Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Nursing Voice

In 2010, a wonderful movie was released, The Kings Speech. It tells the story of England’s Prince Albert, who must ascend to the throne of the United Kingdom as King George VI. His wife, concerned about his ability to rule the kingdom given a severe speech impediment, hires Lionel Logue, an Australian actor and speech therapist, to help Prince Albert overcome the impediment. Logue uses many unorthodox methods to help solve the prince’s speech problems. The movie portrays not only the friendship that develops between the men but also their struggles, as Logue challenges the king to overcome his fears and anxieties to communicate and lead his people. One day, King George sees Lionel Logue sitting on the royal coronation throne. The king shouts, “Get up! You can’t sit on that throne! …it is the chair where kings and queens have sat.” The argument continues as Logue torments the king, who becomes increasingly agitated and shouts, “I am your king!” Logue persists, reminding King George that he has told Logue repeatedly that he does not really want to be king, so why should Logue listen to him. The powerful scene ends with King George overcoming his stutter and adamantly proclaiming: “I have a right to be heard. I have a voice.” This powerful moment in the movie transforms the uncertain Prince Albert to the man who is ready for his role as king. He finds his voice. As I was reminded of this movie, I thought of the unsure prince and how he reminded me of many nurses I have known, who are full of uncertainty, afraid to share their perspectives or intuition about a patient’s needs, feeling silenced despite having a powerful story to tell. This new year of 2019 brings many opportunities for nurses to find their voice in this kingdom of health care. Prince Albert’s transition to king could not begin until he believed in himself and until he has found his voice. One of the other memorable scenes in the movie is when Lionel observes that the King never stammers when he is angry and cursing, which ignites a long oration of cursing. It is true that we are often at our most confident when we are passionate about something. For nurses, that passion is often about patient comfort, relieving pain, and advocating for the patient who has no one else to advocate for him or her. My New Year’s wish for our field of palliative nursing is that we will find our voice. There has never been a better time for nurses to be heard. The authors of the articles in this issue of JHPN have found their voice—their passions are now being shared with thousands of others who will read their articles, including you! Our voices are needed to impact legislation, influence new models of care delivery, achieve an opioid policy that balances safety with patient comfort, and persist in speaking about patient care when the noise level continues to rise and distract from the things that matter most.