History is the measuring tape for progress. Knowing and understanding the beginning can give great insight into the distance we’ve covered and how far we’ve yet to go. Today started by meeting with the school Chaplin, and for us a key informant in the local community of Oslo. She educated us on the history of nursing in Norway and helped us understand the key principles on which their model of nursing is founded. We also identified some major influencers of nursing in Norway. A woman by the name of Cathinka Guldberg served as the founder and matriarch of nursing in Norway. She was educated as a nurse and deaconess at Kaiserswerth Diakonie in Germany which is also where Florence Nightingale was a former student. Guldberg started the first nursing school here in Oslo, Christiania Deaconess House now known as Lovisenberg Deaconess House, in 1886 which is right next door to where we are staying. Another key influencer was Rikke Nissan, a deaconess, who created the first nursing curriculum and textbook. Together these two women were pioneers for the nursing profession in Norway.
We took a short break for lunch but the history continued. We visited, Asylet, the first ever hospital on the east side of Oslo which now serves as restaurant. Everyone had their choice of burgers, salads, and shrimp sandwiches along with a tasty dessert.
Additionally, we learned about the key fundamentals of their nursing profession which are rooted in Christianity. In fact, Diakonia or Diakonale, was described as “ the Christian faith translated into action or easier done than said” which means that the profession of nursing is about serving, showing love, and compassion to everyone. Furthermore, their model of nursing emphasizes human rights and respect for all people.
Later in the day we visited and spoke with key informants from an organization known as Nursing on Wheels which practices harm reduction for individuals addicted to drugs. Their goal is to reduce the incidences of overdose, HIV, and Hepatitis. We were able to speak to some of the nurses and view the set up of the typical Nursing on Wheels van. This clinical activity really embodied sustainable development goal 3, “Good health and well being”(United Nations). Although controversial, Nursing on Wheels provides clean needles, sterile water, and sterile tools to drug addicts who are injecting drugs. The hope is that they are able to decrease the sharing of needles, the use of dirty spoons and water to inject drugs. By providing clean tools and supplies they are reducing the incidences of Hepatitis, HIV, and other infections. This organization is promoting health and well being for those who are often overlooked by the system and society. These nurses also provide wound care, deliver medications, screen for Hep C, and provide resources to those who are hoping to get clean. This organization recognizes that health promotion and disease prevention is important for everyone in the community no matter their circumstance which directly relates to public health competency 5B5, “Maintains relationships that improve health in a community” (The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, 2014). Nursing on wheels is establishing relationships and building trust with those who may not have any other support from family or friends. Simultaneously maintaining these relationships promote health and well-being for the community as a whole.
This clinical experience really challenged my thinking about those addicted drugs in my own city and country. Often when things don’t apply to us we forget that they are there. I began to really reflect on how the people addicted to substances are viewed in America by healthcare providers, police officers, their family and even strangers. We often stigmatize them as criminals and manipulators before we have had a conversation with them which influences the way we interact with them and incorporate them into our community. As a future Family Nurse Practitioner I will strive to establish and maintain relationships with the people that are at risk of being overlooked by society, healthcare, and the community. I will strive to create a culture that is open, safe, and judgment free for anyone that steps foot in my office.
The Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice (2014, June 26). Core competencies for public health professionals. Retrieved from http://www.phf.org/resourcestools/Documents/Core_Competencies_for_Public
United Nations (n.d.). Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-bring for all at all ages. Retrieved fromhttps://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/inequality/