As many who follow this blog know, on January 30th we posted the Nurses Declaration of Solidarity and Resistance. In just 48 hours, we have received over 300 signatories, and a number of comments. By far the comments reflect enthusiastic support, as well as indications that nurses are starting action based on the commitments of the Declaration. But there are a handful of comments indicating opposition to the declaration.
The interesting thing to me about the comments opposing the Declaration is not the opposition, but rather the ideologically focused nature of the opposition with no explanation or indication of interest in engaging in reasoned discussion of the issues. And this is where nurse educators come in!
We are in the midst of a prime “teachable moment” for our entire nation, and our nursing classrooms sit right in the middle of it. We can ignore this moment, thinking that doing so demonstrates our “neutral” stance. To the contrary, ignoring this moment is a political stance – one that inevitably counts as consent for the values that are now threatening the health and well-being of those we are committed to serve.
For those of us who will take the opportunity of this teaching moment, each of us will find ways to do so that suit our own style. But regardless of approach, the teachable moment we have gives us a prime opportunity to focus on helping students to understand more than one side of the issues before us, and refine and skillfully express their own convictions, using arguments that “hang together,” that are cohesive, that show the validity and rationality of their position.
The NurseManifest “Declaration” can be used as a basis to focus on the very specific concerns that are addressed in any nursing classroom, taking real-life cases that illustrate the health issues of a specific patient population, and examine the ways in which the issues of our time are brought to bear on these very specific situations.
Let us hear from you – ideas for addressing these issues in your classrooms, anecdotes from your classroom, dilemmas that you face — let’s start a discussion that can help all of us do a better job!