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TRANSFORMING PRACTICE with Families in Health Care: My Vision

ER with nurse
I have a burning desire as a family nurse to increase the capacity of nurses to practice with families. How can we help new and experienced health care professionals learn how to address illness suffering and family healing?

My dream for our community of family nursing is that we create, share, and disseminate knowledge about family nursing practice: what practice models are being used around the world? what knowledge exists about family assessment? what family interventions are being used and by whom? how do we differentiate between generalist and advanced family nursing practice? what family nursing knowledge transfer projects are being conducted in what practice settings? where are the Centers of Excellence in family nursing practice? etc.

One of the greatest urgencies is to have more family nurses join the “tribe” and use social media to share resources (see my recent Journal of Family Nursing editorial: Social Media and Family Nursing: Where is my tribe?).  If you have used a creative intervention with a particular population of families, or have program of research about family intervention, or have a research instrument that examines practice with families, I encourage you to build a URL address for sharing these resources.

I recently wrote an email to the newly formed Practice Committee of the International Family Nursing Association (of which I am a member) about my vision for how an international organization can help to TRANSFORM practice.  I am hoping that the Practice Committee will be excited about taking responsibility for a page or more on the IFNA website for the purpose of sharing resources and pointing to URL addresses and products that are related to advancing family nursing practice. For example, the recent IFNA listserv conversation about use of the “One Question Question” (Wright, 1989; Duhamel, Dupuis, & Wright, 2009) was an interesting exchange about the various ways this helpful question is being used in many diverse practice settings.

As an intermediate goal, I am hoping we might step out bravely and jointly create some Wicki documents or other media that describe/summarize a variety of family nursing models, family nursing assessment frameworks, interventions appropriate for use in generalist and advanced nursing practice, Centers of Excellence in family nursing practice, etc. We might also want to create a Wicki document or other media that points to the signal events that have shaped the development of family nursing practice knowledge in the world and invite some of the founding thinkers in family nursing practice to join this collaborative writing and documentation.

As a long-term goal, I am hoping that the Committee and our family nursing community might eventually synthesize and collate this family nursing practice knowledge and perhaps “package” it for IFNA members and others (similar to the ICN document by Schober, M. & Affara, F. (2001). The family nurse: Frameworks for practice. Geneva, Switzerland: International Council of Nurses or perhaps like the new Encyclopedia for Family Health (2011) edited by Marty Craft-Rosenberg and her colleague and published by SAGE). Of course these ideas don’t take away from the books, blogs, and articles that still need to be published by all of us about practice (assessment and intervention) with families in health care contexts.

My new motto: TRANSFORMING practice with families: One nurse at a time!

Janice M. Bell, RN, PhD