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