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The Use of Postcolonialism in the Nursing Domain: Colonial Patronage, Conversion, and Resistance

Holmes, Dave PhD, RN; Roy, Bernard PhD, RN; Perron, Amélie BScN, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000311528.73564.83
Original Article

The current context in nursing requires radical political analyses to deconstruct the dominant discourses that map both the discipline and the profession. In response to the strong reaction to articles, which critically examined the evidence-based movement in health sciences, we believe that it is essential to offer a perspective that is capable of resisting the progress of such discourses, which currently prevail in nursing and thus shape our profession. We believe that the biomedical model/ideology is a form of colonial patronage that is becoming more and more influential in nursing. Such colonization takes the forms of powerful discourses (eg, evidence-based medicine) and institutional practices that pervade all spheres of nursing: practice, research, education, and administration. In previous articles, we have criticized this trend; consequently, the objective of this article is not to replicate our previous arguments but rather to demonstrate that to what extent a postcolonial approach to nursing constitutes an efficient tool for disrupting the colonizing effects of the biomedical discourse.

School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Dr Holmes and Ms Perron); and Université Laval Faculté des sciences infirmières Québec, Canada (Dr Roy).

Corresponding Author: Dave Holmes, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5 (

Dave Holmes and Amélie Perron would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for funding, respectively.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.