Promoting Praxis in Nurse Education

Evident throughout the pandemic has been the growing impact of the inequalities that exist.

With the burden of related illness and death being borne unequally (Stafford and Deeny, 2020). The final toll is yet to be determined. Nurse educationalists throughout recent decades, have sought to empower nurses to consider how, through their behaviours, they can challenge these inequalities, the effect of which threatens the very fabric of society. And yet, these inequalities are increasing, the gap widening. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to demonstrate how, through praxis, nurse educationalists can empower nurses, not only to critically analyse the impact of inequality, but also act to eliminate this most heinous of crimes against society.

Within nurse education, nurses are taught and equally encouraged to determine the impact of government policies on professional practice, and to do this using reflective models and portfolios, creating structure to often challenging, confusing and painful experiences. By adopting a praxiological approach to reflection, nurses can take this one step further and recognise their role in taking positive action to eliminate inequalities, the importance of critical dialogue being fundamental to this. Praxis, however, is not simply action based on reflection; but also ‘embodies certain qualities’ including ‘a commitment to human wellbeing, the search for truth, and respect for others’ (Smith, 2011). Therefore, in order to achieve praxis, the nursing profession must step away from the insistence of a still heavilyfocused emphasis on ‘banking’, an educational approach which, argues Rose (2017), has the ability to limit critical thinking, and advance towards one which, empowers nurses to become heutagogical or self-determined learners.  A process which, argues Hase (2014), encourages learners to have agency with respect to how, what and when they learn. Furthermore, as nurses begin to see collaboration as central to acting, they are afforded the opportunity to change the way they think about professional experiences and ultimately to decide upon what they want to achieve. This collaboration is undeniably a cornerstone of praxis.