Article Content



By Steven L. Brown


272 pp., Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2007, $14.99, paperback.


Review: Steven Brown, a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at Texas Tech University and practicing cardiologist, wrote this book in response to the suffering he has encountered in patients and families from "bad medical advice" (p. 7). Using composite stories of real patients from his practice, Brown helps the reader learn to evaluate medical care for him or herself-from physicians to treatments to alternative medicine. As a healthcare professional, I got bogged down in the details of the stories (Brown lets the reader listen in on his conversations with patients), but lay readers will probably revel in and relate to these intimate details. While educating people about how medical practice works, Brown helps lay persons appreciate the challenges and pressures physicians face and lays out Christian, biblical standards for physicians. He educates readers to look for physicians to care for them who exemplify self-sacrifice, communicate, and demonstrate thoroughness and knowledge. He describes how science has led to the treatments we have today and how bias impacts care; suggests ways patients can best benefit from their physician's care, deal with health problems, and live a healthy life; and offers helpful insights on using alternative medicine.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

In every chapter Brown includes treasure boxes of information labeled, "A Christian Perspective," where he relays scripture, biblical principles, and insights from the Christian world view. These are real gems. Dr. Brown has written a helpful book that offers insider information for anyone trying to understand medical (physician) care. This is a good book to read and recommend to your patients as well as your health facility and church libraries.


See the McCormick and Brown article on page 130 of this issue regarding medications and related symptoms. -KSS



By the WebMD Network


Brief:, an online, healthcare media publishing company, provides easy-to-read, in-depth, authoritative medical information for consumers via a user-friendly, interactive web site. The information is compiled by a network of over 70 U.S. Board Certified Physicians. Handy, accurate A-Z listings are easily accessed on everything from illnesses and diseases to medications and procedures; includes a dictionary of medical terminology.





By Sonya Grypma


292 pp., Vancouver, British Columbia: UBC Press, 2008, $85.00, hardcover.


Review: Grypma is no stranger to JCN. She is a nurse historian who has written several JCN articles about Florence Nightingale. In this book, Grypma's historical research is about nurses from Canada, nursing, and missions in China under the Presbyterian (later United Church) of Canada at the North China mission. A primary source of materials about these nurses came from letters published in the Canadian Nurse. Around these letters she has woven mission history, feminist history, and post-colonial history with the expansion of professional nursing in China and Canada. She reveals how hospital-based nursing in Canada moved to China.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

The 60 year period of history with wars and revolution (boxer uprising, Japanese occupation and communism) is interestingly written and well documented. The summaries at the end of each chapter and the appendices are valuable. Canadian nurses' contributions to China and more specifically, the province of Henan, come alive in Grypma's thoughtful and thorough portrayal. Grypma is active in the American Association of the History of Nursing and speaks at international conferences. I heard her speak at an NCF conference where she captivated the audience with her presentation.


If history and mission research interest you, this book will not disappoint. I look forward to hearing more from this scholar who is an associate professor at Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia, Canada.


Marilyne Gustafson, PhD, RN


retired, former assistant professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN





By Richard Winter


203 pp., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005, $16.00, paperback.


Brief: Winter, a psychiatrist and theologian, explores the positive and negative effects of perfectionism on our lives and what role media seduction plays in perfectionism. He explains, "The problem with perfectionism begins when we move beyond the legitimate pursuit of excellence to live under the tyranny of believing that perfection is possible and failures are unacceptable. Standards of productivity, accomplishment, or appearance are so high that they are impossible to attain" (p. 36). The perils of perfectionism include anxiety, depression, relational dysfunction and eating disorders, among other problems. Winters offers practical strategies for how to change, showing Christians that rather than trying to measure up to the standards of the culture around us we are to become more like Christ in every area of our lives.




By Melanie Hemry


192 pp., New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 2006, $12.99, paperback.


Review: Although a career in nursing did not fit into Melanie Hemry's plans for her future, she knew God called her into nursing. She wanted to be a writer; however, after receiving an unexpected scholarship to nursing school, she spent two weeks sitting in a cow pasture waiting on God before accepting it. She describes what began to happen during that time: "[horizontal ellipsis]as I waited-quiet and still-my perspective changed. My plans, my career, my school, my job, and my needs began to pale in significance to His presence" (p. 30).


This book describes the effects of that pattern of listening to God as the author carried it with her into the emergency room, the intensive care unit, cardiac rehabilitation, personal crises, and the routine experiences of life. As a new graduate nurse, she gains the strength to call an attending physician when sensing that his on-call associate made the wrong decision. She learns to listen to her dreams-and the perils of ignoring them. She grows in her friendship with God and learns to intercede faithfully for the people he places on her heart.


Hemry examines healing in a comprehensive way and describes a few miraculous recoveries, but more than that, she demonstrates how a life of faithful listening prayer seems to put you in the right place at the right time-even when it might seem like a rude interruption in plans. For instance, after several aborted attempts at running a marathon, she finally seemed to be well on her way to the finish line when a runner ahead of her dropped dead. She and a colleague running with her, stopped to begin resuscitation. Two physician-runners soon joined them, and soon they had a heartbeat.


A Healing Touch is also a book about relationships; it is as much about healing emotions and spiritual growth as it is about healing bodies. The author shares lessons from her own health problems, as well as what her patients taught her as she cared for them. She shares stories of family life, and life within the Body of Christ.


Each chapter concludes with a "Heart Check"-suggestions for further thought and action, followed by an insightful prayer. The book is designed to be read slowly and reflectively, but I found that I could not put it down until I finished it. In a few spots the author could not resist the urge to preach, but the power of the stories more than makes up for that-they really speak for themselves.


Judith Allen Shelly, DMin, RN, NCF


Spiritual Formation and Prayer Specialist, Frederick, PA




By Don Piper with Cecil Murphey


208 pp., Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, $12.99, 2004, paperback.


Review: Piper's autobiographical account reflects his life journey after severe injury in an auto accident. Piper, a pastor, was driving when he was pummeled by a runaway truck, and suddenly found himself in heaven. Just as he was about to enter through heaven's gates, he was snatched back to his car, severely injured but singing a familiar hymn with a man who was praying for him. All this happened after he was pronounced dead by an EMS.


90 Minutes in Heaven traces the miracle of Piper's survival and his journey of recovery through multiple surgeries and high tech medical devices. He relates the depression, loss of purpose, and sense of disconnection with God he encountered during his recuperation. Piper also gives a glimpse of the lessons he has learned from his experience and how God has used his testimony to encourage others in difficult situations.


Told in an easy-going but sometimes repetitious manner, Piper enables readers to visualize clearly what he was seeing, feeling, and thinking throughout his experience. Piper draws a contrast between his experience and the near death experiences related by others in which they go through a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end. He makes no attempt to reconcile this difference other than comparing himself to the man born blind in John 9:25, "One thing I do know, I once was blind, but now I see!!" This is not a theological discussion of life after death but a personal testimony. Piper shares the importance of his Christian faith and of the prayers of friends and family in his recovery and in finding renewed purpose for living. Scriptures relevant to his experience are included at the beginning of each chapter.


Anyone facing challenging events or wrestling with questions about faith, life and death, or pain would benefit from 90 Minutes in Heaven. The book is a helpful resource for nurses and nursing students since it gives a vivid glimpse of the spiritual and emotional needs of those struggling with long term disability and pain. For Christian nurses it will strengthen belief in the reality of heaven, confidence in the power of prayer, and courage to share the hope of the Gospel with patients and coworkers.


Fran McHolm, MSN, RN, NCF


Area Director, OH