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Nurse past present and future; the making of modern nursing

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Title: Nurse past present and future; the making of modern nursing

Editors: Kate Trant, Susan Usher

Publisher: Black Dog Publishing

Reviewer: Greta McGough, freelance writer, retired university lecturer


What was it like?

While we may not always be able to see the benefits of books about the history of nursing, this one takes the idea a little further, considering what the future may hold for our roles and for our profession. In a time when our actions are under scrutiny more than ever before, we can benefit massively from a collection of discussions that help us to set ourselves in the historical context. We can learn from the struggles and changes of history. We can always prepare ourselves better for what the future may hold.


What were the highlights?

I like the way that the editors of this book have devised the different sections and the titles, under which they have separated their discussion. Each of these has a historical component, as well as looking at the present and then moving on to future possibilities and areas for discussion. The book is divided into four sections: What is a Nurse?, which defines the nursing role past and present; Passport to the World, which comprehensively covers nursing migration and the international perspective; The Workplace: Hospital, Home and Beyond, which looks at hospital design and community care: and Transforming Care, which looks at relationships within the healthcare team and nurses at the forefront of service redesign. There are interesting chapters on why Florence Nightingale is still relevant to us today, nurse education moving out of the hospital and relationships between nurses and doctors. This allows readers to gain a sense of completeness, when considering the different aspects of our profession.

Strengths and weaknesses?

In some ways, because it is beautifully illustrated it may be possible to mistake it for a “coffee table” book, and to miss the wealth of information, references and ideas that it contains. But this book has strengths far beyond that. As we begin to climb the ladder (and to constantly re-assess what we are really about) the discussions within this edition can provide its readers with a wealth of insights and food for thought.

Who should read it?

Every qualified nurse, especially those beginning to consider their future role, as they climb the promotion ladder would benefit from reading this book.


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