What’s nursing school for?

This might sound like a silly question, but I believe it’s the central question upon which nursing rests: What is nursing school for? 

Many of us can probably agree that it needs to change. But before we can make things better, we have to agree upon the purpose of school: What it’s for, and what it’s not for.

Unless we talk about what nursing school is for, it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to make nursing or education better.

After spending a lot of time in school, I’ve had many thoughts about what nursing school currently does, and what it should do. Surely you have ideas, too. Collectively we just need to muster up the courage to share them and bring them into existence.

Here’s a list to get us started.

What nursing school is for

  • To uphold the standards of nursing practice
  • To overcome the obstacles that get in the way of upholding the standards of nursing practice
  • To practice empathy, vulnerability, critical awareness and respect
  • To help people change what they can
  • To work collaboratively and independently
  • To follow rules and guidelines
  • To challenge the status quo
  • To embrace creativity and innovation
  • To lead change
  • To know about illness and disease
  • To know how to manage illness and disease
  • To know how to promote health and prevent illness and disease
  • To know the difference between upstream and downstream work
  • To have the knowledge and skills to work upstream or downstream
  • To assess before doing
  • To problem solve
  • To learn ‘doing with’, instead of ‘doing for’
  • To care about doing work that isn’t easy
  • To see the work that needs to be done
  • To believe our voice matters

Now it’s your turn: What’s nursing school for?