Conversations on a Prairie Path

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bio info for nursing instructor and theorist, savina schoenhofer

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  • Heidegger, a phenomenologist philosopher, wrote a discourse “On thinking” titled Conversations on a Country Path . For Savina Schoenhofer a nurse scholar, theoretician and researcher in the school of Heideggerian hermeneutics, choice of the title of this essay seemed appropriate.
  • There really isn’t an end to this path, the path of thinking and searching out meaning, but I will describe a journey for you between two points along the way. The first is the Amazon region of Brazil: not an ordinary place to find a young married woman, raised on a Kansas cattle farm with eight siblings. But it is here that seeds were planted that would provide yield over the next forty years. The other point on this path is Jackson, Mississippi, a two hour drive to Natchez, the campus of Alcorn State University. Alcorn is not a university with a high profile, but Savina Frances O’Bryan Schoenhofer (rhymes with conifer), an author of one of the most contemporary grand theories of nursing, provides it with an international reputation, while living in Jackson and doing most of her teaching of graduate students online. You may still wonder about the title of this presentation, since neither Brazil or Mississippi are on the prairie. While our email dialogue began last November, the conversation really began 25 years ago when we were both students in the master’s program in nursing at Wichita State University in Kansas. She was 13 years my senior and we were together in only a handful of my classes, but I recall having substantive conversations and hearty laughs with her as we sat out in the hallway waiting for class to begin. Two decades passed and we had no contact until an unexpected email arrived last November. I had joined a Nursing Philosophy listserv out of England last October, chaired by John Paley, a provocative author of several recent nursing philosophy articles. I posted a response to a question John posed, “What is ontology and why would I want one?” Schoenhofer was on the list distribution, saw my name and wrote, It is delightful to hear your name again….Where are you now?  Do you remember me from Wichita State? I am now at a small historically black school in Mississippi, teaching almost exclusively online and loving life! …I have taken quite a different direction since leaving WSU...you may run into some of my work on the theory of Nursing As Caring, a theory I developed with a colleague in Florida, Anne Boykin.  Take a look at our website when you have a moment:  http://www.nursingascaring.com (11/7/02)
  • What a surprise it was for me to look at her website and discover that the NLN had just published a book she co-authored and she also had a bibliography several pages long. It took me awhile to respond. We began an active correspondence in January, trading a couple of emails most weeks, with a brief face to face reunion in March. I didn’t ask her to be my ‘selected scholar’ though until late March. The boundaries of the roles of mentor, friend, and ‘object’ to be studied weren’t comfortable to me until after reading one of her articles related to research as praxis, with the researcher being within the experience (Schoenhofer, 2002). After that I was able to settle on “Conversations on a Prairie Path” as a way to give voice to her model of scholarship and thought given on the meaning of nursing. It took some persuading for her to talk about achievements; she was seemingly more comfortable empowering me. Once she agreed, she answered the most personal of questions with depth, honesty and reflection, providing us with a model for meaningful nursing scholarship.
  • It is easy to describe Schoenhofer as a scholar by her positions: she is a Peer Reviewer for Nursing Science Quarterly and the Journal of Professional Nursing, member of the Board of Directors for the International Association for Human Caring, Professor in the Department of Graduate Nursing, consultant to a school in the Phillipines (see last page of handout for a list of achievements.) Or she could be identified as a scholar by her prolific substantive publications: three books, chapters in seven others, and over 20 journal articles (again, see the handout for complete list). She could also be labeled as a scholar by her creative, original work in theory development as she is also a co-author of one of the most contemporary “grand theories” of nursing, Nursing as Caring and subsequent articulation of an applicable research method. In studying her as a scholar I deliberately did not ask to see her CV or critique the theory, wanting instead to focus on the choices she made and her development as a scholar and as a pathfinder. This brief presentation will review her scholarly characteristics, and highlights of her journey and thought development.
  • According to Parse, the three processes involved in scholarly activity are "a perpetual curiosity, a focused commitment, and a willingness to risk challenge" (Parse, 1994). Schoenhofer displays all three of these attributes , as well as
  • … those described by Meleis as characteristics of scholars in nursing, which include demonstrating “a passion for making a difference, dismantling old patterns that are based on unequal power and reconstructing patterns that are based on equity, resources, shared power, and on collaboration in decision making,” (Meleis, 1997). Meleis continues by stating that scholars in nursing must also use the approach of “promoting cooperation and collaboration over competition and separation,” again a hallmark of Schoenhofer’s approach, as well as showing leadership to “develop critical and reflective thinking in students, academicians and clinicians” (Meleis, 1997)
  • What I have enjoyed most on this path is how she doesn’t ‘preach’ scholarship, she demonstrates it. I am not certain that her scholarship has been compared to that of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood before, but perhaps she would approve, regardless of what Boyer, Meleis or Parse may have to say. Her gifts as a theorist, nurse, psychologist, writer, educator, researcher, poet, interpreter of nurses’ inner lives is reminiscent of Fred Roger’s multiple talents as composer and puppeteer, ordained minister, child psychologist, amateur photographer, lover of the outdoors, interpreter of young children's inner lives. (Spitz, 2003) They both use their multiple talents to create connections of simplicity and wisdom that intermingle the cognitive, emotional and aesthetic lives of their target audience and possess a serenity that is often absent in contemporary culture. Watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood with my children I noted how he attended to the details of teaching and learning without fanfare: such as knowing how difficult it is for children to learn how to tie their shoelaces, he would tie his own at the beginning of every show. Never saying “watch and see how to do this” instead the camera just zoomed in as he changed into his laced shoes. Likewise Schoenhofer has not didactically said “you must do it like this” but instead she shares correspondence connecting with the international nursing community, demonstrates careful critical thinking and analysis of concepts and logic behind claims, provides incredible accessibility to all levels of nurses around the world with an online discussion board, and generally lives the concepts of her theory
  • She never planned on being a nurse. It happened sometime after leaving Brazil, but it was here that a nursing archetype was established, “… when I was in Brazil, I worked in an ambulatory clinic with a BSN-prepared nurse who ran the clinic, saw the patients in the clinic and in the homes in the community – a squatter slum in a large city on the banks of the Amazon. This nurse was like none I had ever seen or heard of…she was educated, she was broad in her thinking, she was extremely creative and not at all "procedural" in her work with our clients, she was truly "their nurse" and I loved how I saw her being nurse…still not thinking of nursing for me but just so admiring of her…and when I decided to stick my toe in nursing, it was her practice style that I intended to emulate. Her name is Ann Nenninger Ashjian and she is a retired Army colonel now. [Schoenhofer email to Kathy Elliott, June 2002 (Elliott, 2002)]” Schoenhofer has described three nurse mentors as having a major influence on her career, with Lt. Col. Ashjian listed as the first, presenting an inspiring model of nursing (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001a).
  • Following a Catholic upbringing Schoenhofer was in Brazil working for an organization, Papal Volunteers for Latin America, a group that presaged the Peace Corp and did general community development work. There were many reasons in 1963 for beginning mission work to Brazil. The Cold War was settling in, the Soviet Union was sending arms to Cuba, and there was a general fear of the spread of communism throughout Latin America.  The Papal Volunteer program was founded to provide means for lay people to respond to the missionary call of the Pope to reach out to Latin America to build peace and address the extreme disparities and poverty.  The spirit of activism and “making a difference” took hold in Savina, “ ..the whole experience was a turning point of my life in several ways...our training program, held at Seton Hall in NJ, consisted of studies in geography, culture, economics, and liberation theology...in fact, the whole approach was very much Freire-like...it was the time of Pope John XXIII, Vatican II, aggiornamento, and that whole spirit...so that's where I was first introduced to Teilhard, Ivan Illich and other similar thinkers, and when I came back to the States after 3 years and started back to college, was very much into a zeitgeist that was born in the '60's. (4/21)”
  • After three years in Brazil, she returned to the States, and at the age of 29 returned to college at Newman University, soon transferring to Wichita State University. The psychology major soon also changed to a double major in nursing, “… my husband took sick with what was thought to be lung cancer. I knew I would probably become the sole support of the family (just the two of us and probably eventually just myself)…at the time I was taking a child psych course and there were a number of nursing students in the course…they encouraged me to apply for the nursing program, and because I thought I might need to be marketable sooner than later (I realized I would need to get a PhD to earn a living in psychology), I decided to take a double major, never expecting to really "be" a nurse but just to have the credential and the entry level job skill if my economic situation ever brought me to that need. My own "reason" for entering nursing is what helps me stay calm when other faculty are going off the wall about the "mercenary" attitude of today's nursing students…I know from experience that what draws one in is not necessarily what keeps one in! And sure enough, in my first semester in nursing, I had wonderful role models and mentors who showed me that nursing wasn't just a "job" one step up from waitressing, but was a genuine discipline and a professional field of practice. [Schoenhofer email communication to Kathy Elliott, June 2002 (Elliott, 2002)]” Savina became a voracious student, completing two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and a doctorate within a time span of 14 years, during which time she also worked and became a mother. She started graduate school at Wichita State University shortly after graduation, and became acquainted with faculty member Marilyn Parker, RN, Ph.D, who became a primary mentor she has described as being influential “in the ideas of nursing as a discipline, the academic role in higher education, and the world of nursing theories and theorists” (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001a).
  • Several authors had a profound influence on her in this time period and continue to influence her work, including “… King and Brownell’s The Curriculum and the Disciplines of Knowledge , the book by the Nursing Conference Development Group on Concept Formalization , Phenix's Realms of Meaning , Fiere’s The Pegagogy of the Oppressed .  And of course, even before that, The Phenomenon of Man and Mayeroff's On Caring .  Oh, yes, and everything that Fritz Perls ever wrote, and oh, yes, everything that "Carlos Casteneda" ever wrote.” Savina notes that she ‘was a real sponge in the late '60s and 70's!’
  • While Savina was completing her master’s degree in nursing, she worked in a psychology clinic and then was asked to join the nursing faculty at WSU, less than two years out of her BSN. She describes the development of her concept of nursing during this time, “… when I took my first nursing position (and continued on for a master's in counseling), I worked in a community mental health center…I worked with social workers, psychologists, and other disciplines and to some considerable extent, all of us "did" the same "things"…and so I was always looking to understand and to be able to articulate what it was that nursing as a unique discipline and practice brought to the table. When I was in school, I was taught that the uniqueness of nursing was in the nursing process. I wasn't too long out of school when I realized that some problem solving process that was popularized by an ed psych person in the 1920's and actually promulgated by a philosopher in the middle ages was not what was unique about nursing…so I continued to inquire and to search and to try to understand by looking at my own practice and the practice of those I worked with to see what the "value added" of nursing actually was… All through this time in school and then afterward, and even into my beginning clinical teaching at Prairie View, I was consumed with the question of what was unique about nursing...what unique value did nursing bring to the interdisciplinary work...how to articulate nursing's purpose and role in an environment where "activities of treatment and care" were largely multi-disciplinary. … When Marilyn Parker came to do a curriculum workshop with the faculty at WSU, I learned about nursing theory, and I learned in particular about the Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory, a system of thought and practice that very clearly spelled out, in defensible terms, the unique purpose and role of nursing among the practice disciplines...and I studied the "purple book" to gain a beginning understanding of what it meant that nursing is a discipline.  To make a long story short, Orem's self-care deficit nursing theory helped me satisfactorily answer my enduring question about nursing's unique contribution...and in the process I learned that all the "extant nursing theories" could also provide a reasonable and defensible answer to my question.  I was pretty sure what the areas of connectedness with other disciplines was, and it was pretty clear what the unique focus of each of them was, and now that nursing could take its place as a fully contributing equal partner, I was satisfied for a time.  (3/23)”
  • This soon became the seed for the passion of her scholarship, “ My mission became teaching about nursing as a discipline and about explicit nursing theories/frameworks to help nurses realize the depth of nursing...realize nursing as much more than an occupation and/or a warm fuzzy way to express good will.  So that has been a major theme of my work since the mid- to late 1970's and still is!  Nurses still don't understand the value of making their nursing frameworks explicit and of connecting their personal frameworks with formal schools of nursing thought and I continue to think that is a much needed perspective so that the fullness of nursing can be realized in the world.  One reason I love to work with nurses' stories is that in their stories they can "hear" the value framework that structures their personal practice...and once that is made clear it is relatively easy for them to connect with a school of compatible thought...and I find that nurses love finding out that there is structure, purpose, order to their nursing and that it can be clearly expressed...in words and in aesthetic representations, as well as in increasingly coherent practice. (3/23)” Nursing scholarship researcher Kathleen Heinrich observes, “Adding the dimension of passion to the study of scholarship extends the analysis beyond the intellectual and relational into unexplored territory. When passionate scholarship is defined as work of head and heart, it becomes a subversive act of courage in an academy that defines scholarship as a purely intellectual endeavor ” (Heinrich, 2001). It was here, helping nurses realize the depth of their work, that passionate focus began for Savina. Heinrich observes that choice of a dissertation topic is often a springboard for the identified passion. For Schoenhofer it was seemingly not the case, as her 1983 dissertation for her PhD in Higher Education Administration ,“An analysis of managerial philosophies held by department chairpersons in Biglan model clusters,” doesn’t appear in her subsequent publications. Her 1980 thesis in nursing, “Affectional Touch in Critical Care: A Descriptive Study” does make a brief appearance (see publication listing in Appendix B). (Schoenhofer began her doctorate at K-State even a little before finishing her MN in 81.)
  • The passion for helping nurses identify meaning and depth in their practice, and its connection to theory, grew through the juxtaposition of her experience in the developing discipline and profession of psychology, but was nurtured by the influence of Parker. “ The workshop facilitator was a member of Orem's inner circle and she joined our faculty that same year so I was mentored extremely well…her name is Marilyn Parker – the editor of several collections of primary source nursing theories. Marilyn and I have progressed from neophyte/mentor to peers and we are practically sisters, best friends still today. So having 1) the question – what is nursing; and having 2) access to a wonderful theoretician as early and continuing mentor are the primary reasons for the trajectory my career path has taken [Schoenhofer email communication to Kathy Elliott (Elliott, 2002)].” A growing circle of scholarship mentorship could be described: Orem to Parker to Schoenhofer.
  • Schoenhofer’s third mentor, Anne Boykin, RN, Ph.D came into her life when she moved to Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She credits Anne as an important mentor “who introduced her to caring as a substantive field of nursing study”(Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001a). “ When I left Wichita State University in 1983 and went to FAU (Marilyn had moved to the south Florida area two years prior), I joined a small nursing faculty in a relatively new but very ambitious university…the faculty had a curriculum that was focused on caring – I remember when I came back to Wichita after the interview, I said to some friends, they focus on caring in their curriculum but we can change that before too long. The reason I said that was that the curriculum was "eclectic", something from here, something from there, with no clear specification of the unique focus of the discipline of nursing – and absolute necessity of a clear specific statement of the unique focus of nursing is what I learned in my study of Orem's work – that without such a clear definitive defensible statement, nursing was really just a job, a very laudable job but still just a job…and nursing education was really just job training, not the venue for the study of a discipline of knowledge at all. The second year at FAU, Anne Boykin became director and I was accepted as the curriculum leader as we began the self study for the first NLN accreditation of the school. Anne and several of the faculty leaders were very firm that caring was to continue to be the central concept of the curriculum, so what I did was try to guide the development of a conceptual framework that made sense, that hung together, that did specify the unique focus of nursing – the curriculum focus was stated thus: nursing is promoting the process of being and becoming through caring, and the entire curriculum was organized to teach the broad and deep implications of that statement. By this time of course I had begun to study all the literature on caring that was in existence at that time, and particularly the nursing literature. As we finalized the curriculum prior to the site visit, Anne and I realized that where the faculty wanted to stop in the curriculum development was not where we were willing to stop…by this time we had realized that in our curriculum framework, caring was presented as a means…while some of the most profound literature was telling us that caring was not an instrument but an end in itself. So we decided to move ahead and develop our own full blown theory of nursing that would be centered in caring. So I must acknowledge that it was Anne Boykin who influenced me to realize that caring could be more than simply a "warm fuzzy idea", but could actually be a substantive concept that could ground the entire discipline in a way that was true to its origins…in turn, I think she would acknowledge that my contribution was my knowledge of theory and theory development that I had gained from studying Orem's work, particularly the ideas in Concept Formalization: Process and Product . [Schoenhofer email communication to Kathy Elliott (Elliott, 2002)].”
  • “ By this time of course I had begun to study all the literature on caring that was in existence at that time, and particularly the nursing literature. “ “ As we finalized the curriculum prior to the site visit, Anne and I realized that where the faculty wanted to stop in the curriculum development was not where we were willing to stop…by this time we had realized that in our curriculum framework, caring was presented as a means…while some of the most profound literature was telling us that caring was not an instrument but an end in itself . So we decided to move ahead and develop our own full blown theory of nursing that would be centered in caring. So I must acknowledge that it was Anne Boykin who influenced me to realize that caring could be more than simply a "warm fuzzy idea", but could actually be a substantive concept that could ground the entire discipline in a way that was true to its origins…in turn, I think she would acknowledge that my contribution was my knowledge of theory and theory development that I had gained from studying Orem's work, particularly the ideas in Concept Formalization: Process and Product . [Schoenhofer email communication to Kathy Elliott (Elliott, 2002)].”
  • She began publishing in 1984. That she began publishing early in her career is consistent with the research indicates that such is a strongly predictive of future productivity in scholarly publication (Keith, Layne, Babchuk, & Johnson, 2002). Consistent with the findings of Keith and colleagues, her publishing was also connected with her university location, in that FAU became an identified center within the developing caring science movement in nursing, and her colleague Anne Boykin also had contacts for various publishing sources. Savina also described FAU as supportive of her generativity, “… if I hadn't gone to FAU, most of that would never have been done...at FAU I was pushed to live up to the expectations of an academic!  And I was also trying to be a good example to other nursing faculty.  But once I got rolling, the work was self-impelling.” (4/22) Many of her publications focus around aspects of “caring” but topics also ranged to Einstein’s time dreams, affectional touch, the use of narrative and qualitative research methodology. She became identified with the theory that she and Boykin developed.
  • This theory was first published in 1993 by the NLN, and then reissued in 2001. The theory is personal rather than abstract and focuses on living caring rather than achieving an end product. The theory may be used alone or in combination with other theories.
  • Mayeroff’s caring ingredients are drawn upon: concepts of knowing, alternating rhythm, patience, honesty, trust, humility, hope, and courage. Additionally other early influences on the theory are recognized as Roach’s The Human Act of Caring: A Blueprint for the Health Professions Carper’s Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing Nursing Development Conference Group’s Concept Formalization in Nursing: Process and Product
  • The theory is described as being consistent with who she is as a person, as relayed by former faculty colleague, Kathy Elliott, “ To those of us who know Savina, her name is synonymous with caring. She is most decidedly a nurse scholar who has co-authored a nursing theory that is very personal and has offered an alternative way of practicing. It is not geared toward wellness and it is not abstract. It can be practiced alone or in combination with other theories. Nursing as Caring is radical, yet it is also a way of life for most nurses. It is the culmination of a lifetime of caring and research and Dr. Schoenhofer’s most critical gift to nursing.(Elliott, 2002)”
  • The focus of this paper is not on the theory, Nursing as Caring, but rather on how a scholar came to focus on nursing as a caring relationship, and not an intellectual, impersonal treatment of an idea. However, this slide, and the next, provide you with a brief overview of the theory. The basic premise is that all persons are caring Six major assumptions are: - Persons are caring by virtue of their humanness - Persons are caring, moment to moment - Persons are whole or complete in the moment - Personhood is a process of living grounded in caring - Personhood is enhanced through participating in nurturing relationships with caring others - Nursing is both a discipline and a profession
  • A nursing situation is the locus of all that is known and done in nursing, a shared lived experience in which the caring between nurse and nursed enhances personhood Caring is the intentional and authentic presence of the nurse with another who is recognized as person living caring and growing in caring. Here the nurse endeavors to come to know the other as caring person and seeks to understand how that person might be supported, sustained, and strengthened in his or her unique process of living caring and growing in caring (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001b) This slide provides text that is used in a teaching presentation by Schoenhofer on the theory.
  • Schoenhofer also speaks of an alternate theory, Nursing as Medical Assisting. “ I realized about the theory of nursing as medical assisting years ago when I was teaching at Florida Atlantic University … nurses always know exactly what I mean...I use it kind of as "shock treatment" or "paradigm rattling", to help nurses realize that their present practice does have systematization, but that the systematization may have been informally and subtly presented and absorbed without their realizing there could be another way to frame their nursing thought and thus their nursing practice...this usually hits home with those nurses who are beginning to get a glimmer of what a nursing theory-based thought system/practice pattern might look like. (4/15)”
  • While at FAU Schoenhofer’s views on nursing education and research also developed further. When asked ‘How did you come to a phenomenological frame of reference for education as well as practice?’ she responds, “ I am not sure I can capture much of a sense of this...I do remember when Marilyn Parker, Barbara Haag and some others who were teaching at WSU came back from a theory conference in St. Louis - way back when, late 1970's early 1980's, just overwhelmed with the presentation that had been made by Josephine Paterson and Loretta Zderad; I do remember that in my MEd program I was very attracted to Polkinghorne and some others who were writing about a new approach to doing science, about that time I was also very much involved with psych interns at the methadone clinic, and some of them were very "qualitatively" oriented in their theories and research, I did a qualitative thesis, not a phenomenological one but as qualitative as I dared in that environment in that day, I was very much a part of a group of folks - psych interns, nurse colleagues, therapists of all credentials, counseling faculty, etc. who loved Carlos Casteneda, who loved Oscar Lewis, who loved Milton Mayeroff, Reason and Rowan, Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls etc.  There was a time when I was very surprised to be attracted to and then involved in what was moving toward phenomenology and a constructivist view of the world - when I came out of my BA in psych, I was very, very, very committed to a natural science paradigm in terms of scholarship, and over a period of about 10 years I could literally feel layers being peeled away, jolted from time to time with the appearance of secret, unaware vestiges of the earlier paradigm.  I think I am a good teacher in part because I lived that experience of being transformed, of transforming myself over time with considerable awareness of the process as it was occurring, and I can share sympathy and hope with them as they suffer some of their own "paradigm shift" pangs..”
  • In mentoring the author of this essay, one can discern some of Schoenhofer’s own paradigm shift: Don't know if you're familiar with the work of Nancy Diekelmann and her colleagues (Pam Ironsides and others) in terms of narrative pedagogy.  Nancy has a hermeneutics institute every summer that you would surely enjoy; take a look at the courses 701 and 590 at http://academic.son.wisc.edu/diekelmann/courses/index.html ... guess we have already figured out that you will have your philosophies of science (and if it's not plural, I would encourage you to insist on a bona fide look at human science philosophy)...think I mentioned Evon Guba's little book, The Paradigm Dialogue as a good starting place...in thinking about human science philosophy, I am reminded of a saying I took from a women's studies textbook years ago (Bem and Bem is all I can remember in terms of a citation) when Marilyn and I were driving to Manhattan for our doctoral studies...it goes like this:  "only a very unparochial fish knows that its environment is wet".  And that has to do with recognizing the lens/paradigm from within which we view the world...and that has to do, of course, with entertaining other paradigms.  …(2/21)
  • Using Boyer’s model of scholarship, it is easy to identify that Schoenhofer has an active scholarship of integration, but another lead area is her scholarship of teaching. When asked ‘What are your views on nursing education?  How has it sustained your interest over time?’ she responds, Nursing education has sustained my interest in several ways...it thrills me to help beginning nursing students grasp the wonder of nursing as a discipline of knowledge and field of practice, to help them enlarge their vision, while honoring and extending the impulses and values that brought them to the study of nursing; guess I would have to say the same thing about teaching grad students...it is such a turn on to see nurses who for the most part, come back to school because they are getting pretty jaded and are looking for a way out of nursing practice, begin to reconnect with their early and deeply held commitment to engage in a life work of caring and to re-consider the value of their nursing over the intervening years and find joy in discovering that what they have been doing HAS been worthwhile after all.  And I like the stimulation of being in an environment where scholarship is the norm.  Up until I moved to Mississippi in August of 1994, I have always maintained a practice of some kind or other and that active involvement in practice was invaluable to my formal scholarship...it has not been convenient to engage in practice the last 8 or 9 years and chances are, that unless the growing Hispanic community presence gives rise to some sort of health care program, I will probably just sit comfortably at my computer and on the golf cart.  I got tremendous enjoyment and enrichment from my practice in a  community health service offered through a migrant worker family clinic I helped start and operate in Florida.  It was a continuation of my days in Brazil, when I did similar work even before I was a nurse.  I love being involved with people in nursing situations where a sense of community is strong...this has been true of my practices in community mental health, alcoholism and family counseling, comprehensive program for folks with opiate addictions, inpatient psychiatric nurse counselor practice, parish nurse counselor practice...some of this work under the auspices or in conjunction with my teaching role
  • As the author of this essay begins to discover the use of Story in education and research, Schoenhofer assists in understanding but also reveals more of the delight and vigor that she brings to teaching, “ I use stories in all my classes and in all of my research...at the beginning of any class, the first thing I ask students to do is to recall, fully re-collect and re-live and then tell (usually in writing) the story of a nursing situation that illustrated whatever value we are looking at...usually I simply ask them to work with a story that tells of a time when they felt they were really nursing to the fullest.  That story then is one of the primary texts of their work in the class.  I so much prefer this approach - tell the story first, THEN start intellectualizing about it, versus the approach that [another] advocates, which is to say what values are most important in your nursing and THEN tell a story to illustrate...I have found that when students or nurses tell the value first, it is almost always an "espoused" value and not necessarily an "expressed" value (I think this terminology is from Rawls).” 
  • Of interest to this author is also how Savina encourages her graduate students to ground their work in their own personal story. A major assignment she provides in a nursing theories course is one which is intended to help students draw it all together into a personally meaningful "platform" for launching into the specialty study, beginning with a grounding story. ( This assignment is provided in Appendix C) (3/28) She also looks for this type of grounding within a nursing story in theses and dissertations… “ I also expect grad students who do theses/dissertations using a qualitative approach to have as part of their Chapter 1 a section called Horizon of Meaning, with two subsections: personal and professional...so they essentially tell a story that illustrates their own personal interest in the phenomenon/issue they are studying.  … I think this idea came to me primarily from the way Marilyn Ray taught thesis/dissertation, and I added the professional horizon of meaning because I don't accept that any nursing research starts out from a blank slate but rather the question emerges from SOME conceptualization of nursing, and in framing the question within an explicit nursing conceptual/value system (grand theory), the student can then locate Chapter 5 within an explicit nursing school of thought.  I think it's important for nursing students/nurses to have a developed awareness of a connection between their own values/beliefs/thought and that of an explicit published one (which we call a nursing theory or framework)...nurses just don't have, by and large, a sense of how the discipline is structured and the value of a well developed values/concepts framework to guide their nursing work...this is one of the ways I try to encourage  students/nurse colleagues to develop and formalize that awareness.  I have seen that it does inspire students to "take off" as self-designated scholars of nursing.”
  • She is happy now living in Jackson Mississippi, teaching graduate students primarily online through Alcorn University, serving on editorial boards, participating in international dialogue, maintaining active correspondence with students of her theory, serving as a “spark plug” for the American Association of University Professors in Mississippi, commuting to campus about two days per week, playing golf, enjoying the restaurants and blues music of the region. The only discernible regret is that choices she made leave her without a cadre of doctoral scholars to actively refine and challenge her work.
  • Schoenhofer can be described a pathfinder in her career of nursing scholarship. The term can be seen as a loose compliment, but in a more defined manner it is useful concept in examining new patterns of thought/mentorship in critical thinking. Gumport, in analyzing the work of female scholars in Academic pathfinders: Knowledge creation and feminist scholarship, describes Forerunners, Pathfinders and Pathtakers as roles within knowledge creation (Gumport, 2002). Schoenhofer would be called a Pathfinder defined by her creativity in knowledge generation through both the theory development and associated research methodologies, integrating influences from Boykin, Parker, and Orem. Pathtakers that follow Schoenhofer’s work will be interesting to follow in the next generation, both as practicing nurses and scholars. Her firm belief is that when nurses structure their practice within the framework of Nursing As Caring, the potential for nursing and nurses to transform the world can begin to be realized. She has provided tools for the next wave, the Pathtakers, to utilize in moving beyond "solution-focused nursing.” As time passes it may become more evident that her theory is radical, not only in believing that to be human is to be caring; persons are whole and complete in the moment; that nursing is not a fix it discipline and practice but rather a "being with" discipline and practice, but also because of the framework of change within the power relations.
  • In the tradition of Heidegger this could have been written as a trialogue: a conversation between a scholar, a scientist and a teacher. Trialogue was not an invention of Heidegger, but rather a form adopted for the traditional ‘dialogues’ that scientists and scholars published hundreds of years ago to show the bases of their reasoning. This presentation reflects instead an ongoing email dialogue between an scholar and a student, however at times similar to a trialogue in that new connections were stimulated in creative thinking, rather than traditional pedagogy with a passive student. This active participation is both a gift of this dialogue and indicative of Schoenhofer’s ways For many years I have enjoyed listening to people’s stories; doctorate study now provides me with the opportunity to listen to some of my own stories. When we were assigned to study a nurse scholar I didn’t imagine that the scholar’s story would become integrated with my mine. Many thanks to Savina for her willingness to engage as she has. I hope to emulate her model of participative, grounded, committed, perpetually curious, meaningful scholarship that strives to make a difference.
  • Conversations on a Prairie Path

    1. 1. Conversations on a Prairie Pathwith nurse scholarSavina O. Schoenhofer
    2. 2. Between two points along the path:Brazil and Mississippi How this conversation began A prairie path ?
    3. 3. Savina O’Bryan Schoenhofer
    4. 4. Conversations on a Prairie Path Scholarly characteristics Beginning of the journey Evolution of worldview and theory Scholarship of teaching The present and the future
    5. 5. Scholarship according to Parsethe three processes involved inscholarly activity area perpetual curiosity,a focused commitment,and a willingness to risk challenge.(Parse, 1994).
    6. 6. Meleis on scholar characteristics a passion for making a difference, dismantling old patterns that are based on unequalpower and reconstructing patterns that are based onequity, shared power, and collaboration in decisions promoting cooperation and collaboration showing leadership to develop critical andreflective thinking
    7. 7. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhoodscholarship diverse talents connections of simplicity and wisdom thatintermingle the cognitive, emotional andaesthetic lives of their target audience gently tying shoelaces: living the theory
    8. 8. BrazilThis nurse was like none I had ever seen orheard of…she was educated, she was broadin her thinking, she was extremely creativeand not at all "procedural" in her work withour clients, she was truly "their nurse" andI loved how I saw her being nurse
    9. 9. The early 60’s… a special time in history The Cold War was settling in, the SovietUnion was sending arms to Cuba, and therewas a general fear of the spread ofcommunism throughout Latin America. Papal Volunteers for Latin America, a groupthat presaged the Peace Corp and didgeneral community development work
    10. 10. At the age of 29 returned to college 2 Bachelor’s degree 2 Master’s degree and a Ph.D
    11. 11. Influential authors in the 60’s and 70’s: King and Brownell’s TheCurriculum and theDisciplines of Knowledge Nursing ConferenceDevelopment Group onConcept Formalization Fiere’s The Pegagogy ofthe Oppressed Teilhard de Chardin’sThe Phenomenon of Man Phenixs Realms ofMeaning Mayeroffs On Caring. …everything thatFritz Perls and “CarlosCanstenada” wrote
    12. 12. Development of concept of nursingWhen I was in school, I was taught that the uniquenessof nursing was in the nursing process. I wasnt toolong out of school when I realized that some problemsolving process that was popularized by an ed psychperson in the 1920s and actually promulgated by aphilosopher in the middle ages was not what wasunique about nursing…so I continued to inquire andto search and to try to understand by looking at myown practice and the practice of those I worked withto see what the "value added" of nursing actuallywas
    13. 13. Seed for passionate scholarship My mission became teaching about nursingas a discipline and about explicit nursingtheories/frameworks to help nurses realizethe depth of nursing ...realize nursing as much more than anoccupation and/or a warm fuzzy way toexpress good will.
    14. 14. A growing circle of mentorshipThe workshop facilitator was a member of Orems innercircle and she joined our faculty that same year so Iwas mentored extremely well…her name is MarilynParker – the editor of several collections of primarysource nursing theories. Marilyn and I haveprogressed from neophyte/mentor to peers and we arepractically sisters, best friends still today.So having 1) the question – what is nursing; and having2) access to a wonderful theoretician as early andcontinuing mentor are the primary reasons for thetrajectory my career path has taken.
    15. 15. Schoenhofer’s third mentor:Anne Boykin, RN, Ph.D… Anne and I realized … caring was presented as ameans…while some of the most profound literature wastelling us that caring was not an instrument but an endin itself.
    16. 16. So we decided to move ahead and develop our ownfull blown theory of nursing that would be centered incaring….it was Anne Boykin who influenced me torealize that caring could be more than simply a"warm fuzzy idea", but could actually be asubstantive concept that could ground the entirediscipline in a way that was true to its origins…
    17. 17. Publishing career began early Co-author of three books Chapters in seven books Over 23 articles in refereed journals
    18. 18. Early influences on the theory Mayerhoff: On Caring Roach: The Human Act of Caring: A Blueprint forthe Health Professions Carper: Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing Nursing Development Conference Group: ConceptFormalization in Nursing: Process and Product
    19. 19. Living the theoryTo those of us who know Savina, her name issynonymous with caring. She is mostdecidedly a nurse scholar who has co-authored a nursing theory that is verypersonal and has offered an alternative wayof practicing.- from a former faculty colleague
    20. 20. Assumptions to be human is to be caring persons are caring, moment to moment persons are whole and complete in themoment personhood is lived grounded in caring personhood is enhanced in relationship withcaring others nursing is both a discipline and a profession
    21. 21. EVIDENCE OF CARINGCOMMUNICATED IN NURSING VALUESEXPERIENCED INTHE NURSINGSITUATION NURSED NURSE ORGANIZATION SOCIETAL CAN BEREPRESENTED,DESCRIBED, NOTALWAYS“MEASURABLE” ALWAYSQUALITATIVE MAY BEQUANTITATIVELYREPRESENTED
    22. 22. Alternate theory:Nursing as Medical Assisting. I use it kind of as "shock treatment" or"paradigm rattling", to help nurses realizethat their present practice does havesystematization,but that the systematization may have beeninformally and subtly presented andabsorbed without their realizing there couldbe another way to frame their nursingthought and thus their nursing practice
    23. 23. Phenomenological frame of reference
    24. 24.  "only a very unparochial fish knows that itsenvironment is wet". and that has to do with recognizing thelens/paradigm from within which we view theworld...and that has to do, of course, withentertaining other paradigms
    25. 25. Scholarship of teaching it thrills me to help beginning nursing students grasp thewonder of nursing as a discipline of knowledge and fieldof practice, to help them enlarge their vision same thing about teaching grad students... to see nurseswho for the most part, come back to school because theyare getting pretty jaded and are looking for a way out ofnursing practice, begin to reconnect with their early anddeeply held commitment to engage in a life work of caringand to re-consider the value of their nursing over theintervening years and find joy in discovering that whatthey have been doing HAS been worthwhile after all.
    26. 26. Use of storyI use stories in all my classes and in all of my research...at the beginning of any class, the first thing I askstudents to do is to recall, fully re-collect and re-liveand then tell (usually in writing) the story of a nursingsituation that illustrated whatever value we arelooking at...usually I simply ask them to work with astory that tells of a time when they felt they werereally nursing to the fullest. That story then is one ofthe primary texts of their work … tell the story first,THEN start intellectualizing about it,
    27. 27. and for grad students too… I also expect grad students who dotheses/dissertations using a qualitativeapproach to have as part of their Chapter 1 asection called Horizon of Meaning, with twosubsections: personal and professional...sothey essentially tell a story that illustratestheir own personal interest in thephenomenon/issue they are studying.
    28. 28. Misssissippi Teaching online Golf! Communicating with those interested in thetheory
    29. 29. Future? Text on nursing education Working with doctoral students International Nursing Philosophypresentation in September
    30. 30. A Pathfinder in Knowledge Generation Forerunners Pathfinders Pathtakers
    31. 31. Conversations on a Prairie Pathwith nurse scholarSavina O. Schoenhofer

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