Editorial, SJCS September 2017 issue: NCCS in the past and for the future
I have been a member of NCCS for a long time, and in April, I assumed the role as new NCCS chairperson. Over the summer, I have acquainted myself with all documentation about NCCS's activities from 1980, when the society was founded, until today. It was interesting reading! I am impressed and touched by the first pioneers’ engagement and hard work to develop and spread scientific knowledge about care and caring as it has been developed in the Nordic countries. Reading these documents also gives inspiration to shoulder responsibility for future scientific development. Let me make a short resume of the scientific discussions from the NCCSs first 25 years 1:
In the 1980s, the scientific discussions were focused on what characterises a scientific paradigm in care and caring. The importance of concept‐ and theory development was elucidated and reflections about what kind of phenomena and fields of interest could be related to caring and caring science. During the 1990s, there was a deeper discussion about theory of science, but with a more evident focus on caring science. Activities during the 2000s mainly focused on internal scientific questions, conceptual discussions and questions about methods.
You might think that the discussion about paradigm and theory of science in caring science has been discussed enough in the past. However, it seems the same issues need to be revitalised in today's debate, because times have changed and there are new circumstances for care and caring in the society of today. Internal scientific discussion has driven the development of caring science ahead, but the challenge of today is to spread scientific knowledge of caring to society, participate in the public debate and withdraw with a caring science perspective when questions about care and caring are under consideration. Internationally, there are a lot of financial constraints in the health care and welfare sectors, which demand prioritisations. The decisions about prioritisations should be based on scientific knowledge about care and caring. Accordingly, the concept of evidence is relevant to discuss further, both in the internal and external debate.
In European countries, 2 there is a shortage of nurses and other professional caregivers in care settings. Professional caregivers leave their employment, work that they like and find meaningful, because the conditions required for proper care according to scientific knowledge and proven experiences are downsized. Professional caregivers cannot take responsibility for patient safety. This dilemma cannot be solved only on a professional level. The discussion and decisions must take place on an organisational level. Evidence from caring science must be considered when health care is to be organised and planned. NCCS can be a voice in the public debate and elucidate the importance of health care being planned and organised according to results from caring science and that these results can be implemented. The mission for NCCS is to develop, support and spread this scientific knowledge. In the past, concepts and theories have been developed about care and caring in the Nordic countries 3. Knowledge has also been spread in healthcare education in such things as text books 4. A mission for tomorrow is to continue the theory development and the implementation of scientific knowledge about care and caring in practice.