NURSING KNOWLEDGE IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC
As this issue of Advances in Nursing Science (ANS) goes to press, the world is experiencing the overwhelming experience of a pandemic—a global event that has affected all peoples, all nations, and all communities in dramatic and irreversible ways. While it is still too early to see relevant scholarly articles appearing in journals such as ANS, this event is leaving a significant “mark” on nursing as a practice and as a discipline, and we can anticipate major outcomes in terms of both practice and theory in the months and years ahead. Nonetheless, even the current experience of reading scholarly literature, including the articles in this issue of ANS, will be influenced by the “lens” of this experience.
I urge you, as a reader, contemplate the meaning of our shared pandemic experience informed by the legacy of our nursing heritage—the theories, models, and philosophies that form the foundation of our discipline. Since March 24, 2020, the Nursology.net Web site (https://nursology.net/) has provided weekly posts that focus on nursing theories that inform nursing practice during the pandemic. The first of these posts, aptly titled “Your Well-Being as a Nurse and the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Chloe Litzen foretold the unprecedented challenge that nurses are facing in protecting their own well-being and health as they seek to care for so many seriously ill patients. During the month of May, 2 posts pointed to the significance of Florence Nightingale's insights that are just as pertinent today as when they were first written—a tribute to this in the 200th year since Nightingale's birth.
A notable fact about this pandemic for nurses and nursing in the United States is the blatant inequalities in health and health care that are laid bare and that cannot be denied. The disproportionate effect of the virus in disadvantaged communities can no longer be denied, along with irrefutable evidence of the importance of public health policies and practices that are required to address all aspects of a major health crisis. Nursing as a discipline has a long history of commitment to the ideals of public health and illness prevention. It is now time for nurses everywhere—practitioners, scholars, administrators, policy makers, and students, to step up and work with the hosts of others worldwide to change the course of this pandemic. As we move through this experience, we will gain insights and develop new ways of addressing a challenge such as this. Nursing will never be the same, but we have a firm foundation on which to build!
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN