• Nursing (on) a Sick Planet: Critical Consciousness and Action in a Time of Planetary Decline
    Vol. 3 No. 2 (2021)

                           101355002-278x185.jpg  HEMERA: THINKSTOCK

    2021 Vol 3(2)

    Nursing (on) a Sick Planet:  Critical Consciousness and Action in a Time of Planetary Decline

    The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse is pleased to announce a special issue exploring Nursing’s role in sustainability and planetary health. As one of the largest and most trusted professional workforces in Canada, nurses can have significant influence in climate change discourse and action. It has long been within the nurses’ professional mandate to address issues concerning environmental health and today, that mandate extends to sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Through critical consciousness raising, action and system transformation, Nurses and nursing can and must work to affect meaningful and sustained change.




  • DISRUPTING NURSING: Towards Anti-Racist and Decolonial Practice
    Vol. 3 No. 1 (2021)


    The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse is pleased to publish a special issue on critical anti-racism practice, including clinical, research, leadership and policy making practice. Racism is a pressing moral concern, embedded in colonial, imperial and capitalist foundations that are created, sustained and redeployed by systemic ruling relations. This issue builds upon a heightened global awakening of the interpersonal and structural violence of racism, inviting critical discourse regarding anti-racist nursing.

  • "Isolation as Punishment." A Pastel by Karen Haines RP MScN

    Power, Discourse and Resistance: Critical Perspectives on Mental Health and Mental Health Nursing
    Vol. 2 No. 2 (2020)

    Guest Editors

    Dave Holmes, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa

    Amélie Perron, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa


     Intended Focus of this Special Issue

    This Special Issue aims to foster and bring together critical perspectives on matters that directly or indirectly relate to contemporary notions of mental health and mental illness, and the way these notions suffuse everyday life. It seeks to promote scholarship that brings forth the complex intersections of sex, gender, race, class, age and ability and their effects on persons’ capacity to conform to various expectations. Such expectations may include for example the need for self-management, self-work and individual transformation; entrepreneurship; or ensuring one’s (socioeconomic) relevance in contemporary societies through proper patterns of performance, choice, consumption and competition. Such expectations are neither neutral nor inconsequential. For many individuals, groups and communities, they predetermine discourses of normality, acceptance and inclusion on the one hand, and of abnormality, rejection and exclusion on the other. They also fix corresponding identities in ways that both open up and close off opportunities for representation, recognition, justice and equity.

    Making sense of the above is key to understanding two distinct but interrelated phenomena: the growing pathologization of human thoughts, emotions and behaviours, and the parallel downplaying of systems of discrimination and oppression that undermine human agency, personhood and connectedness, leaving only individual explanations of mental distress centered around ‘deficits’. The language of mental health and illness suffuses everyday life in such a way that every emotion brought on by the struggles or pleasures of life can become a symptom to be clinically managed and treated. In short, every individual can be subject to an expert evaluation of whether their thinking and functioning falls within social expectations and norms. Such thinking can be difficult to identify and problematize. It determines the way we perceive ourselves, our capacities and decisions, how we resolve problems, and how we categorize our responses to everyday occurrences. It also changes the way we perceive others around us, in particular those who think and act outside the realm of ‘normal’. Yet ‘normal’ is a moving target, spurred by multiple forces ranging from free-market policies and pressures to human rights discourses. Defining ‘normal’ is therefore a powerful act—but so is challenging the social, economic, scientific and legal foundations of such definitions.

    There is a need to question those discourses, practices, institutions and laws that shape the realities of persons who experience emotional difficulties and/or who are constructed as mentally ill. We believe there is also a need to challenge and rethink the way certain agents, such as nurses, are called upon to intervene on those individuals deemed to pose a problem because of their mental state. Nurses practice at the intersection of individual and collective experience, state objectives, clinical guidelines and scientific evidence. They play a key role in the way current configurations of care and support can perpetuate or disrupt patterns of suffering, exclusion and violence. In other words, they are unequivocally bound to people’s experiences of mental health and illness. Nursing scholarship in this area is thus critical in order to shape a healthcare agenda that is respectful of people’s agency and personhood. We therefore hope this Special Issue can contribute meaningfully to the discussion, toward the full realization of social justice, equity and human dignity in mental health work.


    Note: COVER IMAGE: "ISOLATION AS PUNISHMENT." A Pastel by K. Haines. 

  • Special Issue: Nīpawīstimatowin -“bearing witness for one another”
    Vol. 2 No. 1 (2020)

    This special issue  sought and welcomed submissions grounded in Canadian Indigenous discourse and worldviews. Further and more specifically, the journal sought contributions that critically examine the past, current, and future states of Indigenous peoples in Canada, from a nursing perspective, that is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Submissions focusing on decolonizing nursing care, nursing policy, nursing research  and/or nursing education were of particular interest.

    Suggested Topics Included:

    • Cultural Humility, Cultural Safety and Cultural Security
    • Jurisdictional Issues including Jordan’s Principle
    • Indigenous Genomics
    • Decolonizing Nursing in Canada
    • Gendered Oppression
    • Indigenous Health Rights
    • Restorative Health Justice
    • Indigenous Data Sovereignty
    • Indigenous Wellness Practice
    • Counteracting Epistemic Racism
    • Indian Hospitals and Medicalization
    • Historical and Intergenerational Trauma
    • Social Justice for Rights Based Healthcare
    • Responses to the TRC Calls to Action in Nursing
    • Scholarly Her/His-stories of Personal Experiences and Pearls of Wisdom


    We acknowledge the traditional lands where this journal special edition is published, on the unceded traditional territories of Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Huron-Wendat peoples. This territory is subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Anishnabek and Haudenosaunee to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.  

    Image entitled: “High Vision” (2020) image gifted by artist Dion Simon (Ermineskin Cree Nation) (note- website is under construction)

  • Social Justice Nursing
    Vol. 1 No. 2 (2019)

    Just over a decade ago, the WHO’s (2008) commission on the social determinants of health concluded that social injustice was killing people on a grand scale. With increasing health inequities (i.e. disparities in health and quality of life rooted in marginalization and/or social disadvantage), the role of nursing advocacy to affect social change through practice, leadership, policy and education is crucial. Indeed, the Canadian Nurses Association recently reaffirmed the centrality of social justice as a focus for nursing viewing it as “means to an end and an end in itself,” acknowledging its consistency with the values set out in our code of ethics (CNA, 2010; CNA, 2017). Critical community health nurse, Dr. Benita Cohen (2010) invites nurses in any setting to take four key advocacy steps in order to enact a social justice practice, including: equipping ourselves with the facts, challenging societal beliefs about individual responsibility for health, promoting equity considerations in health policy and program planning within our own organization, and working to bring about social change. To that end, submissions are invited reflecting Social Justice nursing including any combination of these themes:

    • Critical analyses of health inequities and the role of nurses/nursing;

    • Strategies to challenge societal beliefs, policies or health care practices which contribute to the marginalization or victim-blaming of populations experiencing health inequities;

    • Innovations in practice, policy, education or research aimed at promoting social justice and equity;

    • Calls for action or Lessons learned from exemplars of nursing-involved social activism.
    Submissions are to be nurse-authored or if submitted by a team, the lead author must be a nurse.

    For author guidelines, please see

    Firm Deadline for Submission through our online portal: Sept 13th, 2019

    Note: Prospective authors must register with the journal in order to submit their work.

    For any questions including to discuss a proposed submission, don’t hesitate to contact us at

    Canadian Nurses Association (2010). Social Justice: A Means to an End. An End in itself. 2nd Ed. Retrieved from:
    Canadian Nurses Association (2017) Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. Retrieved from:
    Cohen, B. (2010). From witness to social justice advocate. The Canadian Nurse Journal, The last word. September. Retrieved from: .
    World Health Organization (2008) Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved from:


  • See it. Speak it. Write it. Change it : The Inaugural issue
    Vol. 1 No. 1 (2019)

    Our inaugural issue’s theme will reflect the journal’s tag line: “See it .... Speak it .... Write it .... Change it" and offers space for a wide cross-section of submissions that critically reflect on current and historical nursing concerns and/or examples of advocacy efforts across Canada that seek to dismantle inequities, oppressive practices, and achieve social justice. In this important time of Truth and Reconcilliaction, we especially invite submissions from Indigenous nurses and/or Indigenous scholarship.

    Submission examples may include but are not limited to:

    • Nurse Activism
    • Examples of/Calls for Resistance in Nursing
      • Anti-Oppression nursing efforts- past or present
    • Policy advocacy
    • Disruptive Innovations in Nursing Research, Practice or Education
    • Critical Pedagogy / Education for Social Change
    • Intersectional Analyses of Health or Quality of Life
    • Critical Analyses of Power in the context of Health, Quality of Life or Nursing
    • Health (in)equity
    • Social Justice Nursing
    • Decolonizing Nursing
    • Linguistic Hegemony and Resistance
    • Critical Community Health Nursing