there is typically little or no substantive discussion that begins to reach deep down into explanations or understanding of what is really going on (see https://nursology.net/2020/01/14/decolonizing-nursing/)

I know that I am not alone in recognizing this challenge, but I continue to wonder — when and how will this begin to change? This is not merely a “political” matter — it is a matter of life and death, of health and sickness. It is a pandemic of proportions far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has been infecting our lives for decades. In recent weeks we have witnessed the public killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, of Ahmaud Arbery shot down while jogging in February, and Breonna Tayler, an EMT with plans of becoming a nurse, killed by police in her own home in March. Then just a few days before this post published, the killing in Atlanta of 27-year-old Rayshard Brookes, shot in the back several times by police after indicating that he was able and willing to walk home to his sister’s house.

These tragic murders in plain sight, coupled with widespread recognition of the over-proportioned number of Black and Brown people suffering from COVID-19 – give us a glimmer of opportunity to finally act. The calls for change are so pervasive and so sustained, that those of us ready and willing to make change have a real opportunity to do so. And so I return to my earliest nursing education and the foundational ideas that have been baked into my very fabric – the processes of active listening and observation that are vital to assessing and “diagnosing” a problem(1).

One of the notable signs that appears in all of the protests says “I see you, I hear you.” For me, this is a key to meeting the challenge before us. It starts with our interactions among our own colleagues. Throughout my nursing career I have seen many Black nurse colleagues come and go, and every single one of the nursing faculty I have served with have repeatedly decried how “difficult” it is to recruit and retain Black nurse faculty. Yet all too rarely have I witnessed concerted, deliberate efforts by the predominantly White(2) faculty to stop, step away from our privilege, seek the authentic stories of our Black colleagues, and actively hear (understand) their experience. Equally egregious is the fact that there are myriads of situations that, viewed through a lens of anti-racist awareness, could be instantly recognized as potentially harmful to a Black person, even dangerous. But over and over again we turn a blind eye, and fail to act. I have all too often been just as complicit in all of this as anyone else – we have all been caught up, and participate in a systemic web of injustice. And I suspect that this pattern is not unique to academics – that it runs deep in every setting where nursing is practiced.

Further, there is the all-too often deflection of the problem by the insistence that the “problem” is not unique to Black people – that all lives matter. Of course all lives matter and Black people are not the only ones who suffer injustice and discrimination. But this sentiment turns the lens away from the specific voices, experiences, and challenges faced Black people. We can listen to all people – but until we listen to, and sincerely seek to understand, Black people and recognize the experiences of trauma and harm that Black people uniquely suffer, and how we participate, we will not be able to truly understand the problem.

It is undeniable that the prejudice and hate toward Black Americans, and people of African descent in many other countries is profound and amplified by the historical trauma of slavery and in the United States, the fall-out of the civil war fought to end slavery in the United States. I hear many White nurses in my circle expressing true outrage about this situation and we are all sincere in our desire to see it change, yet the problem persists. Until we White nurses face the reality of our privilege and the injustices that flow from this, until we learn ways to step away from our privilege and engage in serious anti-racism work, until we create spaces in which we can authentically engage with our Black colleagues to understand the problem, the injustices in our own house will remain.

We can all shift in the direction of being part of the solution. There are signals that point us in the direction of actions we can all take – particularly those of us who are White – to seize this moment, start to address the scourge of racism in our own house, and make real change. The circumstance of the COVID-19 shift to virtual reality offers ample opportunities for all of us to engage in antiracism work! Here are a few examples that I can personally recommend – if you start searching, you will find many many others!

  • Nurse Caroline Ortiz organized a “platica” (Spanish for discussion) held on March 9th over Zoom. Caroline recorded the session, which you can access here: https://vimeo.com/397047962. You can organize similar discussions – we are all now expert Zoom organizers!
  • African-American activist Nanette Massey holds a weekly discussion with White people from all walks of life to discuss the ideas in Robin DiAngelo’s book “White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard for White People to Talk About Race.” I have participated in many of these informative, interesting and affirming Sunday discussions. Learn more here.
  • The “Everyday Feminism” website has pages and pages of content on ethnicity and racism – https://everydayfeminism.com/tag/race-ethnicity/. Just browsing titles is a rich experience! Their 2014 post of 10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism is precisely relevant today!
  • Invest 1.5 hours into Everyday Feminism’s founder, Sandra Kim’s excellent session on “Why Healing from Internalized Whiteness is a Missing Link in White People’s Anti-Racism Work.” White nurses can benefit especially, but knowing that White people are facing this challenge, and how this can happen, can be helpful for everyone.
  • Practice generosity of spirit toward your nursing colleagues – each of us are being challenged in this moment to examine our own attitudes, actions and words. Many of us are just starting on this journey. This demands kindness and understanding toward one another as we work together, often in uncomfortable situations, to make meaningful change. Let us call forth the best we can be, and support one another with compassion and understanding when we mis-step.
  • Consider how application of many tenets of our own nursing theories can be activated in the quest to address racism. Consider Peplau’s approach to meaningful interpersonal relationships, the very important insights from Margaret Newman “Health as Expanded Consciousness,” and any one of several theories of caring such as Watson’s Theory of Human Caring, or Boykin and Schoenhofer’s Theory of Nursing as Caring, While these and other nursing theories were not created specifically to address racism and social injustice, we certainly can draw on their wisdom to bring nursing perspectives to the center in our anti-racism work.
  • Follow the opportunities provided by the Nursology Theory Collective to join discussions focused on creating equity in nursing
  • Find, read and cite nursing literature authored by nurses of color. Learn the names of these authors, and seek out their work. If you teach, make sure you include this literature in your syllabi(3).
  • Explore the work of scholars in other disciplines who are also committed to anti-racism work. The “Scholarly Kitchen” blog posts regularly on matters of racism and discrimination – see their June 15, 2020 post titled Educating Ourselves: Ten Quotes from Researchers Exploring Issues Around Race
  • Make your own video, as a nurse, speaking to these issues and how your values, ideas, nursing perspectives inform your actions to fight racism! Post it on YouTube or Vimeo .. and then share it with us – we can consider posting on Nursology.net or another nursing website. See this wonderful video (below) by de-cluttering expert Mel Robertson for inspiration!
Notes
  1. Ultimately the concept of active listening formed a basis for the essential processes of “critical reflection” and “conflict transformation” in my heuristic theory of Peace and Power.
  2. See this excellent article from the Center for the Study of Social Policy on the capitalization of the terms “Black” and “White,” which I consulted in refining this post: Nguyễn, A. T., & Pendleton, M. (2020, March 23). Recognizing Race in Language: Why We Capitalize “Black” and “White” | Center for the Study of Social Policy. Center for the Study of Social Policy. https://cssp.org/2020/03/recognizing-race-in-language-why-we-capitalize-black-and-white/
  3. See Kagan, P. N., Smith, M. C., & Chinn, P. L. (Eds.). (2014). Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis. Routledge. This collection includes many of the leading authors, including many nurse scholars of color, whose work focuses on social justice.

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!

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.

Happy Anniversary/Happy Birthday to Nursology.net!

We invite all of our visitors to join with us in developing this important resource!  Contact us with your interest and ideas!
This site is developed and managed solely by nursologist volunteers so our costs are minimal, but we welcome contributions to help assure the site’s future!!

Jacqueline Fawcett:

Jacqueline Fawcett

This is a very special blog, as we are celebrating the first anniversary/first birthday of the launch of nursology.net on September 18th. From a chronological developmental perspective, the website is transitioning from infancy to early childhood. However, given the amount of content already posted on this website, the weekly blogs, and the number of nursologists from many, many countries who have accessed the website, I dare to declare that we never were infants and now are mature adults! I am especially grateful to Peggy Chinn, our outstandingly superb webmaster, for her fabulous and steadfast work to create the website, the forms for submission of content and other items, many of the weekly blogs, and everything else that is needed to maintain the vibrancy of nursology.net. I also am very grateful to all members of our management team, whose interest in and enthusiasm for preserving our discipline has fostered so much success in one short year. In addition, I am very grateful to all other nursologists who have contributed content to the website, to those who have written blogs, and to those who have added comments to the blogs. I continue to welcome all nursologists to nursology.net—to view what is on the website, to contribute content, to submit blogs, and otherwise share your thoughts about nursology and all the wonderful work you are doing. The remainder of this blog is contributions from some of the members of our management team; I thank them for sharing their thoughts on the occasion of nursology.net’s first anniversary/birthday.

Peggy Chinn

Peggy Chinn:

When we first conceived of the website that we decided to call “nursology.net,” I certainly never imagined that the site would grow and develop as it has in just the first year! First, even though I have been immersed during my entire career in scholarship around the development of nursing knowledge, I honestly had no idea of the vastness, diversity, and widespread commitment that nurse scholars have demonstrated over the 50=plus years of nursing knowledge development. Those of us who have contributed to the development of the website knew one another professionally, and we all had deep respect for the scholarship that each of us brought to the table. But once we put all of our insights and expertise together in the tangible reality of the website, lo and behold, what we had was much larger than any of us imagined! During the past several months, I have had the opportunity to provide live “deep dives” into the website to demonstrate what is actually here – and with each occasion, everyone who participates leaves amazed at the true vastness of information that is here! As we look forward to the coming year, we will continue to add to the information in each section of the website, but our main focus will be to develop more thoroughly the “Exemplar” sections. After all, each of us involved in the site are nurses first – so our primary concern is using the theoretical ideas, our scholarship, to inform, shape, and re-shape our practices! We believe that nursing perspectives are necessary and valuable – that we offer dimensions that are respected by other disciplines. However, if we do not bring our perspectives as a central concern to each of our practices, something that is extremely valuable will be missing. Nursing perspectives do make a difference in practice, research, education, policy, and quality improvement – and each of the exemplar sections will continue to grow to demonstrate more clearly what that difference is!

Marlaine Smith:

Cheers to nursology.net on its one year anniversary! In only one year, nurses throughout the world have accessed nursology.net, offering us a valuable resource for learning more about the knowledge within the discipline. It is amazing to explore and discover the rich contributions, detailing the development and application of nursing theories of all levels in practice, education, and policy. Thank you to Drs. Peggy Chinn and Jacqueline Fawcett for their leadership in launching and advancing this website and thanks to all the contributors. Here’s to many more productive years of growing nursology!

Danny Willis:

When I pause to celebrate the one year anniversary/birthday of nursology.net, what comes up for me is a sense of hope for the future! Nursology is the substantive perspective that makes the difference in human and environment wellbecomng and alleviation of human suffering. Nursology addresses What Matters Most!” The philosophical, conceptual, theoretical, and empirical contributions that have shaped the discipline and profession are reflected at nursology.net. For nursologists everywhere, nursology.net provides a venue to be engaged in the knowledge endeavor, discerning clear direction should we get distracted. nursology.net is a wonderful resource for the world right here and right now, at our fingertips !! I look forward to continuing to participate in the evolution.

Dorothy Jones:

Nursology.net has become a global phenomenon, offering nurses from around the world immediate access to nursing knowledge and historical developments in nursing theory, education, research, and practice. When I presented the site to doctoral students in Spain, one student noted, “Having access to this site (for free) not only exposes us to information we do not have in our libraries but helps to connect us to our science in a new way. Thank you”. The continued development of nursology, with attention to presentations [in] other languages, will continue to grow the site and expand nurses’ ability to access knowledge and increase disciplinary dialogue around the world.

Dr. Eustace

Rosemary Eustace:

As we celebrate the one year anniversary of nursology.net,, we acknowledge the contributions of many of our founders and nursing scholars to evidence-based nursing (EBN). We call upon our fellow nurses around the world to advocate for the future of nursing that advances nursing science by developing, utilizing, and evaluating EBN to create a culture of health, promote social and financial justice, and increase access and responsiveness to evidence-based health care services.

Margaret Dexheimer Pharris:

Nursology.net has gotten off to a running start! In the past year, nursology.net leaders helped shape and participated in the 50th anniversary nursing theory conference at Case Western Reserve University (see Peggy Chinn’s conference keynote); several nursing journal editors have written about nursology.net in their journals; the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) Nursing Theory-Guided Practice Expert Panel has grown to be one of AAN’s largest expert panels; and, there have been over a dozen major nursology related conferences throughout the world. This resurgence of commitment to nursology practice and research rooted in the knowledge of the discipline provides a springboard propelling nursologists to ensure that nursing theory is woven through national nursing education guidelines for all professional levels, that every nurse can clearly articulate the difference that nursology makes because of its theories and philosophical perspectives, and that in the U.S., the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) be directed by a nursologist who understands the importance of grounding all NINR funded research in nursing theories and philosophies. These and many other efforts in which nursologists are engaging serve to holistically and equitably enhance the human experience of health. The year 2020 holds great promise for nursology to reach new heights!

Deborah Lindell:

Happy first anniversary to Nursology.net! This site serves a valuable service to all nurses by raising awareness of the essential role nursing knowledge plays in the discipline of nursing. It provides in-depth, understandable information about nursing knowledge in a variety of formats. I especially like the Guardians of the Discipline and the blog which promotes dialogue about current topics in nursing knowledge. I’ve integrated Nursology.net as a required resource in my DNP and MSN theory courses.

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.

A Critical Review of 5 Nursing Journal Editorials on the Topic of Nursology

A recent CINAHL search with the keyword “Nursology” revealed 5 editorials in leading nursing journals that focus on acquainting the journal’s readers with the website and the initiative.  Not surprisingly, 3 of those editors were founding members of the Nursology.net website. Each shared a different aspect of the project.

Jacqueline Fawcett is the facilitator of the Nursology website management team.  In her guest editorial in the Journal of Advanced Nursing,1 she briefly reviewed the history of the term and argued for its revival, citing a previous published work.2 “Use of the term, nursology for the discipline,” she and colleagues had noted in 2015,  “avoids the tautology of using the word, nursing, as the label for the discipline and as a concept of our metaparadigm.” In other words, it identifies and distinguishes what nurses know(nursology) from what nurses do(nursing) by using different words.  Fawcett also identified possible disadvantages of a change in terminology, such as causing confusion, or interfering with progress made towards the goal of increasing the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses, although she did not elaborate on how. Fawcett went on to describe the formation of the website and outlined some of its contents: nursological philosophies, theories, and conceptual models with exemplars of the use of nursing theories in practice, education, and research; a history of disciplinary knowledge development; identification of past landmark events and future nursology-focused events, and resources. She concluded by giving examples of the positive feedback about the website that has been received and inviting readers to champion nursology as a disciplinary name or to offer alternative ideas.

Peggy Chinn is the webmaster of Nursology.net.  Her editorial introduces an issue of Advances in Nursing Science3 for which a call had been issued for articles addressing the focus of the discipline.  She noted this was in part to acknowledge that approximately 50 years had passed since a series of conferences had been initiated to explore the nature, focus, and future of disciplinary knowledge. The issue also appeared a few weeks before a similar conference, held at Case Western Reserve to commemorate those 50 years, and within months of the founding of Nursology.net. Chinn emphasized the nurse-led, nurse-developed nature of the site and  described it as providing “the most current and accurate information about nursing discipline-specific knowledge that advances human betterment globally.” She listed the assumptions and principles that guide the project: that nursology is a distinct discipline, vital to human health; is multidimensional bringing together diverse philosophical and theoretic perspectives; is autonomous and makes a unique contribution to health care; and that although nursology interacts with other disciplines cooperatively and collaboratively, it remains distinct and autonomous because it reflects the distinct perspective arising from caring in the human health experience. Chinn concluded by noting that these assumptions both shape the focus of the discipline and suggest issues that deserve serious consideration and discussion “not to achieve consensus but to appreciate the range of possibilities and diversities that inform and shape our discipline.” Whereas Chinn’s editorial highlights the philosophical underpinnings and beliefs that support the neurology.net initiative, it does not elaborate in detail on what ANS readers might expect to find on the site. 

 Jane Flanagan is a member of the Nursology.net management team and editor of the International Journal of Nursing Knowledge. She noted in her editorial4 that  the Nursology.net website is in keeping with the vision of the American Academy of Nursing Theory Guided Practice Expert Panel and described the purpose of the website is “to further the goals of what all of us as nurses are hoping to achieve…to explore the boundaries of nursing science and move that conversation in to a sphere where it reaches many.”  Flanagan noted the initial intent of the website- to be attractive, easy to read, and “overflowing with substance.” She indicated her hope that it will be a significant source of information for all nurses and those interested in nursing and invited feedback and participation of readers in contributing materials, blogs, and comments. She briefly described various sections of the site to provide examples of the resources that might be helpful to readers. Flanagan concluded by highlighting some of the similar reasons that Fawcett gave in her editorial for identifying the name of the discipline as nursology and those who practice, teach, or research disciplinary knowledge as nursologists. She noted, “ the name itself separates us from the stereotype and the reality in some quarters that we are handmaidens to physicians.” Flanagan’s editorial was the first to be published of all 5 editorials, just a month after the launch of the nursology.net website.  While she could have, perhaps, given more details about site contents, she does direct readers to the website for further information.  Her  palpable excitement at being “on the ground floor” of this project will probably encourage them to do so! 

The 3 editorials from members of the nursology.net management team were, as might be expected, exceedingly positive about the site and the initiative.  Two editorials were written by nursing editors who were not part of the Nursology.net management team. While their perspectives vary considerably, they may offer the most substantive perspectives and may prompt further serious and extensive discussion of these issues.

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse’s editorial in Nursing Science Quarterly5 did not share the excitement and optimism evident in the above editorials.  Her understanding of the goal of the website is “to change the name of the discipline of nursing”. She commented favorably on the site’s “décor” but misleadingly reduced its content to a blog, “where contributors continue to add any material they wish without support evidence for the change.”  It is unfortunate that the readers of NSQ are not informed of the stated mission and purpose  of the website, which include developing a repository of nursing knowledge, disseminating that knowledge, and encouraging collaboration among nursing scholars. Currently the website profiles 45 nursing theories, ranging from conceptual frameworks to situation-specific theories, with the Theory of Humanbecoming among them. Parse posited that efforts would be better directed at “making nursing science the hallmark of the discipline” and then asked a number of important questions about what such a change would mean, including how nursing educational programs could base courses on nursing knowledge when there is pressure by accrediting agencies to include more medical-bio-behavioral content. It is not clear how she sees that conundrum being addressed by either term,  nursology or nursing science. Despite having acknowledged that the “proposed change is consistent with O’Toole’s statement  in Mosby’s Medical Dictionary,” the editorial concluded that the change in name ”lacks semantic consistency with disciplinary knowledge and upends logical coherence.”

Sally Thorne’s editorial in Nursing Inquiry,6 begins with her admission of having a long-standing discomfort with the term “Nursing Science”, first because it sounds like a qualifier to science, “as if nurses take part in a skewed, partial, or watered-down version of the scientific enterprise,” and secondly, because the term nursing science has largely been used to describe nursing theorizing, rather than “formal scientific investigation.” Thorne contextualized the introduction of the Nursology.net website as a response from nursing thought leaders arising from their shared awareness and concerns of external pressures that are increasingly shaping nursing and threatening the further advancement of the discipline, and provided readers of Nursing Inquiry with citations of articles exploring the implications of those pressures for the preservation of “core disciplinary knowledge.” Thorne noted the term, Nursology, has been used in nursing literature at least as early as 1971 and, although she confessed to some discomfort with using the term, preferring to use “the study of nursing”, she enthusiastically endorsed the direction  the conversations that have led to the Nursology.net initiative have taken. She concluded that she will be watching the Nursology.net conversation with great excitement, “hoping that it attracts the attention, engagement, and dialogue it deserves, and that it helps bring a new generation of nurses back into an appreciative understanding of why the study of nursing really matters.”

I think I can speak on behalf of the Nursology.net management team in saying, we share that hope! And, I would ask if “ology” refers to “the study of” and is widely used by many other disciplines, e.g, pharmacology, biology, why is there such a hesitancy (I’ve experienced it in talking to other nurses about neurology as well) to use nursology to refer to the unique body of knowledge that is nursing knowledge?  Is it simply prudent caution to make the change for the reasons a number of the editors raised? To what extent does it feel pretentious, i.e., have we internalized a broader societal message that our body of knowledge is not as substantial or valuable as those of other fields? Is this another manifestation of “I’m just a nurse?” And/or, is it simply that it’s new and unfamiliar?

  1. Fawcett J. Nursology revisted and revived. J Adv Nurs. 2019; 1(2):1-2.
  2. Fawcett J, Aronowitz T, AbuFannouneh A, et al. Thoughts about the Name of Our Discipline. Nurs Sci Q.2015;28(4):330-333.
  3. Chinn PL. Introducing Nursology.net. ANS Adv Nurs Sci.2019;42(Jan-Mar):1.
  4. Flanagan J. Nursology – a Site by nurses, for nurses. Int J Nurs Knowl.2018;29(4).
  5. Parse RR. Nursology: What’s in a Name? Nurs Sci Q.2019;32(2):93-94.
  6. Thorne S. The study of nursing. Nurs Inq.2019;26(1):1-2.

 

 

 

 

 

Who IS the First!

This blog is a follow up to the Who Will Be First? blog posted on May 21st. We now have an answer to that question!

St. Mary’s College Campus (from http://www.st-mary.ac.jp/about/)

I recently learned from Sr. Callista Roy  that a research center in her name included the word, nursology, in the center title. The title is: Roy Academia Nursology Research Center. This research center was founded in 2018 at St. Mary’s College School of Nursing in Kurume, Japan (http://www.st-mary.ac.jp/english/).

Professor Tsuyako Hidaka, of St. Mary’s College School of Nursing in Kurume, Japan, provided this description of the research center:

“The Roy Academia Nursology Research Center aims to explore Mercy, Caring, and Love through the avenues of both practice and education, which are executed across three departments: educational program development, postgraduate education, and continuing education.

1. The educational program development department facilitates education, practice, and research based on the Roy Adaptation Model, conducts activities for the Japan Chapter of the Roy Adaptation Association of Japan (RAA-J), and develops programs that enhance nursing skills for undergraduate and graduate students.

2. The postgraduate education department works with a wide range of students, from those planning to continue their research post-graduation, to those conducting activities as certified nurse specialists (CNS). Faculty members also assist students with research as well as offer counseling to undergraduates interested in pursuing a graduate degree.

3. The continuing education department is responsible for developing the curriculum for use in the wards at St. Mary’s Hospital, and continues to reform the currently-used clinical ladder education program to include elements for which nurses can continue earning education credits. The department also offers a continuing education program for nurses who work in community-based settings.”

The nursology.net management team members congratulate Professor Hidaka, her colleagues, and the St. Mary’s College administrators on being the very first entity to include nursology in the title of their research center. We look forward to learning of many other entities that will follow their lead and include nursology in the title of schools and colleges, departments, programs, and centers.

Callita Roy and Jacquiline Fawcett visiting St. Mary’s College (photo from http://www.st-mary.ac.jp/education/)