The year 2020 was designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. Undoubtedly, nurses and midwifes have played an integral part in health, medicine, and research. The National Academy of Medicine released a report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting A Path To Achieve Health Equity, commemorating the importance of nursing for the future of healthcare. In this blog I discuss why nursing science is fundamental to new pathways in nursing education.
The nursing field is one that is enormous and covers a wide range of dexterities. Nursing Science can range from bedside clinicians focused mostly on patient care to research scientists conducting research. Within the context of nursing education, there are a wide range of topics that any aspiring nurse should at least be familiar with, prior to enrolling in a school of nursing. With all of these types and levels of roles, it can be quite difficult to navigate a path for career advancement and education, particularly once you acquire a nursing license.
In most, if not all, pathways to nursing, the key word is science. Science is a vital part of nearly every procedure and practice in the profession. Unfortunately, the profession of nursing has not been clear on what Nursing Science is and how it should be applied on every level. This, in my opinion, is one of the pitfalls within nursing education. In addition, I have committed my life’s advocacy to raising awareness about nursing science, effectively Charting A New Pathway.
With every learning process, data and science are integral to mastery and prowess. As we navigate through a global pandemic, I believe a nursing science and research approach is becoming even more important in the nursing classroom. More specifically, this approach requires additional study, especially related to outcomes and implementation, to improve nursing education.
The amount of documentation on assessment, planning, implementation, and design in nursing is astronomical, but you will find little on the actual science of the aforementioned. To better understand the strengths and limitations of nursing and the science that defines it, we must be clear about what it is, any missing values, equitability of distribution, and whether or not students understand they are operating in a scientific field. Clear definitions, literacy, and background knowledge can be used to guide future educators, students, and institutions.
Research has always been clear that science matters. And it does. People and pundits talk about the resilience of nurses, using words such as: Character. Disposition. Grit. Growth mindset. Innovation. Emotional Intelligence. These are all skills needed in the grand scheme of things, but when a nurse is deficient in the science of the profession on any level, no amount of resilience will save a patients life.
Let’s face it, we need nurses. We need nurses who practice with culture, competence, and confidence.
Charting new pathways doesn’t have to include hardware and software upgrades; I believe that it simply can be a matter of communication.
Nursing science and education is a valuable asset to healthcare, medicine, and science. It helps the emerging nursing leader understand and enhance their processes, thereby saving time and money. From not being able to pass the NCLEX to deficiences in patient care, insufficient Nursing Science training can deplete resources and severely impact nurse retention and health outcomes.
Nursing Science matters. So does being clear about what it is.
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