Following a long period working as an academic, then a senior manager, I decided to return to clinical practice – the floor. Colleagues and peers reacted negatively when I told them; “You are too good for that; what a waste; you will be bored; I give you a month”, are examples of comments received. Perhaps, I viewed practice through rose-coloured lenses, but when I last worked clinically, admittedly a longtime ago, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed patient interactions, the support I received and friendships made. I loved the mental challenges, the problem solving, the critical thinking, being able to multitask and, most importantly, making a difference to patients. Going back to the floor was a decision not taken lightly. After 16 years out of clinical practice, I faced a significant reduction in earnings, loss of autonomy and, it appeared, loss of status. Performance anxiety plagued me; I worried I would not be accepted by colleagues and peers. Yet I was positive I was making the right choice, after 16 years out of practice, I felt disconnected from the realities of the clinical world, disconnected from patients and the need for reconnection was strong. The comments made by nurses, made me question my decision to return to practice. I started to explore if going back to the floor was a positive career choice. I started to analyse and reflect why nurses frame clinical nursing, the very essence of nursing, so negatively. In this presentation we deconstruct the discourses underpinning clinical nursing practice, and look to open these up for analysis and examination. Through this deconstruction we aim to illuminate assumptions underpinning the profession of nursing to see them for what they are – taken for granted, outdated beliefs that construct a negative picture of caring and serve to disempower nurses.
2016 National Nursing Forum: The Power of Now, Melbourne, Australia 26-28 October 2016
2016 National Nursing Forum Program and Book of Abstracts / pp.46