Plática on “Decolonizing Nursing”

On March 9, 2020, Caroline E. Ortiz hosted a “plática” (Spanish for a heart-to-heart talk) on Zoom, bringing together nurses from many U.S. locations to share and discuss the challenges of racism in nursing – the process of “Decolonizing Nursing.”  This was in part a follow-up to Peggy Chinn’s post on, and followed up here on January 16th.  Caroline recorded the session so that others may still contribute to the “plática” – post your comments and ideas below!

Decolonizing Nursing

On Tuesday I published a post on 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 –

The 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!

Call to Action: Join a March Against Migrant Detention Camps in Washington DC October 19, 2019

Information provided by Jane Hopkins Walsh

A group named Doctors for Camp Closure (D4CC) is organizing a protest march in Washington DC on October 19, 2019 to petition congress to act on behalf of migrant people imprisoned in unsafe and inhumane conditions in detention camps. This grassroots coalition appears to lack significant nursing representation. I blog today to invite concerned nurses to join the physicians and medical students, who have come together to form D4CC to protest against continued human rights violations of refugees and asylum seekers. D4CC is collecting signatures and will march to physically present them to congress on October 19th. Please consider joining the protest march and also signing the petition. Everyone is invited to march – not just doctors and nurses.

Over the past years, many of us as concerned nurses, have asked ourselves and each other how we can organize to protest the detention of refugees and asylum seekers. Several Radical Nurse blog posts have addressed the unjust and inhumane practices of detaining immigrant people and families, and of separating children from their parents. Thousands of children and families are still imprisoned- detained under conditions that are contributing to suffering, illness, and preventable deaths, and causing irreversible trauma for refugees that have already experienced tremendous hardships.

recent policy decision from US officials not to vaccinate detained immigrant people against influenza is especially cruel. As the globe braces for a particularly bad flu season, this dangerous government mandate is expected to cause serious illness and death among detainees who are imprisoned in extremely overcroweded conditions. I cannot, we cannot, sit passively by and watch this unfold.

Collectively building relationships to join together for a common cause are basic principles of grass roots organizing. Groups intersecting and forming coalitions are powerful strategic tools used to create social change. I urge you to join D4CC to ensure that nursing has a strong presence in this important protest. I envision a group renamed: Doctors and Nurses for Camp Closure. Please join me. Sign the petition today. Come to DC on October 19th.

The future depends on what you do today ~~Mahatma Gandhi

Jane Hopkins Walsh is a Spanish speaking pediatric nurse practitioner at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a PhD Candidate in Nursing and Jonas-Blaustein Scholar at Boston College. She is enrolled in a certificate program at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at the BC Lynch School of Education.

Jane is a volunteer and board member for the longest-serving NGO in Honduras called Cape CARES ( Jane is passionate about social justice and immigrant rights and volunteers for Project Reunify (, the Dilley Pro Bono Project ( and The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law  (


Peggy Chinn: You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Act now to participate: a protest quilt honoring refugee children who have died seeking asylum

Announced today on the Radical Nurses website!

Jane Hopkins Walsh just announced a quick call to activism, and a way to participate in the Augusta, GA Nursing Activism Think Tank whether you can be there or not!  Jane is making a protest quilt in honor of the refugee children who have died while seeking asylum since 2016.

Please send Jane 12 by 12 inch pieces of fabric by July 5, 2019. You can send plain fabric or write a message or phrase in sharpie pen.

This will be a drifting, community-based, international activism project. Message Jess Dillard-Wright for the exact address for sending fabric

2019 Nursing Activism Think Tank just around the corner!

Yes!  July 13 -14, 2019 activist nurses will gather in Augusta, Georgia  – focused on Activism and the Art of Nursing!  This think tank is hosted by Jessica Dillard-Wright and Vanessa Shields-Haas – and you can see more information on the Radical Nurses Website here!  The format for 2019 is similar to our 2018 Think Tank .. it will be two days of reflection, discussion, exploration and connection to inspire activism with other nurses, and to move into action together as nurses!

Use this form to sign up and stay in the loop!

%d bloggers like this: