Building capacity in nursing science through multidiscipline partnerships and practices has been a part of my professional design for years. I recently made a trip to NASA Wallop's Island; it provided one of those unique opportunities to engage in scientific concepts that empowered my own. I am a huge proponent of emerging my nursing science with other sciences. It has opened doors that would not have otherwise opened.
Nursing Science Standards
The National Council State Board of Nursing Exam (NCLEX) is the standardized exam that determines whether a student can practice as a professional nurse. It has always been a keen indicator of whether a student has gained the necessary knowledge to demonstrate their ability to apply fundamental nursing science concepts to patient care. I happen to think it is one of the best educational tools in the profession. Furthermore, in my 15 years of teaching nursing science, I have found that those students who have difficulty passing the NCLEX have a deficiency in nursing science. They have not developed a fundamental set of skills (cognitive and practicum) that create capacity for the next level of the professional science. Capacity is key for every next opportunity.
Unfortunately, it has been culturally understood and taught, that the inability to pass the NCLEX is due to a lack of test-taking skills. Of course, this may be partially true, but ultimately, the NCLEX is about clinical practice, protocol and evidenced-based research. This is nursing science. I am clear with my students about why their ability or inability to apply already attained working knowledge can affect their future opportunities. And then direct them toward capacity building projects.
Building Capacity Matters
Over the years a thorough discussion among nursing leadership has pinpointed the cognitive and socioeconomic factors that have crippled progress in eliminating disparities in nursing education. However, there has not been much discussion about our lack of professional engagement and intentional implementation of pathways that properly assess and evaluate the disparity in our individual students. It's not rocket science. ( pun intended)
Science literacy will be a critical element to the future development of our nursing scholars. I am extremely concerned that our inability to equally distribute resources and access over the previous decades will continue to be a dark cloud over who we say we are and what our science represents. In addition, if we are going to move the needle on other pressing issues such as the nursing shortage and racism, we must recognize the intersection of nursing science, and multidiscipline partnerships...and then do something about it. We absolutely have the tools to do so.
I AM NURSING SCIENCE.