On Tuesday I published a post on Nursology.net that I want to be sure all NurseManifest followers also see! The post will be the front page for the week, but go to the post itself to see comments, and to add your own! Here is the link to the post – https://nursology.net/2020/01/14/decolonizing-nursing/.
The Nursology.net focus, of course, is on the effect of colonization on the development of nursing knowledge – the ways we think, the ways our mental models shape our practice. But to me, this post also illustrates an important fact about the academic enterprise – it is also inherently political. As a political enterprise, it holds the power to sustain the status quo, or to challenge and change the status quo. Ultimately, theoretical knowledge development can be a powerful tool for activism.
Take, for example, the central focus of nursing theory on the “individual” – the individual person as an independent person with unfettered free will, one who has, or can access all the resources needed. We know how distorted this view is, and unrepresentative of the real world. We also know, on so many levels, that we do not practice as if this is so. Another example – the metapardigm concept of the “environment” – a concept that is always poorly conceived and that ends up being the “catch-all” for central, vitally important dynamics we often refer to as “social determinants of health.”
It is time to shift how we think, and the academic enterprise of theorizing needs to make the revolutionary turn to do so. Indeed, there are seeds of possibility already embedded in many nursing theories and philosophies. One of the most important is the idea of fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing that was initially described by Barbara Carper in 1978 – an idea that took immediate “hold” on the nursing imagination and remains so today as a powerful tool to resist “empirics” alone as the basis for nursing practice. And there are nursing theories already “out there” that reflect this same kind of holistic embrace that have great potential to undergo significant shifts. For example, in response to my “Decolonizing Nursing” post, Anne Boykin and Savina Schoenoffer have already planned discussions to consider revisions of the Theory of Nursing as Caring to “decolonize” their ideas.
Then equally important, there is the task of creating new theories grounded in a new, decolonized nursing metaparadigm! Many who follow this blog are well equipped, and ready, to do just this!! So keep those ideas flowing, and use this and other important visionary nursing platforms (importantly Radical Nurses), to nurture your ideas and develop visions for the future!