Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

Nursing in troubled times: Opportunities for reflection and reimagining (#2)

Rochelle Einboden 1
  1. University of Ottawa & Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Luskville, QC, Canada

We live in troubled times, at so many different levels. For nursing as a profession, we are facing increasing trouble that is forcing change. We have been made weary by the erosion of health care through an onslaught of austerity measures, a rise in neoliberal policies, divestments in public health care systems, and exploitations of entrepreneurialism. COVID19 was not the cause of our troubles, but has accelerated them, and illustrated their effects.


Guided by Haraway’s (2017) invitation for “staying with the trouble of living and dying in response-ability on a damaged earth” (p2), I reflect on what nursing has become within the dominant logics of Anthropocene and Capitalocene. Enrolled in an unsustainable system where health is considered within the narrowness of bounded individualism and human-exceptionalism, all too often nurses act as handmaidens to the biomedical project of illness care. We participate in managerial, technocratic, profit-oriented capitalist practices that entrench inequities in health. Health care spending illustrates prioritisation of life at all cost, some lives over others, and a war that continues to be waged against human death – even in the last moments of life. Reflecting on nursing’s roots – as stewards of community health knowledges and practices, and on nursing’s identity – as care providers with a social mandate – I wonder how far we have strayed? Lastly, I imagine how nursing be might remade, conceptualised within Haraway’s Chthulucene, an epoch of the present with vested interested in ongoingness and living and dying in relational entanglements, amidst the thickness of the trouble.


Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.