The essence of nursing care continually exposes nurses to suffering. Although they bear witness to the suffering of others, their own suffering is less frequently exposed. This slim volume attempts to give voice to the suffering that nurses witness in patients, families, colleagues, and themselves. By making this suffering visible, the authors wish to honor it and to learn from it.
The audience includes nurses in all phases of training and practice - from students to educators to clinicians - in the wide array of settings and specialties in which nurses care for patients. The book offers nurses' colleagues in other professions - social workers, psychologists, chaplains, ethicists, and physicians - a rare window onto what it means to practice nursing.
Drs. Ferrell and Coyle are also the editors of Textbook of Palliative Nursing, 2nd ed (Oxford, 2006). Independently, they have worked more than 50 years in oncology nursing, caring for patients and working to improve the quality of care that patients receive.
Reviewer:Shreda Paire, MS, RN, FNP-C(Odyssey HealthCare)
Description:This wonderful book should be part of the standard curriculum for all nursing schools because it considers a subject that is dealt with by almost every nurse in her or his career but is seldom addressed directly -- the witnessing of human suffering.
Purpose:The purpose is to give voice to the suffering that nurses witness in patients, families, and even in themselves so that it may be honored and serve to teach them. Not only are these goals worthy, but they are addressed in a remarkable way.
Audience:The book is appropriate for all nurses. Of course, Betty Ferrell is more than a credible authority in the world of palliative care.
Features:This book does a remarkable job of covering the subject of suffering from both nursing and medical perspectives, then from both theological and ethical perspectives as well. The author elevates the everyday actions of the nurse to sacred acts that hold much importance in the care of the sick.
Assessment:This is a remarkable book and its discussion of the sacredness of nursing in the care of those who are suffering reminds me of why I love being a nurse. It should be required reading for all nurses as it is a reminder that dispensing pills and hanging IV bags are the things that get us to the bedside but the truly important part of our work is what we do once we are there, honoring and supporting the suffering patient.