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Books at a Glance

Sue Sendelbach, PhD, RN, CCNS Column Editor

Technological Competency as Caring in Nursing


Reviewed by Shirley Girouard, PhD, RN, FAAN Rozzano C. Locsin. Indianapolis, Ind, 2005. $29.95. ISBN 1-930538-12-X. 229 pp.

This book uses a theoretical and philosophical approach to understanding and exploring the role of past and present technology in nursing and its relationship to the caring essence of nursing practice. The primary purpose of the book is to explore the essence of professional nursing in the context of a society that emphasizes and values science and technology. It critically explores technological aspects of nursing and patient care from philosophical and theoretical perspectives and raises issues for practicing nurses, nurse educators, and graduate level nursing students. Although unlikely to be used in its entirety for undergraduates, it can guide faculty in approaching the technological aspects of nursing within a context of principled, professional nursing behavior. The book is well organized in its exploration of key concepts. Although there is some redundancy across chapters, it allows educators and others to select subsections (chapters) that could be used independently for different teaching/learning situations. Although some information is not new, the analysis and synthesis makes explicit the experience of technology for clients, nurses, and society. Chapters include the historical and contemporary aspects of technology in health and healthcare with thoughtful development of the key concepts demonstrating how nurses are the product of a society that values science, technology, and related issues about caring and other holistic approaches to care. By exploring technological competence as an expression of caring in professional
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practice, the case that technology need not be the antithesis of caring but is a part of the caring experience is made. An insightful and thoughtful discussion of the key points is included. Chapter summaries are useful for focusing critical thinking about the issue and can be used to stimulate meaningful discussion on professional nursing practice in the current environment. The graphics, vignettes, and questions at the end of the book provide an overview of key points and could be used to guide clinical nurse specialist practice and graduate nursing education. Also, with some modification, selected issues could be used in undergraduate professional role courses and issues seminars to put technology into a different perspective. Incorporating the content into education could result in technological competence and skills being seen in a more holistic and ethical framework. This book can help students, teachers, and clinicians meet the challenges of an increasingly dehumanized and noncaring healthcare system. It is a recommended reading for all faculty and for graduate students and graduateprepared clinicians who seek a way to explain and comprehend an appropriate approach to technology and nursing in healthcare settings that are frequently noncaring and not respectful of individuals.

Ethical Healthcare
Reviewed by Maria R. Shirey, MS, MBA, RN, CNAA, BC, FACHE Patricia Illingsworth and Wendy E. Parmet. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. $65.00. ISBN 0-13-045301-3. 606 pp.

Ethical Healthcare provides an interdisciplinary contribution to the existing healthcare literature in the area of ethics. Although broad in scope, the book lacks the clinical focus that

would be desired for a clinical nurse specialist or advanced practice nurse text. The book may be useful as an introductory text in an interdisciplinary healthcare ethics course. The book presents a broadened perspective of bioethics by integrating social, economic, public policy, and legal influences on healthcare. It expands the horizons of bioethics by reconfiguring the discussion beyond the context of individual healthcare providers and their relationship to individual patients. The authors argue that the health of individuals is at least partially dependent on the health of communities and thus falls within the purview of public health. Although the far-reaching scope of the book emphasizes collaboration between disciplinesVparticularly law, medicine, and religionVthe book fails to capture the nursing professions unique scope of autonomous practice and significant contributions to ethical healthcare. That the 2 sections dedicated to nursing were written by nonnurse authors without nursing collaboration and supported by dated references (circa 1972Y1984) further supports this argument. The book is organized into 7 chapters starting with an overview of bioethics, including building blocks of health and ethical obligations of healthcare providers, institutions, individuals, society, and biomedical science. A major strength of the chapters is that they attempt to cover a broader scope than most other similar books. The major limitations of the book include the ambitious variety in the book chapters and editing inconsistencies (ie, citation format differences between chapters, lack of a consistent chapter template). These limitations result in a book that feels more like an amalgamation of individual articles than a textured and seamless whole.
CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST A

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The scholarly writing style gives little emphasis to clinical application, making this book more useful for graduate didactic instruction than as a clinical reference guide. A faculty member using this text in an academic setting, however, may address this limitation by supplementing each chapter with interactive case studies or interdisciplinary field-based activities.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Nursing Practice 2nd ed


Reviewed by Maura Fitzgerald, RN, MS, MA, CNS Karen Lee Fontaine. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005. $40.95. ISBN 0-13-151254-4. 510 pp.

Complementary and Alterative Therapies for Nursing Practice provides a survey of topics related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Subjects include alterative healing systems and specific therapies. Given the widespread use of CAM in healthy individuals and those dealing with acute and chronic illness, the advanced practice nurse will find this text to be a useful addition to the reference shelf. As the author indicates, the traditional focus of the nursing profession on the whole person, rather than a set of symptoms or a diseased organ, matches well with the holistic approach of many CAM therapies. Nurses are often very open to the use of CAM and interested in discovering ways in which they can incorporate CAM safely and efficaciously into their practice. This text, which provides concise information on a range of therapies, will make it easier to acquire that information. The text is organized with an initial unit that describes basic concepts related to CAM healing systems and therapies. The second unit covers Systematized Health Care Practices (Tra-

ditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Native American Healing and Curanderismo) and subsequent units cover Botanical Healing, Manual Healing Methods, MindBody Techniques, Spiritual Therapies, and Other Therapies. The arrangement of information in each chapter is clear and consistent, including a summary of principles, treatment options, research, and integrated nursing practice. The research section of each chapter highlights the status of research in the area enabling the reader to better evaluate the evidence for each therapy, whereas the integrated nursing practice section provides advice on how the nurse can either incorporate therapies into practice or obtain more information or training. Key information is highlighted in tables, figures, and boxes for easy readability and accessibility. Particularly useful are the boxes entitled Using Research to Heal, which provide in-depth discussion of a specific study including other questions the research raises and how the information can be used in practice. Also fun and interesting is the Try This box, which offers instruction in simple techniques that the reader can experience. This book would be a valuable resource to the advanced practice nurse as a reference when client poses questions about using CAM or when the advanced practice registered nurse would like more information before recommending a specific therapy such as meditation training for stress management or acupuncture for pain.

Conversations in Critical Thinking and Clinical Judgment


Reviewed by Sr. Mary Jean Flaherty, MSN, PhD By Marilynn Jackson, Donna D. Ignatavicius, and Bette Case. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Mass, 2006. $37.95. ISBN 07637-3871-9. 297 pp.

This is a well-written how-to book that is based in theory and offers creative, helpful suggestions on how to incorporate critical thinking into practice and assisting members of the healthcare team to expand their own skills in this area. It is proposed that asking the right questions through logic and critical thinking will encourage nurses to find the appropriate solutions to the right questions. An analogy is made to the story of the 4 blind men describing an elephant as they stand at different places around the elephant. This theme in understanding critical thinking from many perspectives and philosophies is carried out throughout the book. The thesis is that with the promotion of learning from these foundations, better clinical judgments are created. This book is very comprehensive in scope covering education, practice, and research. It addresses the needs of individuals and groups. The theme of the elephant descriptions organizes the chapters and creates a logical presentation of the material. The authors point out early in the book that they do not advise reading the book from cover to cover, but rather to be selective according to ones needs. The Table of Contents encourages this approach. The authors point out that critical thinking is essential to asking the right questions and finding appropriate solutions. The books approach is conversational in style. It would be a helpful addition to the bookshelves of both the clinical nurse specialists in directing their search for answers to the complex problems they face every day in the management of care in both primary care and acute care settings. The creative ideas found in The Appendix would be especially helpful in working with nurses and other health professionals in planning programs to develop and improve critical thinking skills.

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