Health and Equal Justice for All
By Beverly Whelton
After working clinically for fifteen years, and teaching Nursing for 5 years, I went back to school to study Philosophy: the philosophical foundations of nursing practice. My intent was never to stop practicing Nursing. One of my favorite compliments came after I was teaching Philosophy full time for about 5 years. The student said something like, Dr. Whelton, you are still a nurse. The difference is, you have transitioned from caring for bodies to caring for souls. Within the Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective, people can know the world and can learn to be happy through living well, virtuously.
In Florida for the KING conference (1999), Imogene shared with me that she saw her Theory of Goal Attainment as applicable to all health-care disciplines. I agreed with her that this theory captures what is universal in health care. Caregivers and patients working together for the health (goals) of the patient. I believed this so much that I spent more than 10 years writing a text operationalizing her position, Humanity at the Heart of Practice: A Study of Ethics for Health-care Students and Practitioners. I regret she did not get to see the book. Since its publication, I have seen that while King’s Personal System captures the reality of each individual person, the Interpersonal System is the space between persons within which all ethical practice occurs. In today’s society, the Social System environment of institutions and the whole political climate of the Americas are filled with people of all historical traditions and ethnic groups crying for equal justice and care for all persons.
It is my hope that through this little description, you have been able to see how applicable King’s work is.
B. J. Whelton and J. Neuenschwander (2019), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK.