About Natalie SD

Nurse, PhD student, avid reader. Feminism is intersectional or it's not feminism. Nurses rock!

Caring in the learning process; insights from a worldly PhD student in Canada


As a nursing student in the largest French-language faculty of nursing in the world, I have the privilege to rub shoulders with budding scholars from all over the world. Today, I’d like to publish a text written by my friend and colleague, Houssem Eddine Ben Ahmed. It is a timely piece that helps remind nurses of our social contract, a concept that can help anchor us in these politically charged times. He is a PhD student in nursing, passionate about the application of Caring. He believes Caring, embodied in a educated and competent nursing workforce, is a question for public health as well as nursing. Here is his piece on Caring and learning processes:

It’s with great pleasure that I send you my brief description about my own experience of professional caring in nursing education. I’m currently a PhD student in Canada, but I was born and raised in Tunisia, where I also entered the academic world. Nursing education is quite different there, and graduate programs are not yet available for nurses. Consequently, I did my Master’s degree in Public Health, where I was able to bridge my nursing knowledge to broader issues. This is what led me to pursue doctoral studies where I could explore the relationship between nursing students and their educators.

 I have learnt from my personal and professional experience how caring is important in many aspects of our lives. There is a professional type of caring that can be developed between two persons (nurse-patient or educator-student). This relationship needs time and can be nurtured and reinforced to promote the development of a caring towards others, outside the initial professional relationship. In the personal realm, there is also one’s innate behavior of caring. I want to distinguish between these two categories of caring because many nurses and educators think it’s impossible to change one’s attitude in our modern (and often cold and uncaring) society. By this distinction, I want to clarify that we, as a nurse scholars who are interested in caring, should work to integrate the professional caring in our science. As a PhD student interested in professional caring in nursing, I’m exploring the professional caring relationship between nursing students and their educators because I strongly believe that for caring to be expressed in all the different domains of nursing (practice, theory, research and policy), we must improve our reflection on, and attention to, the idea of caring in the learning process.

In the course of my first year in my PhD program, I developed a deeper understanding about the difference between a caring and non-caring educator and how this can affect learning processes. I realized how it’s important to function within a safe environment of teaching-learning and how professional caring can have a positive influence on me as a student and on my learning and professional processes. Through my doctoral project, I hope to develop pedagogical knowledge that will help all nurses with a teaching role (educators, directors, nursing scholars)  understand that caring is also taught through the relationship we develop with our students. We need to focus more on developing professional caring in our profession to prepare the next generation of nurses to fulfill their social mandate. Patients and families need caring and competent nurses, and our students need educators that embody this concept to learn the scope depth of what caring is all about.

 

Houssem Eddine Ben Ahmed

Ph.D. student in Nursing Science

Université de Montréal

houssemeddinebenahmed@hotmail.fr

Our history is political, so is our future.


     These past couple weeks, I got a chance to connect with extraordinary colleagues across the US and Canada to discuss what it means for a nurse to be political and why. I’m honored today to join the impressive list of nurses writing for this blog. I’m a nurse in Canada and I’ve always been political, but this is not common in nursing today. Nurses and nursing organization often seem to shrink away from discussing socio-political issues in an effort to appear ‘neutral’, yet nurses hold vital knowledge and experience which we could contribute to these important debates.
     Being political doesn’t mean being partisan. This is what I wish to put forward with my first blog on Nurse Manifest. Nurses see on a daily basis the impact of health inequalities, racism, sexism, unemployment and all forms of discrimination on the health of the people we care for. We understand the importance of early childhood education, food security and affordable housing. We see what it costs us as a society to neglect these fundamental issues. We understand why the travel ban that was recently imposed in the US will not protect anyone, rather it will endanger men, women and children left stranded the world over and tear families apart.
     Defunding Planned Parenthood is another threat to the health of millions of Americans. The case of Texas, which has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the industrial world, tragically illustrates what happens when access to reproductive care is restricted. As nurses, we must fight for policies that improve the health of the population, from demanding reasonable nurse patient ratios to enforcing the Geneva Convention rules on refugees. We have a responsibility, because of our knowledge and training, to protect the health of all humans, regardless of race, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation or religion.  
     Being political means being focussed on what is right and healthy for the future of humanity. This means we will let neither fear of censorship or reprisals deter us from speaking out, nor will we be coaxed or lured into silence by demagogy. We will hold decision makers accountable, from heads of state, to mayor’s offices, to hospital administrators.
     Let us not forget our political history as nurses. Many nurses know the political history of Florence Nightingale, but there are countless others. Civil war hero Harriet Tubman was a nurse, as was Sojourner Truth. Irena Sandler, the second world war hero who saved thousands of children from the Warsaw ghetto was a nurse.
     Let us honor their spirits by emulating their fearlessness and dedication to justice and truth. I believe being political is not a choice, but a duty for nurses. The care we provide must extend beyond the walls of the hospital to influence policy. We can make the world healthier.