Critical presence as social justice: Putting critical theory into action

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pavilion Ballroom (Hilton Portland)
Caitlin Margaret May, APRN-FNP-BC (Adjunct Clinical Faculty, University of Rhode island, College of Nursing)
Critical Theory and Active Presence present ways of interacting with our environment that contain the possibility to move from a platform of "working for" to a space wherein we may "work together.” This poster outlines the use of Critical Presence that was introduced into a clinical curriculum for nursing students who are currently involved in an interdisciplinary clinical that engages consumers, providers, case workers, medical and nursing students in a team that learns together as they navigate the complex realities and social injustice of the current socio-medical climate. Critical Presence, although it involves action at times, is essentially a human quality of relating that is rooted in social justice and has real world implications for health care. It is an interpersonal process characterized by reciprocity, sensitivity, holism, intimacy, vulnerability, and adaptation to unique circumstances that results in enhanced mental and physical wellbeing for all those involved. Critical Presence is the work we do to find an active place in life, to find community and reciprocity across visible and invisible walls. As we work together to acknowledge and give voice to the unseen, unspoken, and unheard dynamics that contribute to invisibility. Critical presence enhances the human quality of our exchanges and creates space to share knowledge and expertise, to facilitate and improvise, and to face our social ignorance as we embrace our vulnerability, doubts, and mistakes. It is, in essence how we begin to learn from each other. Utilizing the work of Friere, Foucault, McClaren, Hooks, and the rich body of nursing literature surrounding presence, this poster presents some simply yet transformative ways to insert Critical Presence into curriculum, practice environment, workplace and daily life as we learn how to actively make connections between our own lived conditions and the making of reality that has occurred to date.