Guerilla Nursing - keeping water wet: Guerilla Nursing, developed by a clique of international Marxist Nurses, is a new Model of Nursing, which is set to take the nursing world by storm.
Subject: Nursing (Models)
Author: Cottingham, Chris
Pub Date: 10/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 9
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 271050274
Full Text: From time to time the United Confederations of Te Henga Nurse Marxists propose a new Model of Nursing. This is one of those times. So, Crouch! Pause! Touch! Engage! Graeme the Guerrilla Nurse has led us in the development of the Model which, going forward, is an iconic, sustainable and evidenced-based paradigmatic shift, that will underpin the rebuild of nursing to enable a true 21st century configuration.

First, let's look at what Guerrilla Nursing is against. This being a Marxist Model, we are obliged [of course] to follow the 'Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis' Model, which you will all know about, having read previous columns. The Lovely thing about this, is that we get to have a good go at everything we hate before we say what we would do if we were Queens of the World.

Everything we hate

In no particular order, there is the ongoing propensity of DHB telephone systems to play Nora Jones or Sting while we wait for a real person to talk to us. Stop it! Now! And the need for the disembodied voice to tell us to ring 111 "if this is an emergency". Damn it, if we wanted an immediate response, we wouldn't ring the jolly DHB! Oh, what about a wage offer that doesn't even meet the increase in GST? Or how the PDRP, supposedly a system that recognises Nurses for their contributions, has morphed into a mechanism to reward corporate conformity and organisational obedience? Or the sort of corporate optimism whereby nurses accept any new initiative--either DHB or MoHgenic--with willing acquiescence and ready smiles, despite glaringly obvious stupidity [yes, I'm thinking of the HoNOS here, but you will be able to think of many more]. Or how CLinical Supervision, Like the PDRP, has become an instrument of oppression. Or the role of the Nurse Academics [we couldn't leave them out, poor darlings]. Or Evidence-Based Practice, which has to underpin all practice--except managerial decisions which are existential in their excellence. And DHBs which trumpet their commitment to family inclusion. And charge visitors to park in the hospital grounds. Or talk and talk about the importance of good nutrition. And serve up bowel clogging, tasteless mush of indeterminable provenance to patients. Or Nurses becoming nothing more than data input technicians. And on and on. Including, of course, Heideggarian Hermeneutics.

See, it's too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Add your pet hates as you will.

Graeme says Guerrilla Nursing [GN] is about reclaiming Nursing for Nurses. He says calling the present system a "health system" is Like saying iron is wood and water is dry.t The basic idea of GN is that peculiar and seldom acknowledged concept that Nurses and Patients are people. We are all possessed of the foibles, the weaknesses and the dumb stupidities common amongst us all. And with this we have--or like to think we have--a sort of Loveliness that helps us from time to time transcend our base natures and allows us to be noble, more or less. The idea of GN is that we can have a go at treating people with humanity, kindness and real respect. He says that this, when it does occur, is surreptious, and often without reference and usually outside organisational policy. Hence the term, Guerrilla Nursing. It is based, among other things, on dear old Virginia Henderson and Phil Darbyshire's ideas. With Mary Seacote as the Patron Saint.

[Editors' note: So glad you included a couple of theorists. Makes the piece so much more Legitimate.]

Not a terrorist organisation

GN's first aim would be to develop the GN PDRP. Competencies would include having a fulfilling Life outside nursing, Laughing at Least twice a day, giving good grizzle [especially about forms] and contravening one DHB policy a week. There's more, but in the great tradition of nursing, Let's form a working party to get it on.

Graeme is clear that Guerrilla Nursing is not a terrorist organisation. He has never been near Te Urewera and has never met Tama Iti or anyone with a Moko, that he can remember. Terrorist organisations devoted to the destruction of nursing as we know it do exist, of course. But academics and DHB managers are yet to be targeted by the Armed Offenders Squad.

As Graeme explained his Model to us, Anna, the Alcohol and Drug Nurse, asked how it would apply to her specialty. She noted Graeme's rather colourful nose colouring and wondered if he had anything to tell us about his personal habits. Graeme said that, while he wasn't engaged with a battle with the bottle, he did have a series of running skirmishes, interrupted by the occasional ambush.

Olga the Intern asked if she might help him with this and to further develop the Guerrilla Model, maybe at his place, sometime [thank you Olga!]. Louise the Lecturer said that if any further developments were to occur, she would have to be there to contribute to the dialectic. Graeme said they would both be very welcome to participate in what he hoped would be positive and fulfilling discussion evenings.

Guerrilla Nursing, it's the way of the future, don't you think?

* Special thanks to Barbara the Librarian [in a DHB which prefers not to be identified] for help and support and for being a damn good sort.


(1) Comrade Stalin said this, but in another context.

Chris Cottingham, RN, BA, MEd, DipSocSci, PGDip (Hlth Sci), is a staff nurse working for a district health board that prefers not to be identified. In his spare time, he writes a bi-monthty column of alternative (sometimes amusing or irreverent but always challenging) musings on our profession.
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