A front-line issue

September 2015   Comments

Thank you to Rosanne Beuthin for her thoughtful comments on the use of military metaphors in nursing language (Commentary, June). I stopped using them myself a number of years ago and have encouraged my colleagues to do the same. If nurses are on the front line, then who is the enemy? Patients? Our colleagues? Disease? As Beuthin rightly points out, there are potentially serious consequences for patients when treatments are described in the language of war. Our words shape our thoughts and behaviours. We should choose carefully.


– Allana LeBlanc, BScN, RN, CNCC(C)
Vancouver, B.C.

I consider military nursing an important domain of the profession and part of nursing culture now, not just in the past. I am offended that this commentary implies that those who have proudly served their country in uniform, in the nursing profession, should change their use of language because it does not reflect a collaborative approach to nursing. I would suggest that you cannot get any more collaborative than having a team working toward the same “mission.” I have worn a uniform to nurse the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who are still in the trenches defending Beuthin’s freedom to write what she chooses. I will continue to proudly use historical military metaphors in my nursing practice.

– Captain (Retired) Pat Whiteley, BScN, RN
Victoria, B.C.

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