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Editorial tars all educators with the same brush.

AS A nurse, nurse educator and long-time NZNO member, I feel strongly compelled to reply to co-editor Teresa O'Connor's editorial "Nursing education--Time for a Rethink?" published in last month's issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.

In this "gloves-off" attack on the responses of nurse educators, leaders, and for that matter, nurses in general, to current problems in nursing education, we are all seemingly tarred with the same brush. That is, we are guilty of being silent when we should have spoken up against the "health, educational and industrial reforms of the last decade", being be holden to "the fiscal and management imperatives of their institutions", and not delivering the goods on "critical thinking, professional advocacy, and debate and reflective practice". Well, what a bloody cheek!

I cannot speak on behalf of all nurse educators, and would be most unwilling to try to defend some of the obsequious ideologies of at least some of the current crop of "nurse leaders", but I can at least speak on behalf of a handful of dedicated nurse educators personally known to me. They have indeed spoken out against some of the more dreadful elements of "health care reform" in recent years; they have challenged certain aspects of the chilling Orwellian madness that currently threatens nursing education, and they have consistently promoted professional nursing advocacy and the like at every opportunity. In this regard, I could name a significant number of courageous colleagues in both nursing practice and education who, with similar ideas to my own, have been openly ridiculed or disregarded because they dared to challenge the self-serving and elitist manoeuvres of a handful of power hungry and self-erving groups within nursing's hierarchy.

I, and those colleagues previously noted, have tried our very best over the years to hold out against some of the most damaging excesses of the "windows of opportunity" brigade, and faced frequent alienation and several rebuffs for doing so. Indeed, we have even continued to defend NZNO when that organisation itself did not seem to be doing a terribly magnificent job of shielding those who tried to hold onto core nursing values by speaking out on our behalf as clearly and forcefully as it should. In short, those nurse educators who have not adopted "the brave new world" position in nursing education have not deserted the cause or remained silent, even when left largely unsupported and clearly unrecognised by the very organisation (and its journal) that should always be ready to defend them. That any of us continues to hold out and say anything at all is surely worth at least a small mention?

So, in response to your claim that nurse educators have been "silent" in all of this, and speaking now mainly from my own perspective, please at least firstly consider the following advice before publishing any more articles like the last one:

* Pre-read back copies of your own journal (i.e. Woods, M. [1998] Challenging the ideology of the New Right. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand; 4: 8, 26-27).

* Check out the nature of the comments and representations made by nurses and nurse educators either directly (to KPMG) or indirectly (ie Woods, M. [2002] Dissecting a brave new nursing world. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand; 8: 10, 20-22) to the dreadful KPMG Report on Nursing Education.

* Consider the content of the presentations at your own affiliated conferences (ie Woods, M. [1999] The development of ethical nursing values within the health care context. Paper presented at the Nursing Research in Aotearoa/New Zealand Conference).

* Read at least your own international sister journal (ie Woods, M. [1998] Nursing ethics: the challenge of new directions in healthcare policy. International Nursing Review; 45: 4, 107)

* And, finally, give at least some of us a little credit and support for trying to hold the line against the mounting odds. If, as you say, "the nursing bully remains unchallenged", then for goodness sake, please don't bully your own kind.

Martin Woods, RGN, BA, MA

Palmerston North

Co-editor and editorial writer Teresa O'Connor replies: I unreservedly apologise to Martin Woods and all those nurse educators who have voiced and continue to voice opposition to prevailing ideologies in nursing and nursing education. There are always honorable exceptions when generalisations are made and I am sorry I did not acknowledge them in my editorial.

But as Woods' letter so eloquently states, all is not well in the world of nursing and nursing education. It behaves us all--educators, leaders, practitioners, researchers and commentators--to engage in meaningful debate to ensure that those who choose to enter the profession are rewarded with the best possible education to prepare them for practice.
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Title Annotation:letters
Author:Woods, Martin
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:773
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