Shaping the future of nursing: developing an appraisal framework for public engagement with nursing policy reports

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It is accepted that research should be systematically examined to judge its trustworthiness and value in a particular context. No such appraisal is required of reports published by organizations that have possibly even greater influence on policy that affects the public. This paper explores a philosophical framework for appraising reports. It gives the reasons why informed engagement is important, drawing on Popper's concept of the open society, and it suggests a method for appraisal. Gadamer's concept of the two horizons and Jauss's reception theory offer a methodological framework to enable the individual citizen, whether professional or lay, to engage in debate about policy that affects him or her. By way of a worked example, the framework is applied to two international reports on nursing. Conclusions suggest that nursing policy should be subjected to robust interrogatory appraisal by both profession and public for a democratic debate and creative discourse. Although this analysis is related to international nursing policy, it has a wider relevance and application beyond nursing.

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