Reflective Action for Social Change
The latest featured article in ANS is titled “Cultivating Praxis Through Chinn and Kramer’s Emancipatory Knowing” authored by Jessica Peart, BSN, BA, RN and Karen MacKinnon, PhD, RN. In this article the authors explain how emancipatory knowing provides nurses a formal structure to recognize the sociopolitical factors affecting wellness, while making evident the ethical imperative and central role of taking reflective action toward social change—the praxis of nursing. The article is available for download at no cost while it is featured, and we welcome your comments and ideas! Here is a message from Jessica Peart about this work:
What do we value as nurses? What is important to know in order to practise safely, competently, and ethically? These questions took on a new meaning when I started my Masters of Nursing program last year as I study to become a Nurse Practitioner.
My background—prior to my nursing career—as a community organizer laid the groundwork for seeing nursing through the lens of social justice. The perspective, skills, and knowledge I garnered through my community work is threaded throughout my daily nursing practice. In fact, they are integral to my “nursing toolbox” as a client and community advocate, in the critical empathy that I display supporting clients “on the margins”, and in my comfortability in the “grey” areas of our practice where nursing isn’t well represented by tick boxes or flow sheets.
But how do nurses, especially those pursuing advanced practice roles, develop competencies that forward the social justice lens that foregrounds our ethical practice when they came into their nursing role without a background in social justice work? Following this path of inquiry in my MN coursework led me to Peggy Chinn and Maeona Kraemer’s exploration of emancipatory knowing as a means through which nurses can better understand the socio-political forces affecting our clients and take action towards more equitable social relations. The mandate for nursing as social justice is clear, but the path we take to get there might not always be. I found that Chinn and Kramer’s emancipatory knowing can help nurses to shed a light in the directions we might take towards cultivating the reflective practice that we have come to know as nursing praxis.