Transforming Metaphors: Engaging the Authentic Self in Nursing Education

By Kathryn Weaver.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Metaphors that teach the embodiment of nursing core values touch the souls of students and support them in their journey toward an authentic self amid larger cultural narratives which in some ways teach self protection and preservation rather than inquiry and transformation. As a nurse educator, I questioned how to promote awareness of such cultural narratives while guiding students toward compassionate care and civic responsibility. In response, I designed educational strategies using metaphors to spark reflective and transformative student self-development. In this paper, I share examples from my clinical practice and teaching, and discuss my analysis of undergraduate student-generated metaphors that fostered professional practice perspectives and knowledge development by challenging and changing negative dominant metaphors. Students find voice in art forms that convey personal meanings. This creative expression moves students to come to terms with inner tensions. What is previously “untranslatable” content becomes practically meaningful and these insights into otherwise unexamined values leave students feeling empowered. In my teaching, I reach inside the students, as Annie Sullivan did with Helen Keller, to transform fear to words that provide self knowledge which helps students engage in a similar kind of caring for their patients. I have learned that metaphorical analysis leads students to question superficial images in tension with core values, nurturing gentle transformations that enable students to hold themselves up as authentic practitioners.

Keywords: Metaphorical Inquiry, Transformational Practice, Nursing Education

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 12, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.482MB).

Dr. Kathryn Weaver

Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Weaver completed her PhD (Nursing) at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and postdoctoral fellowships at the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology and Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta. She is a Harrison-McCain Foundation Young Scholar, Associate Professor with the Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Associate Editor with Evidence-Based Nursing, and Nurse Psychotherapist with an independent clinical practice counselling women and adolescents suffering from eating disorders. Her teaching interests include qualitative research, psychiatric-mental health nursing, community development, and nursing ethics. Her program of research involves qualitative and mixed methods inquiry into individual and family perspectives of eating disorders and ethical sensitivity in professional-client relationships.


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