It is always a good day for a journal editor when there is too much material for an issue of the journal! This is exactly what happened with this issue of Advances in Nursing Science (ANS)! As a result, this issue contains “Health Equities: Part I.” “Health Equities: Part II” will appear in the next issue (37:4), along with articles that focus on the topic “Post–Hospital Nursing.”
The volume of scholarly work that has emerged over the past several years addressing social justice issues is remarkable and affirms the conviction upon which many nurses historically have built their practice. In the contemporary context of growing and serious inequities worldwide, and the health consequences that follow, this movement on the part of nurses is especially significant.
My colleagues, Paula Kagan and Marlaine Smith, and I have just completed the production of a text that is due to be published at about the same time as this issue, the title of which is Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis.1 In the Introduction, we presented elements of the concepts of “critical” and “emancipatory” that emerged from the works of the book's chapter authors. Taken together, these elements define the scope and nature of emancipatory nursing—a perspective that addresses the health outcomes of inequities. These elements are as follows:
* Challenging what is taken as “truth” or the “way things are.”
* Thinking and working “upstream,” addressing the root causes of health and social inequities.
* Examining and disrupting systems that advantage some and disadvantage others.
* Envisioning transformative actions that facilitate humanization, and putting these actions into motion.
* Bringing self-awareness and consciousness to one's work, focusing on one's own ability to engage in action for social change.
* Engaging communities to form actions and to develop knowledge that is grounded in the experiences and perspectives of those who suffer injustice.
The authors in this issue, and those whose work will appear in “Health Equities Part II,” provide interesting, inspiring, and thought-provoking works directed toward emancipatory nursing. These articles, and other contemporary nurse scholars whose work addresses issues of social justice, provide depth and breadth to expand nursing's disciplinary perspective that engages social justice as central to our social mission.
I invite you to follow our ANS blog (http://ansjournalblog.com), where each article in the current issue will be featured, along with a message from the authors who share background and insight about their work. Most important, you can comment, question, and engage with these ideas! We welcome your participation.
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN
1. Kagan PN, Smith MC, Chinn PL, eds. Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis. New York, NY: Routledge; 2014.