WHAT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW? by Dr. Beverly Horn, Emeritus Executive Director of the Transcultural Nursing Society

Transcultural nursing theories rely heavily on concepts related to worldview.  Madeleine Leininger uses the term as one of the orientational definitions basic to her theory of transcultural nursing.  She noted that orientational definitions are deliberately broad and not operational definitions.  She defined world view as “the way people tend to look out on the world or on their universe to form a picture or value stance about their life or world around them”. (Leininger, M.,1995).  Another definition is: “a worldview is a collection of attitudes, values, stories, and experiences about the world as expressed in ethics, religion, philosophy. scientific beliefs and so on”. (Sire, J W., 2004).

We are living in extraordinary times.    This is not just an “era of change, but a change of eras”.  Worldviews are not static but change, as persons have new experiences and new knowledge is acquired.   A change in worldview may be subtle and incremental or may be sudden and life-changing.  In this new era of change, a plethora of events bombard our senses and awaken our consciousness to new ways of thinking not experienced in many of our lives. For example, new technologies enable us to pass information quickly and globally to places we have never thought possible in the past.

The COVID 19 pandemic that began in 2020 has altered our worldview from many perspectives and required learning new skills and ways of coping unknown to many. The experience of sudden serious illness and death, overburdening hospitals and caregivers and families separated from one another was and is overwhelming.     Families experienced the death of loved ones, often from a distance, not able to be present with them at the end of their lives.  Colleagues with whom one worked closely were suddenly gone.  Organizations were required to make changes immediately and abruptly. Hospitals needed staff that was not available.  Colleges and universities closed and changed to online courses. Working from home became the norm if it was at all possible.

Transitioning to virtual communication in organizations was necessary if the business was to continue. Technology made this possible, but only if there were experts in technological advances who could facilitate such major changes.  The Transcultural Nursing Society was able to make such changes and reflect several changes in worldview regarding operations. The pandemic, as well as the social, cultural, and political events occurring simultaneously were influential in this evolution.  The Transcultural Nursing Society has evolved as an organization.    As technology has developed, the internet enhanced communication.  The Annual Conference, of course, was held so that as many as possible could attend; this has always been a major value.  For more than two years, we have had to adapt our worldview of our conference as many organizations had to adapt and change.

For example, in an altered worldview, what of future conferences?  What other ways will organizations interact with members in the future? Does our collective worldview now include many other possibilities?  The Annual Conference will never be the same some individuals would like to attend in person, others virtually, and some would like a hybrid experience if possible.  Are there other possibilities?   How has your worldview been influenced by this era of change?  I belong to other organizations that are responding to these changes in worldview as they move forward in ways not anticipated and unknown.  The Transcultural Nursing Society has truly responded.  We are truly evolving our organization to address the future and evolve to meet our mission in new and exciting ways.   Many thanks to the membership, Central Office staff, Boards of Trustees, and our committees, who have adapted and shepherded the organization through these many changes into a strong virtual presence for continued and new organizational growth.  We look forward to continuing our mission with you and the communities you serve.   The future offers exciting and creative opportunities to continue the evolution of the Transcultural Nursing Society.

Leininger. M.  Transcultural Nursing. 2,nd ed. (1995).  McGraw-Hill, 105.

Sire, J.W.   “Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept”.  Intervarsity Press, (Google).