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

Do our actions make a difference?


#NursesResist
#ProtectHealth

This morning I heard from a nurse in Seattle asking this question in response to our advocacy alert inviting comments on the proposed rules weakening the Affordable Care Act –  “How can I be sure that my writing, calling and speaking up against these changes to ACA don’t actually encourage them to cut more? They seem to take our protests as success on their parts.” This is a terrific question, and it is one that plagues all of us from time to time!  Here is my response – and I invite everyone to add your comments to this post – to help all of us focus on our determination to resist!

It is true that we really cannot know, at least not right away, whether or not anything we do will make a difference. But it is also true that a common initial reaction, by anyone, to opposition is to dig in further and make a “show” of being emboldened – and for the politicians, this is exactly what they will do for the first few signs of opposition.  What they cannot withstand is a continued, large-scale show of opposition because at that point, it threatens their security.  Those who are elected officials begin to realize they cannot survive with large scale opposition.  Those who are appointed officials are also threatened, because our opposition threatens the elected administration that has put them in place.  It may be true that they will ignore our opposition to all actions that threaten the health of the American people, but we will be on record for standing on the side of the people, and as our opposition persists, and grows, if anything will make a difference, this will.

There is another piece to this – there are things that people do that indeed do help them – which is to keep repeating what they say, even if we say “don’t” – when we say “don’t take away our healthcare” we are actually calling forth the image of what we want them not to do – to take it away. When we repeat their tweets and their promises to repeal, we are actually emboldening them.  And so it is important to focus on what they do, not what they say. We will be posting suggestions for positive action regularly on the NurseManifest website, and also sending advocacy alerts like this one!  (note: we are sending email advocacy alerts to all who signed the Declaration of Solidarity and Resistance and included your email)

This question also inspired me to re-visit my post earlier this month – Guidelines for Resistance – guidelines that we are using as we offer suggestions for action.  Here again is the list of guidelines  (tweaked a bit) – to help sort out, as best we can, what actions can be effective.

1. Don’t use the name of the new President, and do not repeat his tweets, even in protest or in the negative (see the example below).
2. Remember this is a regime – he’s not acting alone; he has put in place many who have no interest in serving the needs of people for health and safety.
3. Do not argue with those who support the new administration –it doesn’t work;
4. Focus on his/their policies and actions, not his orange-ness, mental state, or wealth;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk
7. Support artists and the arts – pay attention to the comedians especially
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Think like a scientist. Check it.
9. Take care of yourselves; and
10. Resist!
One shining example of why #1 on this list is so important.  A few days ago DJT tweeted that the media is the enemy of the people – and in response, some in the media started the hashtag #NotTheEnemy.”  This hashtag simply brings to mind the image of the media as the enemy, and reinforces the damaging image in the initial tweet.  George Lakoff (the originator of the list above) called the media out on this and encouraged everyone to stop using the “enemy” hashtag and imagery – to use instead #ProtectTheTruth.  Even these very little things are vastly important!  So share your ideas and inspirations here – let’s keep the resistance going – and grow it!

One thing you can do – now


#NursesResist

All the talk about repealing the U.S. Affordable Care Act (ACA) is scary stuff for those of us who are concerned about those who would be harmed immeasurably if this were to happen.  Of course this is a U.S.-specific problem, but all countries face ongoing threats that weaken healthcare systems worldwide (for example, the U.K. “Brexit” initiative is a significant threat for their National Health Service). Here in the U.S. we are at least a bit encouraged by the signs that repealing our fledgling ACA may not be easy – that the voices of the people letting MoCs s (members of Congress) know that this is not a good idea – may be getting through.  However, as Rachel Maddow has been advising us for weeks now – watch what they DO, not what the say. In fact one of the most damaging things we can do is to repeat over and over what they say, which only reinforces their message.

So fortunately, we have folks stepping up to help us watch what they do, and giving us leads about what we can do about it.  When, just a few days ago, Tom Price, avid opponent of the ACA, became Secretary of Health and Human Services, put up a proposal to make it harder and more expensive to get coverage under the ACA, and also supporting DJT’s speakupexecutive order that gives insurers freedom to deny and limit benefits for those who already have it – most of the public had no way to know that this was happening.  The brand new DCReport.org, established by David Cay Johnston, is filling this void.  Read the report on the new ACA proposal here – Administration Moves To Block Access To Health Insurance.  Here is the action box that accompanies this report:

Citizens have until March 7 to weigh in on the new rule. Use the rule-making code CMS-9929-P in any correspondence.

Write: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services / Department of Health & Human Services / Attention: CMS-9929-P / P.O. Box 8016 / Baltimore, MD 21244-8016. The phone number is 410-786-7195.

You can also comment online. This link will take you to the text of the proposed rule. There is a comment button on the right.

Of course this is not a dramatic, showy kind of action, and it certainly will not remove the threat that our country is facing. But if nobody speaks up now, then this administration will be further emboldened to continue down a damaging path.  We can at least put them on alert by sending strong and clear messages that they do not have a mandate to continue.

We will continue to alert all NurseManifesters of actions we can take related to health and healthcare – but to stay alert for any issues that concerns you, follow DCReport.org, and other trusted news sources that help guide your own actions.

#ProtectTheTruth
#HealthForAll
#FreePress
#MakeJournalismGreatAgain

Postcard campaign – #Idesoftrump, #TheResistance


Nurses Declaration of Solidarity and Resistance

There is an organic, world-wide movement afoot to participate in a massive show of resistance to the new U.S. President – write a simple postcard with your message of resistance and mail it on March 15th. This is an opportunity for those of us who are nurses to join in sending messages affirming our support for world-wide health and opposing all that threatens health of the earth, and all that inhabit the earth. Check out the source I refer to below (The Daily Kos) below for details! Here is the basic information about what to do to participate:

Prepare for March 15th, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as #TheIdesOfTrump. Postcards are important here! Regular mail must go through content inspections that slow them down, whereas postcards don’t have such postal obstacles.
Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump ! Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donnie know how he’s doing. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.
Then, on March 15th, mail your messages to:
President (for now) Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
from The Daily Kos, February 7, 2017

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.