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Edited by Lynn McDonald


16 volumes, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University, $85.00-100.00 each. Project information:


Brief: This 16-volume series makes available Nightingale's major published books, articles and pamphlets (many long out of print) and a vast amount of heretofore unpublished correspondence and notes. The first eight volumes, published 2002-2005, include Nightingale's Life and Family, Spiritual Journey, Theology, Mysticism and Eastern Religions, Society and Politics, Public Health Care, European Travels and Women. Future volumes will include Public Health Care in India (2 vols), Suggestions for Thought, The Crimean War, War Office Reform and Other Wars, the Foundation of Professional Nursing (2 vols) and Hospital Reform.




By Barbara Dossey, Louise Sanders, Deva-Marie Beck, Alex Attewell


367 pp., Silver Spring, MD: ANA, 2005, $34.95, paperback.


Review: Using historical research and interpretive biography, three Nightingale scholars and the director of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London (Attewell) have prepared a remarkable volume about Nightingale's life and contributions. The authors help us see Nightingale as a giant of the 19th century, who accomplished amazing feats against all odds. Using the analogy of pentimento, the technique of removing a top layer of paint from a painting to reveal images that have been painted over, the authors reveal underlying stories and messages in Nightingale's work which are the roots, inspiration and foundation for contemporary nursing. These messages are at the core of both Nightingale's and our lifework of healing, leadership and global action toward health.


A strength of this book is the presentation of Nightingale's original writings along with description of the methodology used by the authors to draw their conclusions. Included are Nightingale's formal addresses to nurses at the Nightingale Training Institute (1872-1900); and her last formal paper, Sick Nursing and Health Nursing, written for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.


Nightingale's words are thoroughly inspirational!! I resonated with her insistence that the nurse's inner spiritual life and relationship with God is foundational to the care of others. In 1874 she wrote, "Each night let us come to a knowledge of ourselves before going to rest: as the Psalm says: 'Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.' Is it possible that we who are alive among the sick and dying can be satisfied not to make friends with God each night?" (p. 234). I cheered Nightingale's call to nurses to develop deep, lifelong friendships and loyalty to each other as a source of strength for the difficult task of nursing. How relevant her words are to nurses today as we struggle with derogatory work relationships.


Nightingale also showed nurses the true professional power we possess. She wrote, "Hospital Nurses have charge of their patients in a way that no other woman has charge: in the first place, no other woman is in charge really of grown-up men[horizontal ellipsis]. Also, a Hospital Nurse is in charge of people in their sick and feeble, anxious and dying hours, when they are singularly alive to impressions. She leaves her stamp upon them, whether she will or no" (p. 235). Nightingale said similar things of nurses in district, private and maternity roles. She additionally laid out a health focus for nursing, articulating the nurse's role in promoting, maintaining and restoring health as opposed to just focusing on the treatment of illness and disease. She saw nurses as the primary health educators of the public, a major role we continue to serve today. The authors help us appreciate how remarkable Nightingale was in light of her severe, chronic, debilitating illness with Crimean Fever (brucellosis) the latter half of her life.


Dossey and her colleagues focus in particular on Nightingale's spirituality, describing her as a practical Christian mystic. They base their understanding of mysticism on the work of Evelyn Underhill, considered the world's foremost authority on mysticism. The term mystic is defined as "a person who has, to a greater or lesser degree, a direct experience of God" (p. 342). Underhill believed that mystics go through five phases of spiritual development, with union with what is known as "God" as the ultimate quest. A practical mystic indicates a mystic who lives out their spiritual beliefs and brings a sense of the divine to all of life (p. 342). By Christian, the authors refer to a mystic in the Western as opposed to Eastern tradition, meaning God remains a separate entity to be united with rather than a transcendental merging of the self within with the life force that underlies all of life (Eastern chi, prana, etc.).


Although Nightingale expressed her spirituality through Christianity, it seems she drew her spiritual beliefs from all the major religious traditions (pp. 44-49). The authors point out that she cannot be confined to a specific religious tradition but state, "Her view of the Absolute encompassed and transcended expressions of the Divine in terms of specific religions; this is the overarching definition of the mystical tradition" (p. 45). While this is not evident in Nightingale's writings included in this book (for example, she quotes the Bible and speaks of God, Jesus Christ, Savior, Master, Commander and the Holy Spirit); according to Dossey, Nightingale uses the words Absolute and Divine in other writings. It is easy to conclude that Nightingale accepted aspects of truth in all world religions. Certainly her keen intellect would have seen the common truths in all religions (i.e., the principle of Mt 7:12, the Golden Rule, is in all major religions). Furthermore, even though Nightingale applied principles of Scripture to life and nursing, she did not believe the core tenet of Christianity-that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, Savior of the world, and that believing in him is the only way to have eternal life with God (Jn 14:6).

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No matter what Nightingale believed, Florence Nightingale Today helped me more fully understand how she delineated the concepts we attend to in our work-nursing, person, health and environment; taught the fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing; and envisioned nursing as a spiritual practice that treats body, mind and spirit to promote health. Even though I disagree with some of Nightingale's spiritual beliefs, especially about Jesus Christ, I can learn much about nursing from her and from this book that shares her vision for our profession.-KSS



By Gillian Gill


560 pp., Ballantine, 2004, hardcover, $27.95, 2005, $15.95, paperback.


Brief: Gill, an accomplished biographer and educator, has fashioned a lively portrait of Nightingale's life. Blending historical detail with novelistic style, Gill offers fascinating particulars about Victorian society, the Nightingale clan, the Crimean War, Nightingale's reshaping of military medicine and public health, and her interrelationships with family and prominent Victorians. More personal than most biographies, Gill's offers an intimate view into Nightingale's public and private life within a restrictive social order that had little place for women other than making society and arranging domestics affairs.




By David Pullinger


168 pp., Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim, 2001, $16.00, paperback.


Brief: What are the implications of information technology for Christians? Who is my neighbor in the borderless, unpatrolled lands of cyberspace? Pullinger, an e-commerce, e-publishing and website consultant, has written a fascinating and helpful resource for Christians about IT. He helps us understand that technology is not good, bad or neutral, as he delineates critical relational and ethical questions associated with IT. Jesus Christ, who entered our world and chose and maintained a position of subordinate power rather than domination and control, is offered as a model for entering into and influencing the internet. Pullinger believes the best way to follow Christ's example is to explore application and use of IT within the context of Christian community, and he helps the reader discover how to do just that.




By Myrna Armstrong and Shari Frueh, eds. 288 pp., New York: Springer, 2003, $44.95, hardcover.


Brief: Twenty-three nursing telecommunications experts offer practical strategies nurses can use in the classroom or clinic to get the best out of modern distance communications technology. Technical, social and evaluative components of distance education and telehealth are thoroughly explored. An exhaustive reference list at the end of each chapter provides opportunity to pursue more information on a particular subject.



Edited by M. Sandra Wood


Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, quarterly, $50.00 individual, $170.00 institutional.


Brief: Studies have shown that health information is a major reason people worldwide access the Internet. Health care professionals need to be knowledgeable about what is available on-line and be able to direct clients to reliable, accurate, quality information. Edited by a medical reference librarian, this journal focuses on helping users learn how to evaluate Web-based consumer health resources and offers ongoing description and analysis of consumer health information sites.



Edited by Joyce Fitzpatrick and Kristen Montgomery 448 pp., New York: Springer, 2002, $48.95, paperback.


Brief: These authors have done the work for nurses in researching clinical, consumer and professional websites. Sites on everything from general health care to critical care and government agencies to international nursing resources are included, along with guidelines for browsing and evaluating health care information found on the internet. An added plus is an appendix containing an alphabetical index of web sites discussed in the book.



Edited by Michael Breen, Eamonn Conway and Barry McMillan 238 pp., Ireland: Columba Press & Dufour Editions, 2004 $19.95, paperback.


Brief: Fifteen authors join together to explore the impact of technology on society and human potential from four disciplinary perspectives: philosophy, theology, sociology and cultural studies. Questions concerning the interface of technological progress and the Christian vision of the human person are probed from a broad interdisciplinary base. This book is a good resource for policy makers, IT personnel and students who need to investigate how technology both positively and negatively influences our lives.





New York: Springer, published annually and included with membership in AAHN.


Brief: Now in its thirteenth year, Nursing History Review is the only scholarly annual of new peer review research on the history of nursing and health care. It publishes significant scholarly work in all aspects of nursing history, as well as short and extended reviews of recently published books and updates on national and international activities in health care history. Table of contents for all issues 1993-2005 is available at; article content is not available on-line but back issues can be ordered from Springer or AAHN.




By John K. Crellin 340 pp., New York: Pharmaceutical Press, 2004, $59.95 hardcover, $39.95 paperback.


Review: Crellin, professor of the history of medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, with British qualifications in both pharmacy and medicine, combines scholarly research and personal experience to explore the social history of everyday medicine usage in Britain, the U.S. and Newfoundland during the 20th century. Underlying Crellin's study is the primary question: Why did physicians and sick people prescribe or choose a particular medicine, often when others felt it was of little or no value or remained uncertain of it?


Drawing on an extensive array of archival, scholarly and popular publications and sources, Crellin compares and contrasts both halves of the century, highlighting how physician, druggist and patient experiences and expectations changed over time. He traces the movement from naturally-to chemically-derived medicines (e.g.: from tonics to tablets), from social to scientific validation of medicine effectiveness, and from physician-to government-or policy-controlled distribution. Acceptance of particular medicines, Crellin argues, has been less a reflection of their inherent value (efficacy and safety) than of social, medical and pharmaceutical influences (e.g.: the consumer movement, litigation, advertising, cost-effectiveness, standardization, media reports, and adverse effects). Most surprising, perhaps, is the lag between criticism given to particular medicines and the public shift in acceptance (e.g., the 40-year lag between recognition of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the public "awakening" to concerns over antibiotic overuse in the 1990s). Rising public fear and skepticism have contributed to a "lost faith" in conventional, pharmaceutical medicines.


Crellin carefully examines issues from multiple perspectives, emphasizing complexities and seldom straying from an objective, academic stance. For example, he presents the problem of over-prescribing as shaped by numerous factors, including patient demands, pressure from (and reliance upon) pharmaceutical representatives, and lack of physician expertise with the myriad available medicines. It is not until the last three pages of the book that Crellin acknowledges his own preference for "integrative care" (using a combination of complementary and conventional medicine). To Crellin, this will be the most effective approach of the future.

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Nurses may be disappointed that Crellin has chosen to exclude their role in medicine usage (a limitation he identifies). They may nonetheless recognize themselves in the historical debates over anti-microbials, antidepressants, hormones in women's health, and complementary/alternative therapies. Although scarce, Crellin's comments about nursing are instructive: Nurses, he suggests, have historically been significant promoters of therapeutic relationships, holism and hope as healing concepts.


By placing medicine usage into an historical context, Crellin encourages readers to understand and critically appraise current trends, and to shape future ones. Geared toward an audience familiar with biomedicine, A Social History of Medicines is an especially valuable resource for policy-makers, and for community-based primary care professionals (including general, family and nurse practitioners, pharmacists and public health nurses). Scrupulously footnoted, this book is a credible, rich, occasionally tedious but overall-engaging account of the often-taken-for-granted world of modern medicines. It is a worthwhile read, to be taken in bite-sized doses, tid.-Sonya Grypma, PhD, RN, SSHRC, postdoctoral fellow, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada




By Mary Koloroutis, ed. 288 pp., Minneapolis: Creative Health Care Management, 2004, $34.95, paperback.


Review: This book reminds me of the "old days" in nursing when civility and caring were inherent in both nursing curricula and practice. The word transform used in this text specifically means to change the condition of what currently exits. The contributing authors believe this requires three things: 1) leaders' commitment to change at all levels of the organization; 2) adoption of the change by the organization; and 3) clear communication of goals conveyed comprehensively and persuasively enough to inspire.


The book is fundamentally an out growth of nurse theorist Jean Watson's work of the Transpersonal Caring-Healing Framework. Therefore, there are variations of several nursing theorists' work that others either quote, such as Madeline Leininger, or reframe, along with thoughts, ideas and beliefs of their own. My Christian colleagues may think I have given up my biblical beliefs in order to read and approve this book. However, I find this work to be both challenging and an indictment of us as Christian nurses who have failed to transform practice through our relationships with others in health care.


Included in the book are narratives of hospitals that have implemented relationship-based practice. Each example elaborates on how the outcomes of effectiveness and staff satisfaction are measured. Attitudes and behaviors regarding how to relate to colleagues are described, reminding us of our need to respect, listen, affirm and support one another. Some authors write about new definitions and names for the role of the nurse; others compare the old and new rules of the nurse-physician game, and the old and new mindset of resource passivity (victimization) versus resource-driven (empowerment) practice. There are carefully articulated reflections on critical versus creative thinking and the need for the development of both in nursing practice and in the individual nurse.


Most nursing texts speak to the practitioner or the administrator. This text speaks to both and demonstrates that as nursing leaders facilitate caring relationships, the nurse and nursing practice are empowered to transform the workplace. This holistic approach supports the stated purpose of the book: to demonstrate how conditions can be transformed by implementation of a relationship-based model. The biggest drawback is the lack of clarity regarding how the nurse generates the ability to value others to the extent discussed. Christian nurses can make an impact in articulating how meeting Christ personally generates new beginnings of personal civility and care for others. The greatest relationship is first a relationship with Christ. That relationship makes all others meaningful and desirous. This book helps show us how to live out our faith in nursing, even though our reasons and sources for doing so are different than those of the authors.-Bonnie J. Miller, DMin, RN, professor emeritus, Xavier University


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