The Nature of a Nurse
A while back, I wrote an article for Medium on what it means to be a nurse. This is one of the nerdier things you’ll find me posting on my site here. I am a woman of many facets and talents. I’m a goofball and a recovering academic. I can be quite serious or quite facetious. This is one of my more scholarly pieces. Enjoy, if you’re so inclined.
When I was a Ph.D. student in nursing, I began considering several aspects of my life in a new light and I started seeing philosophical underpinnings everywhere. Mind you, we were required to write paper after paper demonstrating our understanding of several different philosophical traditions but, regardless of being tasked to do so, I gained an appreciation for how there are myriad assumptions about life that we take for granted. One of these assumptions was about what it means to be a nurse.
I entered nursing school rather by default. I’ll be honest, there were a couple of years during which I believed I wanted to be a physician. I had started out with a psychology degree then, whilst volunteering in a psych ward, I concurrently volunteered in Emergency, and rapidly became more enamoured with the physical health sciences than mental health.
But how do we know that someone admitted with a GPA of 84% will make a ‘better’ nurse than someone with a GPA of 74%, and what is the difference between 74% and 73% that will make a difference in the success of a professional nurse? Is anyone truly qualified to make such assessments of character, and how? Are we judging behaviour, instead, or just the ability to manifest what is needed in particular instances, such as the application or interview? If it were the latter, that ability could potentially be transferable to the clinical situation — being able to act in a certain way in a particular situation with any given patient — but we cannot easily measure or ask about this ability. Increasingly, applications are questioning a candidate’s ability to critically think and problem solve.
Please go to Medium to read the rest.