School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Calling Me Political is NOT an Insult

I welcome a civil dialogue about why nursing would be better positioned if we embraced the power of taking stands that some deem political. This post comes after a series of comments criticizing me for being political. My response is that calling me political is not an insult. Being apolitical disempowers our profession and puts us in a position of servitude and quiets our voice in the public square.

Nursing is political, even radical because we have a license to touch people. That is about as radical as you can get. Even more reason for nurses to embrace the political nature of our profession and leverage the power in the scope of our practice to speak out about issues that impact health. Did we need “permission” to be political? 

What does it mean to be political in nursing? Perhaps we need to redefine the term “political” that so many have distanced themselves from and create one that we can embrace as a profession. So, this is my attempt to restart this discussion, recognizing that we have visited this issue many times before this blog post. I am not discovering anything new and I recognize that fact.

When we view the term political through a nursing lens, the possibility to influence policies that impact health becomes clearer. Almost five million nurses influencing policy sounds like a powerful lobby for the greater good. Maybe it is simply viewing being political as a vehicle for policy change? Embracing the emancipatory nature of nursing practice with each new generation is vital.  Nursing is inherently about social justice, advocating for the most vulnerable is second nature. That is political, in its purest form. 

As my #TwitterFriend Jerry Soucy says:

Nursing is:

Political action

Intelligent care

Public service  

We have a social, ethical, and professional obligation to care for the health of our nation. Nurses have a unique vantage point.  We are multifocal, simultaneously assessing through a magnifying glass and a wide-angle lens. Speaking from the lens of a nurse activist, I invite my five million colleagues to try on the “cap” that nursing is political and see where it leads. 


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