How does the story of the Ugly Duckling in chapter four of the Pinkola Estes book relate to your OWN values, beliefs, experience and personal/professional understanding as a caring-healing, ethical nurse working with women?
I find the story of the Ugly Duckling intriguing and extremely validating for me. The story stresses on not giving up no matter the situation you find yourself in, rather continue pressing on until you realize your goals (Estes, 1992). The story holds so much for me because it is about the journey of self-discovery. We are currently living in a world inhabited by an increasing population plagued by homelessness, poverty, hunger, drug addiction, poor health status among other calamities. Women have greatly been impacted by these problems not only because of their gender but also because of the perception of being the inferior members of the community and thus, women, particularly those from minority ethnicities and racial groups, are often documented as having the highest rates of social calamities (Darroch & Giles, 2014)
As a female nurse working with women, I find my feet in both worlds; a female struggling to survive the harshness of contemporary society and as a nurse who is advocating for social change and transformation from the traditional prejudice and subjugation leveled against women. The story reminds me that I can embrace my ‘wild nature’ and pursue my beliefs that I can be a healer not only to other women in the community but also to myself. Through my education, I desire to learn about the fundamental relationships of various aspects of the world and hopefully give back the knowledge to the community not only in thought but also as a caring nurse working for women (Morrow, Hankivsky & Varcoe, 2007).
The story holds for me because I feel I am weird and different from those around me, in that I do not wish to contribute the society’s well-being as an act of repression but rather as an enjoyment of freedom. Consequently, according to my professional understanding, my education is paramount in contributing to the disruption of the existing social relations whereby oppressions, racism, and subjugation leveled against the minority groups is business-as-usual. Even though my individual efforts might not overcome the realities of the prejudices leveled against women and the minority groups, it is my hope that I will eventually find like-minded individuals and together we could achieve the changes we desire (Estes, 1992).
My values and understanding dictate that by being vague or making satirical comments on our brothers’ and sisters’ suffering only contribute to the ideologies of the dominant groups. Just like in the story where the swan preferred to be killed by one of its kind than the hunters and long winters, I would not support the majority’s stance that belittles the issues but rather oppose the traditional discourse that repress and disenfranchises the minority groups since the power to change the existing oppressions or identify the alternative standards lie within us, the oppressed population (Morrow et al., 2007).
How does the women's health theory read in chapter four of the course textbook "women's health in Canada" by Morrow et al. and the "Human science caring theory" by Dr. Jean Watson, both intersect with this story of the Ugly Duckling as it relates to women's health issues?
The recent developments in healthcare delivery have increased the responsibilities of the nurses. Thus, nurses often tend to neglect their caring attitude because the increased workload usually puts them in the taxing situation. Thus, Jean Watson developed the Human Science Caring theory to assist the nurses to learn and develop ways of coping with the job pressure and maintain their caring attitude (Watson, 1997). In her view, health care providers should not be fascinated and be over occupied with the recent technological advancements at the expense of providing care to the patients. Watson’s theory is based on the assumption that the nursing profession is a symbolic representation of knowledge, ideas, and experiences that are designed to illuminate a particular phenomenon. Watson (1997) believes that full health is not attained by simply curing the illness but rather through caring. Her ten carative factors revolve around nurses overcoming their daily obstacles brought about by the increased workload to adopt the caring theory in their daily activities. The theory emphasizes that the nurses should understand oneself and spirit to be able to accept the patients and develop a bond or relationship. According to Watson, health is holistic, and it requires an understanding of spiritual, physical and mental self. This perception relates with Este’s view in the story Ugly Duckling. Estes (1992), asserts that an individual tends to feel a renewed form of life and belongingness when their psychic acknowledgment and acceptance surrounds their spiritual identity. Consequently, she asserts that different people have different perceptions about health and thus, it is important that the nurses define healthy and non-healthy factors from the patient’s point of view to enable them to offer a proper care (Sitzman & Watson, 2013.
Despite the recent developments witnessed in health status and the continuous efforts aimed at providing culture sensitive healthcare services, Canadian natives, particularly women, continue to experience disparities and barriers to healthcare services. The longstanding health and social disparities highlight the economic and political injustices leveled against women. The recent postcolonial theories being introduced are aimed at disrupting the traditional inequities leveled against women that were created by colonization. However, the postcolonial theories seek to redress traditional issues such as racism; the theories have little impact on women’s health. Thus, the incorporation of perspectives drawn from feminist theories by some scholars is an effort to address the gap not addressed by the postcolonial theories by critiquing issues of postcolonial theories in relation to the interests of the oppressed groups. Women are greatly disadvantaged because of their social positioning, and thus they are often documented on the lower socio-economic gradients when different social phenomena such as gender and education interact together. Estes (1992) in the story of Ugly Duckling points out that the desire to belong to a particular group is sufficient to propel us to where we belong, thus, the postcolonial feminists’ theory stresses that the desires of the oppressed groups “produce insights that are intended to interrupt dominant discourses” about social injustices against the minority groups (Morrow et al., 2007 p.127). When examining the women’s health from a postcolonial feminist point of view, it directs us to the prejudices leveled against women through the various colonial laws and policies that the effects it exerts on the social determinants of health. The postcolonial feminist theories play an important role in policy formulation through highlighting the general socio-economic and historical factors that shape women’s health.
What might this mean for YOUR future caring-healing nursing praxis with women
Health care professionals are currently being bombarded with new health information on mainstream media regardless of whether they are interested to know them or not because the current technological advancements have made it possible for individuals to access information. This poses a challenge to nurses and thus the need to use and understanding of nursing praxis to advance the nursing knowledge. Consequently, nursing is demanding profession and the need to provide the patient with care thus the need for the use of praxis. Nursing praxis is a continuous reflection and evaluation of nursing practices to allow the refinement of present knowledge and future practices (Jonsson, Nilsson, Pennbrant & Lyckhage, 2014). These theories are crucial in promoting praxis in future since they contribute new knowledge on socio-cultural and economic dimensions of women health.
Darroch, F., & Giles, A. (2014). Decolonizing health research: Community-based participatory research and postcolonial feminist theory. The Canadian Journal of Action Research, 15(3), 22-36.
Estes, C. P. (1992). Women who run with the wolves: Myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. Ballantine Books.
Jonsson, B., Nilsson, M. S., Pennbrant, S., & Lyckhage, E. D. (2014). Praxis and Work Integrated Learning as Pedagogical Approach in Nursing Education.
Morrow, M., Hankivsky, O., & Varcoe, C. (2007). Women's health in Canada: critical perspectives on theory and policy. University of Toronto Press.
Sitzman, K., & Watson, J. (2013). Caring science, mindful practice: Implementing Watson's human caring theory. Springer Publishing Company.
Watson, J. (1997). The theory of human caring: retrospective and prospective. Nursing science quarterly, 10(1), 49-52.