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Emancipatory Knowing in Nursing Essay

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Updated: Jun 30th, 2020

From the article, it is evident that ’emancipatory knowing’ is fundamental in nursing practice. While the field of healthcare continues to grow spontaneously, there is little concern being addressed towards the needs of patients. The complexity of the healthcare system is gradually impacting the overall wellbeing of patients (Snyder, 2014). Therefore, there is an urgent need for nurses to assume the role of patient advocates so that the latter may remain a significant player in the healthcare system. As it stands now, the state of social justice for patients is at stake. ‘Emancipatory knowing’ is about voicing the concerns of patients and possibly fighting for their justice.

Career and educational programs have been employed by nurses to confront power imbalances for a long time (Snyder, 2014). The latter approach has been historical in the field of nursing. Also, a patriarchal healthcare system has been fought from a feminist point of view. If nurses can pursue their rights, the social injustice meted to patients also requires a platform where it can be addressed.

The theoretical influence of ’emancipatory knowing’ can be traced back to the time when the amalgamation of various concepts, theories, and viewpoints took place. This implies that ideas were critically synthesized before ’emancipatory knowing’ could be adopted as a solid and acceptable approach in nursing practice. There is a lot of doubt on whether the nursing practice is fully equipped and prepared to address the myriads of challenges facing the healthcare sector. In particular, nurses are expected to be frontrunners in addressing the plight of patients even as they offer much-needed care. Hence, a call for action is necessary.

Nursing students can utilize or apply several methodologies as auxiliaries towards ’emancipatory knowing.’ To begin with, they can directly take part in dialectical communication to explore disharmony between individuals (Snyder, 2014). Personal preconceptions can indeed be a source of discord between patients and healthcare systems. Nonetheless, nurses can bridge this type of communication gap. Second, a critical reflective journal should be maintained by nurses so that they can always be in a position to cultivate self-awareness and critical thinking skills.

Knowledge of social justice can be gained by viewing explicit themes from films. Nurses can easily gain critical reflection when they expand their perspectives (Snyder, 2014). Active participation in focus groups is also a pragmatic approach that nurses can employ towards gaining ’emancipatory knowing.’ Perhaps, it might not just be enough for the nursing fraternity to join nurses’ associations. They should equally present a proactive agenda that address the needs of patients. In other words, they can opt to communicate specific social issues that contravene the wellbeing of patients and their families.

Emancipatory praxis also requires the input of educators, especially from the point when the curriculum is being developed. Unless nursing students are appropriately empowered, they can hardly be decisive or firm enough when addressing the plethora of healthcare problems afflicting patients. The development of the nursing curriculum should also be tailored towards social justice so that students can gain the right perspective even before they engage in actual practice. Moreover, educators should create ample opportunity for nursing students to share their pool of knowledge with the outside world. Critical questioning ought to be embraced by teachers and students as part and parcel of the emancipatory method of delivering and receiving lesson content (Snyder, 2014).


Snyder, M. (2014). Emancipatory Knowing: Empowering Nursing Students Toward Reflection and Action. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(2), 65-69.

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