One of the personal/professional highlights of my summer was the chance to attend a 'think tank for nurse activists' at UMass/Amherst, organized by Peggy Chin and colleagues. There, I met and worked with over 50 colleagues from across the US and Canada, joined together by the need to "do something" in our respective specialties. Peggy and colleagues have also just launched nursology.net - "a web site for nurse scholars, developed and maintained by nurse scholars... a repository for resources about nursing conceptual models, grand theories, middle-range theories, and situation-specific theories, and associated methodologies." Their timing could not be better. Elaine has just started an 18-month RN-to-baccalaureate program, and one of her first assignments is to identify and describe the nursing theory that best expresses her own philosophy of nursing. As an AD graduate from 25 years ago, she's not familiar with the concept of formal nursing theory or philosophy as addressed in academia, though her practice is most certainly grounded in what Anne Kibrick calls "intelligent caring." Among her other skills and qualifications, she's board-certified in her specialty, and I'm writing this from a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio while she attends the annual scientific meeting of the Association for Vascular Access. I took several courses before bailing on my grad school plans, including one on nursing theory, and though the subject first seemed unconnected from the real world for me, I soon dug in to the notion that all of us hang our practice on some theoretical framework, no matter how shaky. The approach that made the most sense to me was 'Nursing as Caring,' a theory developed by Anne Boykin and Savina Schoenhofer. Here's a good overview, though it appears the blog is not currently maintained. **NOTE:link removed. The core message behind the think tank and nursology is simple - nursing is a unique discipline that blends scientific understanding with an appreciation for humanism. We aren't assistant doctors, passive observers, expendable help, or "angels," though each of these views often seeps into the public's consciousness, or even our own. As one example of the latter, Peggy and colleagues analyzed current nursing literature - articles in rigorous nursing journals - and found that a substantial portion of them did not cite other nurse authors or work. WTAF?!? So, whether you're deep into academia, considering grad school or that undergraduate degree that was supposed to be the entry level for practice 50 years ago, check out nursology. I'm going to tell Elaine when she gets back from today's sessions.