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By Sioban Nelson


240 pp., Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001, $55.00, hardcover.


This book is perhaps the most significant contribution to the literature on nursing history in decades. Scholarly, but delightfully readable, this is no revisionist history based on ideology; it is the result of careful research that has yielded fascinating discoveries. The author is senior lecturer at the School of Postgraduate Nursing, the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Nelson contends that long before Florence Nightingale arrived on the scene, nursing nuns made significant, but little-known, advances in health care. More than 35 percent of American hospitals were created and run by women with religious vocations, as were many hospitals in Britain and Australia. These nuns and deaconesses made amazing strides in organizing and upgrading nursing care in hospitals and home care, maintaining a deep commitment to the poor and disenfranchised.


Nelson examines the development of nursing in the context of a complex array of religious and social conflicts, countering the current tendency to ignore the place of religious institutions or Christian conviction in social history. In the process, the nursing sisters learned to use their skills to gain power in the church and society, albeit in a quiet and humble manner-hence, the title. The sisters' commitment to the poor led them to devise creative strategies for fundraising, ranging from outright begging to sliding scales for payment. They forged business relationships with Protestant businessmen to fund their hospitals, circumvented the church hierarchy when necessary to maintain quality care and solidly held their ground over ethical issues.


Nelson demonstrates how modern nursing developed in the midst of the Catholic emancipation in Britain and Ireland, the resurgence of the Irish Church and the vast migrations of Irish, German, Italian and Polish Catholic communities to North America, mainland Britain and Australia. In particular, Nelson follows the nursing Daughters of Charity, documenting the relationship that developed between the French nursing orders and the Irish Catholic Church during this period. She contradicts the popular view that nursing invented itself in the second half of the 19th century, pointing out the major advances in skilled nursing care that originated in 17th-century France with Vincent de Paul's Daughters of Charity. This relationship, she argues, had major significance in the development of nursing in the English-speaking world.


This book is particularly significant for Christian nurses because it clearly shows the influence of faith on the development of modern nursing. Themes such as quality care, concern for the poor and high ethical standards resound throughout the book. We can learn much from the compassion, commitment and creativity demonstrated by these 19th-century nursing sisters.-JAS





By Verna Benner Carson & Harold G. Koenig


256 pp., Radnor, Penn.: Templeton Foundation Press, 2002, $29.95, hardcover, $16.95, paperback.


In keeping with the evolving tradition of parish nursing, this book is written as an on-going conversation between the authors and parish nurses across North America. In fact, I remember parts of it taking place across the dinner table in my home. Although attempts have been made to organize, standardize and control parish nursing, the emerging specialty has grown primarily through oral tradition, as this collection of stories attests. Nurses hear about someone else becoming a parish nurse, so they seek more information, and then begin a parish nurse ministry themselves.

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Carson, the national director of behavioral health at Tender Loving Care-Staff Builders Home Health and author of Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing Practice, is well known to most of our readers. Koenig, associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, has focused much of his research on the connection between faith and health. Together, they have collected the stories of parish nurses from interviews, questionnaires and the professional literature.


The book begins by asking how parish nurses first sensed a call to somehow connect their nursing and their faith. Most of the nurses express a strong passion about their ministry and talk about how they often stumbled into what they see as a dream job. Most saw it as a direct call from God, or at least the fulfillment of a long-held desire to express their faith through nursing. Parish nursing seemed to fill that need.


Chapter two looks at the roles of parish nurses, giving clear examples of how these nurses function as health educator, personal health counselor, trainer of volunteers, organizer of support groups, referral agent and liaison, and integrator of faith and health. Chapter three focuses on "The Journey of the Parish Nurse Within the Church." This includes both challenges and joys. The challenges include congregational resistance, needs that exceed the boundaries, abilities and available time of the nurses, conflict of expectations, territorial jealousy and professional isolation. The joys encompass most of the work of parish nursing itself-helping people cope, reconcile and heal through a ministry of presence and support. Chapter four gives voice to parish nurses who have reached into the community to care for the poor and underserved.


The next three chapters share some of the how-to of getting started in parish nursing. Nurses share the routes they took to prepare themselves through educational programs and on-the-job training. Parish nurses and leaders in parish nursing discuss the merits and drawbacks of various parish nursing models-paid and unpaid, church-based and hospital-based, ministry and marketplace. Finally, the authors and the parish nurses in their sampling consider the future of parish nursing and attempt to predict how the movement will continue to evolve. The appendices provide a wealth of parish nursing resources, including outlines of parish nursing curricula, professional associations, publications, conferences and courses, funding sources, assessment tools and a sample healing service.


Although this book won't give you all the details you need to get started in parish nursing, it will certainly inspire and inform you about the heart of this movement. It serves as an appetizer to whet your appetite for the main course. It would be an excellent book to give to a pastor or governing board of a congregation when introducing the idea of parish nursing to them. -JAS





Edited By Norma L. Chaska


1014 pp., Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2001, $99.95, hardcover.


Chaska attempts, through this encyclopedic volume, to provide both a global overview and an in-depth study of nursing as a profession. She focuses particularly on the thought-life of nursing today, then looks ahead to what she and the contributing authors see as the future of nursing in the 21st century. The content will stimulate reflection and discussion about nursing's possibilities and potential. Following each chapter, Chaska adds "Editor's Questions for Discussion," which will further expand the book's use in the classroom. However, this is definitely a graduate level text.

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Authors such as Geraldene Felton, JoEllen Koerner, Anne J. Davis and a host of others present the historical and current issues involved in nursing's professionalization. The section on nursing education looks at nursing education today in the context of its historical development and projected advances. It presents strategies for successful nursing education in the light of our changing paradigm, looks at globalization, doctoral education and the issue of tenure.


The section on nursing theory includes contributions from Hesook Suzie Kim, Peggy Chinn, Jean Watson, Jacqueline Fawcett, Mary Bourbonniere, Betty Neuman and Eleanor Donelly. The authors take a critical look at the status of nursing scholarship. Donelly concludes, "There is no doubt the nursing theories inspired considerable scholarly activity, including the conduct of empirical investigations. They kept us busy and served as a significant focus for honing our collective intellectual acumen. But though they kept us busy, they also distracted us from the examination and exploration of more fertile ideas to guide our research" (p. 340).


The section on nursing research includes such topics as interdisciplinary efforts, emerging issues, nursing language and knowledge development, literature reviews, instrumentation, theory-based interventions and evidenced-based practice. The nursing practice section covers cultural competence, informatics, clinical decision making, reimbursement, advanced practice, healing practices, community and home health, vulnerable populations and parish nursing.


Two sections deal with nursing administration. The first focuses on nursing service, looking at emerging systems and structures, as well as the elements of a healthy work environment. The second administration section looks at nursing education. Important issues are considered, such as the changing roles of faculty and dean, the impact of a market-driven educational system, faculty roles and accountability.


The final section attempts to project nursing into the next century. There is a great deal of emphasis on healing as the essence of nursing, but it also deals with hard questions raised by biotechnology, market-driven health care and the nursing shortage.


This is a heavy text, literally and figuratively. It will challenge readers to think critically and carefully about nursing and to consider ways to become active participants in shaping the future of nursing.-JAS


Book Briefs

JCN receives more books than we have space to review. Book Briefs are short synopses based on publishers' descriptions: JCN staff have not read or evaluated these books.



Edited By Ann Marriner Tomey and Martha Raile Alligood


672 pp., St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby, 2002, $42.00, paperback.


This modern classic presents authoritative, up-to-date descriptions and analyses of twenty-eight nursing theories in a clear, succinct format. With the addition of two new international theorists, it now provides a comprehensive presentation of thirty-three nursing theorists and their work. Extensive, updated bibliographies at the end of each chapter, split into primary and secondary sources, direct the reader to excellent resources for further study. Each chapter presents an expert overview of a specific theory-some reviewed and validated by the theorists themselves-in a logical chapter organization that makes information easy to follow. Its comprehensive and thorough approach, objective critiques, clear writing style and consistent organization combine to make this new edition of Nursing Theorists and Their Work ideal for theory instruction at both the BSN level and the graduate level.





By Patricia Benner


307 pp., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Health, 2001, $38.67, paperback.


Through phenomenological research into nursing clinical judgment, caring practices and collaborative practice, Benner portrays the characteristics of nurses as they progress through the stages of the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient and expert. In the process, she identifies six areas of clinical knowledge: 1) graded qualitative distinctions, 2) common meanings, 3) assumptions, expectations and sets, 4) paradigm cases and personal knowledge, 5) maxims and 6) unplanned practices. Throughout the book, Benner lets nurses tell their stories, providing ideas and images that readers can draw on to consider their interpretation of what nurses do. She includes many clear, colorful examples and, along with the five stages of skill acquisition, describes the nature of clinical judgment, experiential learning and the seven major domains of nursing practice. The narrative method captures content and contextual issues often missed by formal models of nursing knowledge. This commemorative edition of a classic nursing text provides a new foreword and updated references.





By Dorothy L. Wilt and Carol J. Smucker


178 pp., Washington, DC: American Nurses Association, 2001, $34.95, paperback.


Addressing spirituality generically, holistically and across the life span, this book offers a practical approach to the spiritual care of patients, showing how any nurse can quickly integrate it into practice. It provides the background, ideas, insights and resources needed for spiritual assessment, diagnosis and planning; care giving and care evaluation. The authors also address the care of the nurse's spirit. Case studies and principles of spiritual care represent most practice settings and situations, while numerous references provide valuable online and print resources.



Edited By Janet Griffin


240 pp., Rock Island, Ill.: Trinity Regional Health System, 2000, $12.95, paperback.


Trinity Parish Nurses have collaborated on a compilation of inspirational and personal stories, Bible verses and devotions for everyday living. The book is divided into seven sections: hospitality, faithfulness, wisdom, joy, love, hope and patience. Each section contains stories, nature photographs, biblical passages, meditations and prayers designed to bring comfort and hope to the reader. The book is available from Trinity Regional Health System, 2701-17th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201-5393 or online at

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By Margaret A. Burkhardt and Mary Gail Nagai-Jacobson


380 pp., Albany, N.Y.: Delmar/Thompson Learning, 2002, $22.95, paperback.


This book is designed to help nurses and students develop confidence and competence in integrating spirituality into their nursing practice. Readers are encouraged to address and nurture their spirituality and to recognize spirituality in everyday life as a means of effectively assessing the spiritual concerns of their patients. The text discusses methods of heightening spirituality such as prayer, meditation, mindfulness, bodywork, touch, movement, rest, leisure, music, ritual, play and creativity that can be applied both personally and professionally. Attempting to cover the spiritual waterfront, this book is not written from a Christian worldview, but Christian concepts are scattered throughout.



Edited By Helen Orchard


204 pp., Philadelphia: Jessica Kinsley Publishers, 2001, $24.95, paperback.


Edited by a British theologian who works with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, this multiple-authored book makes another contribution to the current debates on spiritual care in a health care setting. Written by British researchers and practitioners, one of them a nurse, it engages theoretically and practically with three areas: 1) the organizational context in which spiritual care is provided, looking at how spirituality is manifested in a health care institution; 2) the work of spiritual care givers, focusing particularly on the development of professional and ethical aspects of practice; and 3) the social-cultural systems in which care is provided, including discussion of issues pertinent to Christian, Jewish, Muslim and "multi-faith" scenarios.





By James W. Sire


249 pp., Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1990, $12.99, paperback.


How do we learn to honor God in the ways we think? James Sire provides guidance for Christians concerned about the discipleship of our minds. After looking at the attitudes needed, he introduces us to the basics of the Christian worldview. Separate chapters discuss the foundations of knowledge and the relationship between knowing and doing. With an eye to the practical, Sire offers specific suggestions on getting to know what is good and getting to know the world. He also provides valuable insights on how Christians might approach various academic disciplines as disciples of Christ.





By Phillip E. Johnson


192 pp., Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2000, $17.99, hardcover.


Science is the supreme authority in our culture. If there is a dispute, science arbitrates it. If a law is to be passed, science must ratify it. If truth is to be taught, science must approve it. And when science is ignored, storms of protest are heard in the media, in the university-even in local coffee shops.


While we may learn a great deal from science, it does not offer us unlimited knowledge. In fact, most scientists readily acknowledge that science cannot provide answers to questions of ultimate purpose or meaning. So to what authority will we turn for these? The deficiencies in science and the philosophy that undergirds it (naturalism) call for a cognitive revolution-a fundamental change in our thinking habits. And it all begins with a wedge of truth. Johnson argues compellingly for an understanding of reason that brings scientific certainty back into relational balance with philosophical inquiry and religious faith.





Edited By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Nancy Mitchell-Autio and LeAnn Theiman


360 pp, Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, Inc., 2001, $12.95, paperback.


As the title suggests, this book encourages, uplifts and honors nurses by sharing the sunshine and sorrows of their profession. Nearly 3,000 health caregivers from all over the world offered their stories, their hearts and their souls to inspire one another. This book reminds nurses why they entered the profession in the first place, and seasoned nurses reflect on why they stay. Health care workers from all areas of practice will find inspiration and hope for the future to meet the ever- changing demands of the field.

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By Pam Farrel


176 pp., Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001, $9.99, paperback.


In a world of new challenges and disappointing setbacks, finding the courage to move ahead can be a formidable task for anyone. In this inspiring book for women in leadership, Farrel focuses on twenty-one "winning words" that can focus your heart and mind on what is possible with God. Woven into each chapter are lessons from Farrel's experience and from other women who have overcome obstacles to become achievers and influencers.





By F. Arline Zimmerman


149 pp., Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation, 2001, $17.84, paperback, $8.00, e-book available from


This personal account of missionary nursing in post-Korean War Korea describes the unimaginable hardships of the era and the courage of the Korean people. The author shares her personal story and perspectives as she struggles with understanding an unfamiliar culture while attempting to serve those in need.





By Philip G. Davis


350 pp., Dallas, Texas: Spence Publishing Company, 1998, $17.95, paperback.


This book provides the first critical evaluation by a qualified scholar of the theological, anthropological and historical claims of the Goddess movement, the most influential form of radical feminist spirituality. As its adherents within churches, education and nursing grow in number, Goddess spirituality influences much of postmodern nursing theory. However, few have examined its purported ancient pedigree or its promises of sexual justice and social harmony-claims that Davis exposes as a sham. The author is a professor of religious studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada.





CD-ROM, Colorado Springs, Colo.: Global Mapping International, 2000, $39.95, available online at


In the wake of the September 11 tragedy, many nurses are wondering about how to relate to Muslim clients and colleagues. This CD-ROM contains some of the best educational resources about Islam and Christian witness to Islam. Designed as a high-quality research and training resource for Christians seriously interested in ministering in the Muslim context, it benefits nurses, field workers, professors, students and local churches.






Produced By Charity Spatzeck-Olsen


30 minutes, Orleans, Mass.: Paraclete Video Productions, 2002, $69.95, including video resource book.


Beyond Regret features post-abortive women and men, and counselors who specialize in the emotional pain caused by abortion. Topics covered include: acknowledging the emotional pain, accepting responsibility for the choice to have had an abortion, forgiving yourself and others, and grieving the loss of the aborted child. The video encourages post-abortive women and men of all ages to seek hope, help and healing. Accompanying the video is a support guide that lists practical steps and lists resources and organizations related to post-abortion healing.

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