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Posts tagged ‘Donna J Perry’

Realizing the focus of the discipline of nursing

The final featured article for this important issue of ANS (Vol 42:1) relates the perspective of doctoral students who share the experience of discovering the vital importance of nursing’s underlying perspective as an underpinning for practice.  The title of the article is “Realizing the Focus of the Discipline: Facilitating Humanization in PhD Education A Student Exemplar Integrating Nature and Health” by Tara M. Tehan, MSN, MBA, RN; Amanda E. Cornine, MSN, RN; Rita K. Amoah, BEd, BSN, RN; Thin Zar Aung, BSN, RN; Danny G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN; Pamela J. Grace, PhD, RN, FAAN; Callista Roy, PhD, RN, FAAN; Kathleen A. Averka, BA; Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN. The four doctoral student authors of this article shared this description of their experience:

Our article, “Realizing the Focus of the Discipline: Facilitating Humanization in PhD Education” began as an assignment in our nursing theory class. When Dr. Perry asked our cohort of four to “apply a nursing theoretical lens to nature and health” never in our wildest dreams could we anticipate that the assignment would lead to this article. Each of us was still learning what it meant to be a doctoral student, all while balancing careers and families.

Dr. Perry encouraged us from the onset to be creative and to consider untraditional products for this assignment. This license to think beyond the boundaries of papers and presentations spurred reflection and thought from the beginning and allowed us the opportunity to integrate the various roles we lived. In hindsight a children’s book seemed an obvious choice. Our classmate, Rita, recently reflected on what this assignment meant to her as a mother:

 Being in a graduate school as a wife and a mother of three young children is very challenging and stressful in all possible senses – physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The guilt of not being there for my children and countless occasions of delegating parent conferences and my kids’ games and performances to my husband become overwhelming sometimes. Studies evince a significant negative relationship between work-family conflict and life satisfaction, work satisfaction, and family satisfaction. As interpersonal support from family increases, perceived stress in graduate education decreases as noted by Iniki (2018).

This scholarly work undertaken with my colleagues that yielded this publication brought the assertions above into reality for me as a beneficiary with my first-grade daughter as the supporting agent to mitigate stress. The choice of including my child in this project was pricelessly meaningful to both of us. I remember how my daughter’s eyes widened with gleam and excitement the day I invited her to help my classmates and me do a project. Her anthem to siblings and friends through the week was, “I’m helping my mom and friends in their school project!” My personal interpretation of those words of hers is, “My mom’s schooling is not depriving me of her after all; I could still have fun with her even when she’s doing schoolwork!” To this day, Yiedie and I still reminisce on our experience on the trip to take pictures for this project. The lovely memories of the day are etched in our hearts.

As we worked together creating the book, we realized how transformative this assignment had been. By applying nursing theory in general, and the unifying focus specifically, we came to understand nursing theory and knowledge not as a static framework but as a reciprocal guide that is generated from experience and in turn guides practice. More importantly, we experienced humanization and improved quality of life. It is quite possible the renewal that came from this assignment carried us through the remainder of the year!

We hope this article spurs faculty and students to consider ways to apply nursing theory in a way that is meaningful to them.  We truly believe that theory guided practice comes from knowing and embracing theory in a practical and personally relevant way. Finally, we applied the principles of the unifying focus to public health. In the future we plan to further disseminate the  book to encourage children to enjoy the wonders of nature.  We hope that nurses in all role groups and settings can consider how they can apply the concepts of humanization, meaning, choice, quality of life and health to their practices; for it is through these concepts that we differentiate our practice from those of other health disciplines.

Thin Zar Aung, BSN, RN
Rita K. Amoah, BSN, RN
Amanda E. Cornine, MSN, RN
Tara M. Tehan, MSN, MBA, RN


Iniki, F. 2018),”My Life’s in Shambles: Examining Interpersonal Relationships as a Moderating Factor in Reducing Post-Graduate Stress” (Electronic Theses & Dissertations Collection for Atlanta University & Clark Atlanta University. 131.

Willis DG, Grace PK, Roy, C. A central unifying focus for the discipline: facilitating humanization, meaning, choice, quality of life, and healing in living and dying. ANS Advances in Nursing Science. 2008; 31 (1) :E28-E40. Doi:10.1097/01.ANS.000311534.0459.d9

A Humanizing Model for Nursing Social Justice Action

The latest featured article from the current issue of ANS is titled “Exercising Nursing Essential and Effective Freedom in Behalf of Social Justice: A Humanizing Model” by Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN; Danny G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC; Kenneth S. Peterson, PhD, FNP-BC; and Pamela J. Grace, PhD, RN, FAAN. Using powerful personal narratives, the authors provide examples of ways they have broken through barriers, to exercise effective freedom and take specific social justice action within nursing.  Dr. Perry provided this description of their work:

It is increasingly clear that health is dependent upon multiple underlying social factors including environmental conditions, economic status, access to education, employment and a peaceful and participatory society.  These conditions are distributed unequally within our global community.  In this paper we discuss the nursing mandate to act for social justice and the constraints that prevent nursing from realizing this goal.   We argue that nursing has been impeded in addressing underlying socio-political issues that impact health because nursing has historically been positioned within an institutionalized medical paradigm.  We propose a model of nursing essential and effective freedom based on the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan as a framework for addressing barriers to nursing action for social justice.  And we share our personal challenges and strategies for addressing social justice as nurses working in various settings.


Knowledge for Nonviolent Social Change

Our featured article for the coming 2 weeks is titled “Transcendent Pluralism: A Middle-Range Theory of Nonviolent Social Transformation Through Human and Ecological Dignity” by Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN.  Dr. Perry identifies transcendent pluralism as a framework for advancing human dignity.  She further explains:

The social problems impacting health cannot adequately be addressed within the health care encounter or within traditional health care settings. Problems such as racism, social injustice and violence are rooted in the social structure and underlying culture. They must also be addressed at these levels. Nursing as a discipline has a critical role to play in the transformation of society. But to move in this direction we need to advance knowledge in domains such as peace building, social justice, human rights and environmental sustainability. Recently the United Nations released an important document, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This document includes 17 goals for sustainable development on our plant including health, peace and equality. Nursing has a critical role to play in this transformation. But to do so we must expand the horizons of disciplinary knowledge development. The article in this journal on transcendent pluralism provides one approach toward using knowledge for social change.

This article is available for free download on the ANS website while it is featured.  I invite you to read the article and return here to share your comments.

Health and Peace

The current Editor’s Pick article, titled “Peace Through a Healing Transformation of Human Dignity Possibilities and Dilemmas in Global Health and Peace” addresses the challenges of the premise that health is a bridge for peace.  The author, Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN, uses her research within the Israeli-Palentinian conflict as an exemplar of these challenges.  She provided this commentary on her work:

We needn’t look far to see the devastating effects of collective violence.  The daily headlines are filled with tragedies of war across the globe.  Harder to find are the stories of countless acts of peacemakers, struggling to build communities of good relations.  These groups often do not receive the recognition or support that they deserve.  Their actions are sometimes unrecognized and even disparaged because they challenge the very paradigms that perpetuate violence. Yet they continue the struggle for peace, despite obstacles and risks.One such example is the group Combatants for Peace which I discuss in my article.  The Combatants for Peace movement was started by Israelis and Palestinians who had been actively involved in the cycle of violence and who chose to renounce violence and work for peace. These photos from the Combatants for Peace web site illustrate some of their activities.”  I conducted a qualitative study with members of this inspirational group a few years ago that is reported in the book, The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Movement: Combatants for Peace. 

The research study with Combatants for Peace illustrated that members of the group experienced their own transformation and the transformation of those around them.  It was in their personal experiences of change that hope was born and kept alive.  This awareness of the possibilities for human transformation for peace is expressed in the words of one of the Palestinian members of CFP (Perry, 2011, p. 233).

“If I changed . . . the way that I’m thinking, maybe I could change others. . . I feel more powerful.  Really.  Because the power of the human being is in his mind and his ideas. . . if you could change somebody maybe you give him more power . . . He could be a better person.”We in nursing need to be part of this human transformation to build a healthier society.  My doctoral studies were inspired by the conviction that the knowledge gained would help me to help others in a new way.  Led by a concern for the many social problems impacting health, such as violent conflict, social injustices and human rights abuses, I felt that it was important to bring a nursing lens to increase understanding of these issues.  Through research, solidarity and advocacy we, as nurses, can partner with communities to help them create change that advances human dignity.

You can download and read this article at no cost while it is featured on our web site!

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