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Commonalities in Nursing Perspectives among Six Countries/Regions


Our current featured ANS article is titled “Commonalities in Nursing Perspectives Among 6 Countries/Regions” authored by Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN; Reiko Sakashita, PhD, RN; Chia Chin Lin, PhD, FAAN; Eui Geum Oh, PhD, RN, FAAN; Hsiu-Min Tsai, PhD, RN, FAAN; Wipada Kunaviktikul, PhD, RN, FAAN; Lian-Hua Huang, PhD, RN, FAAN; Hsiu-Hung Wang, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Linda McCauley, PhD, FAAN, FAAOHN. Dr. Im provided this description of the evolution of this work for ANS readers:

The idea of this manuscript started with a question from one of my PhD students who came from a different discipline (cannot remember exactly which discipline she came from). As I remember, the question was raised during a PhD class on how nursing is different from other health-related disciplines and what would be unique aspects of nursing research.  As a group, we had a discussion on many unique aspects of nursing research including our holistic approaches, our caring views, our unique contextual understanding, etc. At the end of the specific class, all of us agreed that nursing research would be different from other disciplines’ research because of these unique perspectives. Then, the specific student raised a question, “what is a nursing perspective?”  I remember that I talked about nursing scholars’ historical discussions on nursing perspectives (e.g., its foci on human beings as a whole, understanding human experience in different stages of health, a practice-oriented discipline, a health-oriented discipline, etc.). However, after the meeting, I felt a dire need for defining a nursing perspective in this interdisciplinary world and thought about what I could do about it.  I suggested the specific student to do an independent study with me so that we could define a nursing perspective together through a systematic literature review, and she agreed to work on it.  However, due to her busy life as a PhD student, she dropped off from the project. Then, I have tried to revive the idea of this paper with several different PhD students, but the efforts with PhD students did not work after all. Looking back on it, it would be a very difficult task for a PhD student to define a nursing perspective even through a systematic literature review.

After a few years passed, I became to get involved with leaders from several Asian countries. Through international workshops and conferences, we became to get engaged in discussions on many different issues/concerns related to nursing across the globe.  Then, I proposed this project on nursing perspectives to the leaders.  All of us naturally became interested in this topic because all actually experienced the same phenomenon with an increasing number of interdisciplinary collaborative projects and witnessed the struggles of nursing students from other disciplines. 

As soon as we began to work on this project on nursing perspectives, this article was written very quickly and smoothly with the inputs from the leaders. This topic was a timely topic for all of us across the globe. All of us have been thinking of this topic throughout our career. Eventually, the paper became a very interesting paper that could reflect nursing perspectives across six different countries/regions. This paper includes only the themes reflecting the commonalities in nursing perspectives across the countries/regions, but we had other themes reflecting differences in nursing perspectives across the countries/regions.  Yet, since the purpose of this paper was to find out the essence of nursing perspectives that could cross the countries/regions, we just focused on the commonalities in nursing perspectives.

As discussed in the paper, nursing perspectives are circumscribed by cultural and historical contexts of individual countries/regions; nursing perspectives are inclusive of philosophical pluralism; nursing perspectives are women-centered and care-oriented holistic views; nursing perspectives are ethical and humane perspectives; nursing perspectives respect human beings’(persons’), families’, and/or communities’ own views and experiences; and nursing perspectives assume diversity in nursing phenomena.  While some of these characteristics of nursing perspectives were expected and discussed from the beginning of the project, others were identified later at the end of the project.  Interestingly, all of us agreed that nursing perspectives had more similarities than differences across the countries/regions.

Based on the findings on commonalities in nursing perspectives across the countries/regions, we made several suggestions for future nursing researchers while acknowledging the limitations of this work.  With historical evolutions and revolutions of nursing, the characteristics of nursing perspectives could change, but some essential characteristics will not change. Actually, these essential characteristics need to be retained throughout different generations of nurses. This paper provides some of these essential characteristics of nursing perspectives that we should keep across different generations of nurse researchers throughout the world.

The characteristics of nursing perspectives that we found and reported in this paper, however, may not be applicable to nursing perspectives in different geographical areas.  Maybe, a nursing perspective in African or South American countries might have different characteristics that are not included in this article.  Maybe, after some time has passed from now, our future nurse researchers who will read our paper would say that they need to work on what a nursing perspective is because the characteristics of nursing perspectives that we wrote in this paper may not be applicable to future nursing.  As we did for this paper, they would feel like that a nursing perspective needs to be re-defined with all the changes that our next generation would meet.  Maybe, at that time, some nursing activities could be delegated to robots and nursing researchers may think some main tasks/responsibilities of nurses in our generation would be obsolete and not applicable to their nursing phenomena.  I think our efforts to define a nursing perspective is not only a difficult task, but also a continuous task that we should take across time points and across geographical areas.

I want to say thanks to Dr. Chinn for this great opportunity to open a dialogue with my respected colleagues across the globe. I hope this blog could continue our discussions on what a nursing perspective is, and it could initiate international dialogues on nursing as a discipline within current interdisciplinary environments.  To conclude this blog, I am attaching a picture of roses blooming on my front yard.  When we moved to our new home, we thought these would be weeds, so we planned to eliminate these. However, as the temperature got warmer, these turned out be roses.  Maybe, some characteristics of nursing perspectives that we are currently thinking as obsolete would turn out to be “roses” in our future generations, which is the reason that we should continue our dialogues on nursing perspectives. Indeed, we never expected this COVID19 pandemic. This pandemic has obviously brought nursing care for patients with infectious diseases back to the center of nursing care, and might be making some changes in nursing perspectives across the globe.  We never know.

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