The Ethical Significance of Nursing
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A scholarly discourse proposes integrating increased humanism into the practice of nursing.    

Yale nursing professor Lazenby (Safe Passage, 2014, etc.) approaches his field with an eye on the intricate balance clinical caregivers must consistently strike when delivering both ethically sound and compassionate treatment. He believes that “technical skill is necessary but insufficient: to be a good nurse, you must be a good person.” His directive is based on a nontraditional technique centered on not just being an excellent professional, but also a considerate one and “on ways of working and living as a nurse, not on decision-making algorithms.” Throughout his manual, he asserts that this goal is never out of anyone’s reach and is achievable with the incorporation of five key factors in the moral character of the caregiver. He shares clinical patient stories illuminating how the habits of trustworthiness and reliability can be as integral and fundamental as personal imagination and the capacity to be “touched by the circumstances of our patients” in enriching the practical application of nursing. Elsewhere, Lazenby advocates seeing patients’ “aliveness”: recognizing that they require not only medical treatment, but also personal attention, respect, and dignity. There is also a unique type of beauty, he writes, in providing life-promoting care and advice (as well as holistic serenity at the time of death) to patients in distress and that nurses must make the honorable choice to view them as having “lives outside the context in which we see them.” Armed with a Ph.D. in philosophy, Lazenby infuses this expertise into his thought-provoking narrative, remarking on the importance of regard and mindfulness while at a patient’s bedside. He presents these crucial guideposts without dry textbook jargon, instead using engaging, relevant anecdotes from patients and nurses, offering his valuable tips with encouraging motivation. In a demanding industry confounded by the complications of encroaching automation and both patient vulnerability and ever increasing acuity, Lazenby—with boundless enthusiasm and positivity—seeks to inject the caregiving role with some much-needed kindness and sympathy while still attaining the professional medical standards and goals nurses strive for. His account affirms that the “good life” of nursing is indeed possible and can be enjoyed while molding “a better world for generations to come.”  

A critical, empathetic, and insightful guidebook geared toward enriching the work experience of both established and newly trained nurses.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-19-936454-1
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2017


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by Christie Watson