As the lead blogger for the NurseManifest project, I wish all of our followers peace and power for the holidays! We are taking a holiday break from our weekly blog schedule featuring inspirations for activism, but we will return no later than January 8th! We are looking forward to a new year with growing nursing activism both large and small! The very existence of our “Inspiration for Activism” blog series is in itself a manifestation of nursing activism. Just to browse through both the Part I and the growing Part II galleries provides a landscape of the breadth and depth of influence that nurses have had, and continue to have, in relation to health and well-being!
If you have not yet shared your story of nurse activism, we want to hear from you! We have a handy form that you can use to start the process! Fill out what you can on the form, and we will work with you to add you and your activism to this very important record! If you need inspiration, browse our Part II and Part I “inspiration” galleries!
Here’s to 2019 Nurse Manifesting! Peggy
Contributed by Rorry Zahourek
Ginny Paulsen was not a nurse by profession but by heart and dedication. She served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Nurses Association from 1961-1980. In that role she inspired many to become activists on numerous fronts (clinical and political). At that time in Colorado the nurse practitioner was born and clinical specialists programs were producing new and motivated practitioners. She supported a group of nurses at Denver General Hospital to organize and demand a job description and commensurate salary for Clinical Nurse Specialists. In the 1970’s Ginny supported a group of nurses to go into private practice by providing moral support, business advice and legal consultation. Later she helped the group writing a book that described the process of setting up one of the first primary nurse clinics in the country.
She was a realistic idealist. She believed in the goodness of humanity and that we as nurses and humans could forge new roles, advance the profession, health care and change the system as a whole.
She always had good advice regarding negotiating systems and was always available for consultation when we met obstacles. She was a fierce and intelligent nurse advocate who mentored many in expanding their scope of practice and securing the legislation needed to support those advances. She developed and hired one of the first nurse lobbyist at the State capitol in the country. (See picture of Ginny with with the first nurse lobbyist, Sue Sawyer).
Ginny also started a major international educational conference (Chautauqua) to promote discussion of issues and foster activism. This conference continues today. She birthed the idea of having risk taking workshops. These fostered activism for expanding nurses’ roles, practice and changing systems. The result of one of those workshops was the formation of Nurses for Political Action Colorado. This group provided forums for candidates to present their views and discuss issues related to overall health care and nursing.
Her premature death was and is a loss. I’m sure she would be supporting this nurse activist group and would be pleased to see how many members it has that are committed to making changes for nursing and for all to have adequate health care.
Ginny on the left with Sue Sawyer (right)
Inspiration for Activism Part II –
- Advocacy for those impacted by mental illness and addictions.
- Death care of vulnerable individuals.
- Worked for many years with people living with violence either past or present. I work with children, adolescents, women and men who have been sexually abused and sexually assaulted by people in positions of power and trust. Parents, intimate partners, clergy, teachers, friends, coaches, strangers, police……
- Worked as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
- I am often humbled by the strength and resilience of people of all ages who have lived their lives with the power of their experiences impacting their lives.
- I also work with people living with mental illness.
- I am saddened and frustrated by the system(s) and the treatment received by people from those in a position of power and “caring”. The strength of the human spirit to resist and to continue to seek out someone who will believe, who will care is to be honoured.
Inspiration for Activism Part II –
- Ally, advocate, and activist for Reproductive Justice
- Full spectrum OB/sexual and reproductive health nurse, including abortion services
- Five College Associate and historian of nursing and medicine
- Former full spectrum doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor, supporting pregnant people through all reproductive outcomes
- Founder of LA For Choice
I came to nursing through activism, rather than the other way around. For fifteen years before I went to nursing school, I organized and agitated in my communities around issues related to reproductive choice and health. Becoming a nurse was the way to bring my passion for care work and my passion for reproductive justice together. Now I work at the bedside in labor & delivery/postpartum care as well as in abortion services. In addition, I hold an appointment as a Five College Associate, which supports me in researching, writing, and speaking about the history of nursing and medicine. Right now I am investigating the historical development of the cultural competency model in nursing and nursing education, with the goal of moving us as a field toward structural competency without reproducing the problems of earlier models.
Jessica Dillard-Wright and Vanessa Haas-Shields are cooking up another nursing activism think tank! They just announced the location and dates on the new website RadicalNurses.com! Here is what they posted:
. . . sustained through our collaborative efforts here at radicalnurses.com, and emboldened by the power of sharing our ideas, we would like to announce our very own nurse activism think tank. We are calling it “Activism and the Art of Nursing” and we want you to join us. We know that nursing is an art. We know many of you are artists. We want to explore the idea of the art of nursing and the connections between art, activism, and nursing. So save the dates – July 13 and 14 in Augusta, Georgia – and sign up here
(https://goo.gl/forms/Mt8MMjFW7V5ORT5s1) to stay in the loop. More details to follow. We are very excited and hope to see you this summer. (see the full post here)
This is exactly what everyone involved last summer hoped could happen going forward!!! Follow RadicalNurses to find out more, and if you are interested in doing something similar in your area – go for it!! Let us know of your ideas and plans and we will support what you do in any way we can!!