Are we ready for the challenges of 2017?

There is one thing that seems certain for the coming year – we face a historically unprecedented time of uncertainty and unrest around the world. Many of the “norms” of mainstream cultures and structures seem to be rocked to the core. Undercurrents in our social fabric that have sustained inequality and injustice for many have risen to the surface, and demand our attention as never before. As nurse educators who seek to embed the values that are expressed through the NurseManifest Project, it is time for us to strengthen our commitments and find new, and even bold ways to address the challenges ahead

Below is a list  of things on my mind as we approach the new year – please add other ideas, and we will develop blog posts that address how we envision meeting those challenges!

As nurse educators, our practice/praxis must urgently focus on:

  • Overcoming the “isms” that have become so prominent in our public discourse (racism, homophobia, class privilege, religious discrimination to name few), starting with honest reflection on our own inner thoughts and feelings that enable us to participate in sustaining those “isms.”
  • Developing ways to promote interactions with our colleagues and students that model caring, that nurture and support health and wellbeing for all, rather than demean and diminish.
  • Learning and practicing ways to overcome hostile interactions, to communicate constructively with colleagues and students who disagree with our perspectives, to learn from their perspectives, and use our insights to learn, teach and promote health-promoting interactions.
  • Disentangling the confusion over what is fact and what is fake, what is science and what is fabrication.
  • Resisting the forces that maintain advantage and privilege for some, while sustaining disadvantage for others – in our classrooms, faculty meetings, homes, and communities.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas!  And look forward to expanding our network over the coming year in order to support all in meeting the challenges ahead!


  1. I think that I’d broaden your fourth point to ensuring that when we say we’re teaching critical thinking, we actually are, and that we’re doing it in a global fashion. By that, I mean that the skills we teach for evaluating orders and questioning them or for evaluating a journal article before citing it as support in a paper need to be part of an overall mentality of questioning everything and insisting on evidence before accepting anything. Too often, I think we fall into the trap of being overly task-oriented and reduce “critical thinking” to checklists that are very specific to certain situations, and that doesn’t actually teach critical thinking at all.

    I’d love to see some classroom exercises that utilize the sort of communication skills you mention. We don’t really address these sorts of communication issues in nursing education that I’ve seen. The closest that I’ve seen is bits on motivational interviewing, which at least addresses that nurse and patient may have very different goals from an interaction, but doesn’t really get at basic differences in perspective.

    • Excellent ideas! I especially like the idea of some exercises to help people learn the communication skills we all need. I have used Suzette Elfin Hayden’s work on the gentle art o verbal self defense – but will look into this more!

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