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Commies go to church: a member of the Te Henga Section of the Marxist Nurses' Union has seen the light about Evidence Based Practice. And he's anxious to share his new-found knowledge with his comrades.

Nick from NICU has been acting a bit strange lately. We've been worried. He comes to our meetings of the Te Henga Section of the Nurses' Marxist Union and says things like: "Ahh ... a methodological blind alley" and "hmmm ... another first principle error". He nods knowingly and asks us about Chi Square Analysis confirmation of the reliability of our data regarding our discussion.

This is when we were talking about where to hold the annual grog-fest to celebrate the anniversary of John A Lee's denunciation of that class traitor, Michael Joseph Savage. So you can see, we had good grounds to be worried. So we asked him, what was up? Nick said he had at last seen the light, been bathed in the pure sun-rays of reason, that the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition had rolled away from his life, and the cleansing power of science had rid him of previous error. Oh, and did we want to come to church on Friday night?

Now, the Te Henga Section of the Nurses' Marxist Union has a policy of compassionate collectivism. This means that no matter how nutty we think our comrades are, we hop on board for the ride.

Patroness Erica preaches

So, there we all were. Louise the lecturer, Olga the Intern (she bought along Gertrude Steen--thank you Olga!), Pat the PSA Rep, Phil from Forensics. We all collected at the Chapel of the Church of the Blessed Cochrane Collaboration. Patroness Erica was the preacher for the evening. She started well. "Brothers and Sisters", she said. Now, as an aside, I have to say that whenever I hear that word "Brother" it takes me back to that night in the Astra Tavern when I had that rather unfortunate misunderstanding with a fellow patron about whose turn it was on the pool table. Things were looking ugly until I had a moment of incandescent insight and said to him: "Brother (that's the magic word, I believe), it's your table." We were then joined in a fraternal communion--a state of satori known only to men--until I ran out of money to buy the beer.

Erica went on: "We are here because of our shared belief in the sacred power of science. Here we bow down to the supreme power of the Cochrane Collaboration and the omnipotence of Evidence Based Practice (EPB). Research is our rod and guide, there is no other truth than that established by Randomised Clinical Trials and published in peer-referenced journals.

There is no action that is not written. No pulse is counted, no temperature is measured, no body is turned, unless is it reported, methodologically processed, critically analysed, published, put into the thesis or (here Erica hesitated, turned a little pale and seemed to want to vomit) dissertation.

The archaic notion of common sense

There are some (she continued) who say nursing is about common sense. Common sense! I spit on the word [Editorial note: actually "common sense" as used here, is a phrase. But it doesn't pay to get too grammatically pedantic in the middle of a sermon]. Common sense is a dangerous misunderstanding of how we should live our lives. Common sense went out with Hospital based nursing training!

We are modern, we are innovative, we are scientific. We are Evidence based, first, middle and last! With EBP we no longer have to think, we have the truth revealed to us.

If we do not research what we do, if we do not publish this research, no one will listen. No one will care.

There are those that say: look, Nurses have been doing research for years. There are miles upon miles (Erica's obviously a pre-kilometre gal) of shelving fitted with nursing theses, there are Nursing journals that, if stacked one upon the other, would not only reach to Mars but, if they were not there, would mean a million hectares of forest would stilt be standing. There are gardens left unweeded, there are wives and husbands (Erica's a pre "partner" gal too) without their tea cooked of a night, there are lives unlived, aspirations unattained, hopes and dreams unfulfilled, because of the voracious appetite and the inexorable desire for nursing research.

There are those that say: this is all in vain. Nurses stilt get the rough end of the stick. Nursing remains the ashtray into which the cigarette butts of the powerful are casualty stubbed. Well--I say we need to quantify how many cigarettes are put into those ashtrays! We need, as Nurses, to study, to devote our lives to, to submit to analytical and methodological processes to uncover and explore what is happening here!

Pat from the PSA exploded from the congregation at this point. He started to say something about Evidence Based Practice and the whole scientific paradigm being just another means of subjugating ordinary nurses, being a mechanism of bourgeois oppression and, anyway, the whole thing didn't make a lot of sense to him. We took him out and calmed him down. The Te Henga Section agreed that we should get a research project underway to look at this whole business.

That's the best option, don't you think?

Stern Warning:

Several organisations and individuals have been contacting the Te Henga Section wanting to be associated with the opinions and ideas expressed in this column. In a recent Special Convocation, the Nurses' Marxist Union agreed to this position statement: "Comrade Cottingham writes a bi-monthly column for Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand. While this activity risks dangerous individualism and threatens to develop o counter-revolutionary cult of personality, we affirm and bear testament to the column being for, by and from the Te Hengo Section of the Nurses' Marxist Union, and representing the ideas, opinions and positions of no other person or organisation."

Chris Cottingham, RN, BA, MEd, DipSocSci, PGDip (Hlth Sci) is a staff nurse working for a district health board that prefers not to be identified. In his spare time, he writes a bimonthly column of alternative (sometimes amusing or irreverent but always challenging) musings on our profession.
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Title Annotation:(A) MUSING ON NURSING
Author:Cottingham, Chris
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:1007
Previous Article:A life of service to nursing and the community.
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