Dreaming in nursing

I woke up at 0430 this morning with my heart pounding. Occasionally this happens, I have a “nightmare” about nursing.


In this particular dream, I was working a night shift and at the end of the shift I was chatting with the nurses. I was getting ready for report, and I couldn’t remember seeing any of my patients; no names, no faces, no recollection at all. I began to feel anxious and I asked one of my fellow nurses, “Gee I hope I finished my charting” and she replied, “No I don’t think you closed out your charts.”

In a panic I ran to the charts. Of course in the dream they were not electronic, they were huge paper charts, perhaps as big as they could be about 6 inches thick, with hand written notes. I was trying to decipher the handwriting and figure out what was going on with a particular patient. As I read through the chart I realized I had not assessed this patient. I must have slept through entire shift. How could that be? Clearly from the diagnosis this patient would have needed pain medication, turning, toileting, and so on. Who was caring for this patient? I had nothing to chart and I realized that I would, at this last hour, have to go and check on all of my patients, assess them, check their meds, and then chart. My 5-year-old daughter arrived in the dream and wanted to play and I had to tell her no.


Somehow, I woke up and had to convince myself it was just a dream, nobody was harmed, I was safe in my bed. For the record, I haven’t work the floor since the late 1990’s, though I worked as a hospice nurse and taught clinical in the hospital until 2005. Around that time, I finished my PhD, and began to focus on just honing my skills as an educator while I had two babies and raised them into young children.

I have this type of dream several times a year. I suppose I could do a dream analysis, look for the Jungian archetypes, or focus on my own life-anxiety and how it is related to my work. But I am really wondering about here is the dreams that nurses have: the good, the bad, the sleep time dreams, and the awakened dreams.

What is it that our hearts desire in our practice? What are we “dreaming of” in nursing practice and education… and how do we get there? Do we find reward in a broken healthcare system and as the largest providers of healthcare in the nation, how do we take back our practices of caring and compassion? How do we partner with others to create change? How can we use the Nurse Manifesto created by Peggy Chinn, Richard Cowling, and Sue Hagedorn to our benefit?

I would love to hear nurses’ stories about what they desire. I myself wrote a story about what nurses experiencing versus what we desire and you can read about that here: https://nursemanifest.com/research_reports/2002_study/nurse65x89.htm

This story was recently published in Creative Nursing journal. I am also presenting this story and supporting nurses in creating a personal plan of action at the American Holistic Nurses Association Annual Conference in Virginia Beach, VA this June. I hope to see you there!

Redefining the meta-language of nursing science

Due to technical difficulties with my webinar last week I decided to make a recording of my presentation that is now available as a YouTube video. The length is just under 30 minutes. I hope you will join me for “lunch” or “tea” to experience the video, and share your thoughts and critique here or on the Advances in Nursing Science Journal blog.

This presentation covers some of the ideas from my recent paper “The Integrality of Situated Caring in Nursing and the Environment” published in the current issue of Advances in Nursing Science. I sincerely look forward to the dialogue that I hope this presentation and paper will provoke. Don’t be shy, please share your thoughts.

Future of Nursing

A landmark report on the FUTURE OF NURSING was issued last fall by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation.  There are four major recommendations:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through anNurse Symbol improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
  • Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
  • Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.
Each of these recommendations are framed in language that is well suited to public policy-making, but if we read these recommendations from a “Nurse Manifest” lens, they take on even greater importance!  Take, for example, the idea of “full extent of [our] education and training.”  If nursing education reaches the ideals that we have set forth in the “Manifesto” where education is concerned, all of health care could be radically re-invented!  

I believe that more nurses than we imagine have ideals about nursing that are very similar to the values that we described on the initial NurseManifest.com web site.  Let’s brainstorm ways we can better connect with the “Future of Nursing” initiatives going on all around the U.S., and keep these values in the forefront!

Academic Integrity: State of the Issue in Nursing

I was recently in an “all school” meeting at my University, where we offer courses via a variety of modalities. Some of the what I might call “more traditional” faculty expressed concerns about online learning and maintaining academic integrity. Having writerbeen an online student for both my MSN and PhD degrees, and having taught in nursing education programs online for the last 6 years, I must admit that I was sort of internally laughing at some of the concerns presented, such as “what if the person is not really posting their discussions?. “how can me be sure there are the student’s papers”, and “how do we know it is the student taking the exam?”. I mean we have to assume a certain level of academic integrity and honesty from our students, right?

But today I took pause when Peggy Chinn sent the following link to me from The Chronicle, which frequently discusses issues that Academicians face:


The article is written by a person who purportedly writes students’ papers for them for a fee. This is of course disturbing Continue reading