Academic journal article Creative Nursing

A Summit of Sages Exploring Social Justice and Nursing: An Interview with Marie Manthey and Joanne Disch

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

A Summit of Sages Exploring Social Justice and Nursing: An Interview with Marie Manthey and Joanne Disch

Article excerpt

Beth Beaty discusses with Marie Manthey and Joanne Disch, organizers of the recent Summit of Sages, their efforts to bring nurses from around the world together to think and talk about social justice. They share their belief that social justice is a part of the fabric of nursing. A Summit of Sages encouraged participants to a higher level of involvement in their communities. Marie and Joanne hope their example will lead to expanded cooperation between businesses and academic institutions.

Beth: We recently completed a very successful Summit of Sages, our second, at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Let's start by discussing the history of the Summit of Sages. Where did the idea for this meeting of the minds come from?

Marie: I think it was Joanne's idea first-bringing a group of people together to talk about their contributions.

Joanne: I was teaching undergraduates in the leadership course in the School of Nursing in 2002 or so, and I mentioned a person I had worked with who really influenced my thinking: Claire Fagan, who is the former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and was actually the first woman president of an Ivy League university. My students had no idea who she was, and I was appalled. I really felt we needed to have an event that recognizes phenomenal nursing leaders and introduces them to the younger generation of nurses. I thought about creating a library of nursing leaders, and then realized how neat it would be to bring all these people together.

Then Marie and I talked about the idea of a Summit of Sages around the topic of nursing leadership, and of course it was logical that Marie be one of the sages for that first conference: She has certainly influenced my thinking as well as that of literally hundreds of thousands of nurses. So that is the origin of the Summit of Sages: the idea that we have to help the younger generation of nurses learn about the thinking of these wise women and men.

Marie: I think the idea of calling it a summit was just such a good word; it was the right word choice because we both knew right from the very beginning that we wanted it to be a gathering of people from all different aspects of nursing, all different walks of nursing, all different types of positions. We didn't want it to be just a presentation of leaders talking at an audience. We wanted it to be a gathering of specific leaders talking about leadership, so calling it a summit was the absolute right choice. It's unique compared to the typical conferences within our profession.

Beth: I am also interested in how you came up with the idea of sages. Was there special meaning for that specific term?

Joanne: Well, a sage is a wise person. I guess we liked the alliteration of Summit of Sages. Sue Ellen Pinkerton, PhD, RN, FAAN, an independent nursing consultant who was cochair of the first summit, was also very involved in these decisions. The idea of the first conference was that it would be these nursing leaders who were known by name-internationally known. We wanted a word to connote wisdom, not just being well-known. That is, having wisdom to share. As Marie said, it wasn't meant to be presentations but rather reflections.

Our most recent summit had a deliberate twist on the idea of sages because our speakers weren't all nurses, nor were they internationally known, but they exemplified people right next to us on a daily basis who are sages. With the topic of social justice, we really showed that there are people who walk among us who are wise men and women.

Beth: How did you choose your first group of sages? And then compare that to how you chose the group for the second summit.

Joanne: The processes were very different. The first group was chosen mostly by Sue Ellen Pinkerton and me. We were planning a summit-we weren't using the word sages yet-and there were these people who just stood out. There certainly were other influential people we could have selected. …

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