American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium

American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium

Source:

Wagner K. Session #100. Presented at: American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium; Aug. 29-31, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Wagner reports she is vice president of quality and patient safety for MidMichigan Health in Midland, Michigan.
August 30, 2020
2 min read
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Speaker: Nursing profession needs to overcome oppression to be empowered, gain respect

Source:

Wagner K. Session #100. Presented at: American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium; Aug. 29-31, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Wagner reports she is vice president of quality and patient safety for MidMichigan Health in Midland, Michigan.
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Nurses must overcome oppression – some self-imposed – to gain empowerment in their profession, a speaker said at the American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium, which was held as a virtual conference.

“Is nursing an empowered profession?” asked Kay Wagner, DHA, MSN, RN, during her Janell Parker Memorial keynote address. “Historically, nursing has been viewed as an oppressed profession. An understanding of oppressed behaviors may be the first step in overcoming the obstacles that prevent nurses from becoming empowered professionals.”

What hurts progress toward empowerment, said Wagner, is a lack of understanding why nurses are oppressed – and why it takes place among nurses themselves who lack self-respect. “There is a tendency at some point in time to become the oppressor,” she said. “We really have to understand the obstacles that prevent us from becoming empowered professionals; we have to understand where that oppression comes from,” Wagner said.

She cited Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator who believed “that every human is capable of critically reflecting on his or her world and transforming it,” Wagner said. “Freire said this conceptualization of empowerment is key to liberation.”

Kay Wagner

The lack of self-appreciation comes at a time when the demand for nurses is at an all-time high, Wagner said, citing federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data that show registered nursing as the top occupation in terms of job growth, escalating from 2.9 million nurses in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026.

The nursing workforce, however, faces a number of challenges, including a high percentage of retirements, a shortage of nursing school faculty and the increasing demands brought on by an aging population.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on nurses, Wagner said. “These are things that are stressing you,” she said. This includes a polarizing political environment “that is extremely intense right now.

“It’s no wonder we struggle with resiliency and feeling empowered.”

Wagner said nurses should look at what they do every day: treating any person who walks through the door. “I challenge us all to ask this question: If we can advocate for perfect strangers when they come into the ER ... why can’t we advocate for ourselves and one another [as nurses]?” Wagner said. “I think that’s a very challenging question we have to answer for ourselves.”

“Empowerment combines hope, excitement and energy,” Wagner said. “Today, it is time for a new paradigm in practice. We are an empowerment profession. We have to get to that level ... and have others see us in that way.”