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JCN reviews and briefs books and other media resources as a service to our readers. We do not sell or profit financially from these books. Prices quoted are the original publisher's price. Book Briefs are short synopses based on the publisher's descriptions. Web sites were current and evaluated at the time of publication.




The Spiritual Ministry Of Nursing


By Mary Elizabeth O'Brien


116 pp., Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2008, $34.95, paperback.


Review: Sister Mary Elizabeth, well known to JCN readers, has created another precious gem for nurses, advance practice nurses, students, and educators to support our practice. A Sacred Covenant links to her earlier books (Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground, Nurse with the Alabaster Jar, Prayer in Nursing: The Spirituality of Compassionate Caregiving) but is entirely different. Although her earlier books validated the sacredness of the relationship between nurses and patients, this book explores aspects of the relationship or covenant in depth. O'Brien relates how God established a sacred covenant with his people, to how nurses enter into sacred covenants with patients through our caring and service.


In addition to O'Brien's amazing way of expressing and making every day nursing acts sacred ("the hidden ministry of comfortingly putting a warm blanket on a chilled patient" p. 89), what I found delightful is how the book is organized. Not only are there themed sections with chapters, but each chapter consists of devotionals that can be used on a daily basis: by nurses preparing for work; in a group such as a Nurses Christian Fellowship meeting; or by students in a classroom. (I'm thinking about asking permission from the publisher to post short quotes from the book in the break room where I work.) In other words, this book can be used, easily lending itself to the real world in which we live and nurse. Each chapter begins with Scripture and a meditation about the aspect of the covenant being discussed, then proceeds with a series of short devotionals (with more Bible references). Chapters conclude with a "biblically themed nurse's prayer" (p. ix). For example, Chapter 1, "A Sacred Covenant: The Spiritual Minister of Nursing" begins with Genesis 6:18, "I will establish my covenant with you," then offers The Sacred Covenant of Caring, "Gentle God, Who blessed the world with a holy covenant of love, You have called Your nurses to a sacred covenant of caring;...of compassionately serving ill brothers and sisters...of tenderly comforting anxious brothers and sisters...." The chapter proceeds with five devotionals: Called with A Holy Calling; Called by Name; Serve One Another; Make a Joyful Noise: The Nurses as God's Flute; A Sacred Covenant; and ends with A Nurse's Prayer of Covenant. Numerous anecdotal stories are included throughout the book, making it genuine and adding emotion to the covenant concept.


The price of this book, marketed by Jones & Bartlett for classroom use, could be a hindrance. However, offers it at a much lower price. Honestly, don't miss getting this book. O'Brien offers a rich feast for weary nurses.-KSS





Brief: This helpful Web site offers facts and insights about the problem of diabetes mellitus around the world. The IDF represents over 200 diabetes associations in over 160 countries. The site relays diabetes conferences and events occurring around the world and offers a free e-newsletter and statistics on the prevalence and sequelae of diabetes mellitus. This is a well-organized and easily navigated site, providing a wealth of information and global perspective. It's a great site for statistics and to learn more about the problem of diabetes in specific countries.-KSS



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Brief: Representing the Diabetes Atlas 3rd edition published by the International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Atlas Online is a free, online textbook about diabetes mellitus. Covering everything about diabetes from A to Z, the online atlas is useful to both laypersons and healthcare practitioners. Each section has separate tabs with information laid out artistically on short, readable Web pages, so you don't scroll through long pages of HTML text. Colorful diagrams illustrate concepts. An extensive glossary offers concise definitions of terms, and an acronym glossary provides an at-a- glance overview of common acronyms (i.e., FBG, fasting blood glucose; FCG, fasting capillary glucose; and FPG, fasting plasma glucose). It includes a section for publishing errata on updates or corrections to the atlas. Anyone in clinical practice or diagnosed with diabetes mellitus will find this Web site helpful.-KSS




Brief: The ADA has set up an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-navigate Web site for the public on diabetes mellitus (DM). A News & Research section contains information for healthcare providers, including journals, books, scientific findings, meeting reports, and the like. The main site contains food and fitness tips, diabetes basics, warnings, and general news information. A "Recipe of the Day" button takes you to a recipe (today, Beef Stroganoff) from Quick & Healthy, Volume II, 2nd Edition, a cookbook published by the ADA.


This is an excellent site to refer patients and friends to who want to know more about DM and find lots of tips and resources for healthful living.-KSS




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By Christa L. Briggs


Brief: In January 2006, my husband and I were blessed with a healthy baby boy. Much to our surprise, he was born without his left hand and only part of his left forearm. We listened as physicians described various causes of congenital amputations, and in his case, they believed it was due to a sporadic genetic incident. Although it was a natural tendency to blame myself as the one who carried him for 9 months, I knew this physical difference could not have been my fault. As a follower of Jesus, I also refused to believe this was a "fluke" occurrence, with no meaning or purpose.


Turning to God's Word provided more answers than I could have found elsewhere. The Holy Spirit led me to Scriptures such as, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be," (Psalm 139:15-16, NIV). What a comforting thing to know that God, our creator, has cared for us since we were in our mother's womb!!


It was these experiences, and the lack of available resources, that initiated my desire to share some unique perspectives about birth defects, along with my hope in Christ, on a broader scale. In 2007 we created, offering information about limb differences and causes, Scripture and insights, spiritual and emotional support, treatment and prosthetics, and links to other Web sites. The response to has been overwhelming. My husband and I have connected with individuals and families all over the United States and around the world affected by amputations and other congenital differences. Numerous e-mails come to our inbox weekly with positive feedback about how the content and Bible passages have provided others with a hopeful perspective.


Ministry can occur in many different ways. As a full-time nursing faculty member and mother of two small children, juggling numerous responsibilities each day, I realize it is not my season of life for travel and mission work. However, with over 21,000 hits on the Web site thus far, I realize the wonderful opportunity God has given me to minister globally from within my own home. Web ministry that incorporates biblical perspectives can be a unique and fulfilling way to nurse and care for others. People are hungry for the truth and searching for meaning in their lives. As Christian nurses, we have knowledge to share and a relationship with the Great Physician, Jesus, who guides us by his Holy Spirit.-Christa L. Briggs, EdD, RN, CNE, Western Kentucky University School of Nursing, Bowling Green, Kentucky.




Reflections on Healing, Wholeness and Restoration


By G. Scott Morris, Editor


120 pp., Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2004, $18.00, paperback.


Review: G. Scott Morris, MD, is founder and Executive Director of the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee, a large faith-based, nonprofit health center serving those who have limited access to healthcare. The mission of the Church Health Center is to "reclaim the Church's biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits. [Their] ministries provide healthcare for the poor and promote healthy bodies and spirits for all." It is in that spirit of Christian ministry that Morris, an elder in the United Methodist Church, has compiled a collection of sermons on healing and wholeness written by 16 diverse authors. This ecumenical and interfaith group includes, in Morris' words, "conservative evangelicals and liberal Protestants...; academic teachers of preaching and ministers who preach from the same pulpit every week," such as Barbara Brown Taylor (Episcopal priest and author), Micah D. Greenstein (Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis), James A. Forbes, Jr. (American Baptist clergy, Emeritus at Riverside Church, Manhattan), and Gary Gunderson (Methodist clergy, Senior Vice President of Health Ministries at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis).


This book offers a wide range of theological perspectives on the biblical mandate for healing in sermons suitable for personal reflection, daily devotions, or group study and discussion. Questions the authors wrestle with range from spiritual pain around disease to "Why Me?" Chapters range from general ("The Healing Power of Community") to deeply personal ("My Son Beat Me to the Grave"). "Some Healing is Up to You," writes Maxie Dunnam, and I would add that some reflection about healing is up to us as well. This book is a marvelous resource for that endeavor, for all Christians interested in restoratio.-Rev. Dr. Deborah L. Patterson, MHA Executive Director, International Parish Nurse Resource Center.