Monthly Archives: April 2009

“…it [philosophy] keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect.”

(Exploding star with cosmic pearls)
(Bertrand Russell, “Problems in Philosophy: The Value of Philosophy” in Laurence BonJour and Ann Baker, Philosophical Problems: An Annotated Anthology (New York: Pearson Longman, 2005), 37.)

“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” (John Kenneth Galbraith, economist).

The 21st century is here! Time to get out of our theoretical and philosophical ruts and get on with progress! There’s no time for idle thought, for being comfortable with the “conventional wisdom” that perceives revolutionary timekeeping as a function of watch gears. As functional and beautiful as they were in their time, their utility reached its apex long ago. No doubt it served centuries of people, but today’s time is marked by microprocessors, not watch gears.

How will nursing move into the microprocessor world? By finding more durable materials for their watch gears? By redesigning the watch casings into something more modern? Through a publicity campaign to maintain the “conventional wisdom” of watch gears?

In all these options the “conventional wisdom” is furtively retained. We are in a new era now. The time of microprocessors, of digital media, of micro-second communication, nanotechnology, quantum dynamics, and gene manipulation has arrived, which makes even Dick Tracy’s watch obsolete.

Nursing’s philosophical and theoretical progress in the future will come about not by refurbishing its antiquated watch gears, but by gently setting aside any archaic times on the shelf for safekeeping, as reminders of our beginnings, then blazing ahead into the microprocessor world. Wisdom and discretion will guide. Shall we be labeled iconoclasts in so doing? I don’t think so, and our heirs won’t think so, either.

(photo of aspartic acid, an amino acid….essential for life)

We take our interpretive cues for communication from multiple factors and it is certainly no different in nursing. The holistic focus within nursing, though, entails an ethic of communication for which I coined the neologism, “vitalogue”© (dialogue of life), which conceptualizes the overarching metaphysic of holistic life.  Reality’s perspectival dimensions sets communication’s stage for “vitalogue”© between nurse and client. This “life-talk” is the fundamental focus of our encounter with our patients as we intervene meaningfully in the nurse-client relationship. We seek to speak and act and communicate in a way that meets our client’s needs and desires within the ethical framework of seeking the best for their well-being. It’s not the words, per se, that are powerful, but the ethics of goodness, patience, kindness, and gentleness that powers “vitalogue”©.

In the end, it is the ethical relationship that empowers communication. Maybe you find my neologism cheesey. That’s okay. Sometimes I think it sounds a little corny, too. But I like the concept behind it.

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