Creation of advanced practice nursing role for clinical nurse specialist working with the homeless population

Date

2012-09-04

Authors

Monteiro, Andrea

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Abstract

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson The words proffered by Williamson were repeated by Nelson Mandela in one of his eloquent speeches. These same words have echoed in my soul since I came across them a few years ago. In this project, I have chosen Williamson’s inspiring poem to guide my reflection on the leadership role for an advanced practice nurse (APN). How can APNs “let their own light shine”? Where should we shine our light? There is an increasing need for nurses to shine, in ways such as sharing their expertise in the political arena, sharing their knowledge through nursing education, participating in policy and decision-making, influencing health care and guiding service delivery (McIntyre, Thomlinson, McDonald, 2006). However, letting their light shine does not correspond to being expert leaders. By working with clients, nurses in advanced practice have learned about their struggles, and the necessity to fearlessly advocate for clients’ needs as well as for nursing issues. In addition to letting our own light shine, we grow to be leaders who inspire other nurses to let their lights shine as well. Our lights shine by identifying needs in our communities and by addressing these needs through nursing’s unique contributions. Through this project, I have identified the lack of APN leadership in the work with the inner-city homeless population in the city of Victoria, British Columbia. As advanced practice nurses, our light can shine through questioning the status quo and taken-for-granted practices, and by refusing to conform to nursing practices that are oppressive to clients as well as nurses.

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Keywords

advanced practice nursing, homelessness

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