ContemporaryIssues in Nursing
Myoverall reaction to the Buresh & Gordon [CITATION Bur13
l 1033 ]reading is one of general agreement. In the first two chapters of thebook, the authors begin by examining the state of the modern daynurse within society whereby they note that most people andinstitutions are unaware of the role of nurses. In this regard, thenursing profession has so far been undermined and underrated,and is typically considered by the populace as more of a support rolewithin healthcare systems, as compared to professionals such asphysicians. The only way therefore for this attitude and perceptionto change is with action from the nursing community itself. As notedin the book title, and as further highlighted in the first twochapters, nurses have a significant role to play in enhancing publiccomprehension of and support for the nursing profession via publiccommunication and sustained action. Therefore, it is necessary forthe public to be highly informed on the specific role of nurses if atall administrators, policy makers, and legislators are to be expectedto allocate ample financial resources in support of nursing.
Thereare a number of points raised by the two authors that I wholly agreewith. The first of these concerns the relationship between publicperception and support for the nursing profession. The authors notethat the lower the public perception or comprehension of the nursingprofession, the lower the levels of support for this profession. Thereason this point rings true is because positions of influence withinsociety are occupied by members of the public, and therefore,institutions and entities are extensions of the public. Therefore, ifthe populace within a region has a low understanding of nursing andthe role of nurses, then hardly can this profession receivesufficient support from the people themselves, as well as relevantentities such as government, regulatory bodies, learning institutionsand such. The second, related point that the authors raise concernsmisconception regarding nursing in the public space. As noted by thenumerous examples given, for example, the documentary film Livingin Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Borders,nurses are often taken for granted within the healthcare industry.With regards to the earlier mentioned film, even though nursescomprise a majority of the volunteers in the MédecinsSans Frontières [Doctors without Borders] organization, one would never know suchfrom watching the film. Instead, the film and the name of theorganization itself seem to suggest that either physicians are theonly personnel that matter or are the only ones involved [ CITATION Hop08 l 1033 ].
Sincethe authors note therefore that silence is a threat to nursing, theysuggest that individual nurses should develop a “voice of agency”that will accurately represent the experiences of illness as well asthe experience of those caring for the vulnerable and sick. Agencyrefers to the condition of or capacity for acting or exerting power.Therefore, developing a voice of agency consists of learning how toconvey the message that as a nurse, one is present and they are doingsomething important. One time that I developed a voice of agency waswhen I stood up to a patient’s family member for suggesting thatthe role of nurses within the ward is ceremonial, and that onlyphysicians are required. I informed the man that it is the work ofthe physician to cure, while it is that of the nurse to care.Furthermore, running a ward and caring for the patients withinrequires careful inquiry and experience just like any other art, andnursing concepts do not come by inspiration.
Buresh, B., & Gordon, S. (2013). From Silence to Voice What nurses know and must communicate to the public (Third ed.). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Hopkins, M. N. (Director). (2008). Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Borders [Motion Picture].