Professor of nursing emphasizes importance of know



    A subjective perspective brings insight and a realm of humanism to the traditions of science, said a BYU professor of nursing at Tuesday’s Forum.

    Elaine Sorensen Marshall, associate professor and associate dean of the College of Nursing, emphasized the importance of understanding how individuals know, in what way this knowing changes them and from what sources they seek to know.

    “Learning in science, humanities and the arts is a search for truth, a search for knowing,” Marshall said.

    Marshall listed trial and error, authority, tradition and intelligence as familiar ways of knowing in the human sciences.

    She encouraged students to broaden their perspective of knowledge and consider intelligence as light and truth.

    “Here at BYU, where we share a moral and spiritual perspective, we have such potential for sharing our scientific perspective,” Marshall said.

    Knowing comes from the source of truth, which is God. The glory of God is intelligence, and individuals can seek out answers through personal questioning, Marshall said.

    Marshall added spiritual knowledge to the fundamentals of ethical, empirical, aesthetic and personal knowledge in the nursing profession.

    Many professionals focus on the tradition of science, but fail to consider the importance of subjective elements to the profession. All these aspects of knowledge should be applied to help each patient, she said.

    Marshall demonstrated this application of subjective perspective as she displayed and discussed art drawn by children involved in her current research.

    She is studying families with children with special needs.

    People are their own experts in human experiences, Marshall said. Systematic and creative measurements must be applied to obtain correct information.

    Expansion is only limited by the researcher, she said. By recognizing assumptions, individuals can be open to different assumptions. The more narrow and rigid the original perspective, the more difficult it is to change.

    It is these human experiences which bring life to the science of medicine, Marshall said.

    “As life experiences tempered my fascination with tubes and procedures, I was increasingly drawn to the human drama,” Marshall said.

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