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From The CriticsReviewer: Betsy Frank, RN, PhD, ANEF (Indiana State University School of Nursing)
Description: This book shows the contributions of Jewish women to the profession of nursing. Short biographies of important nurses are included.
Purpose: Traditionally the history of nursing has stressed its Christian origins. This book's purpose is to show contributions of Jewish women to the nursing profession. In the 21st century, appreciating the diversity of the members of the nursing profession is important if the profession is to attract persons from diverse backgrounds. This book certainly fulfills this important function.
Audience: This book is written for all nurses, students, and practitioners alike. All nurses and especially those with an interest in nursing history will find this book interesting.
Features: This book uses a historical timeline approach to report the accomplishments of Jewish nurses. Beginning with the Bible and Talmud, the author shows the origins of nursing in these sacred texts. Particular emphasis is placed upon the work of early 20th century reformers such as Lillian Wald. Of special interest are the interviews of Jewish nurses whose families may not have supported their careers as nursing was not seen as a worthy profession for them. The author also discusses Jewish nurses' encounters with anti-Semitism. Other sections of the book show the importance of Hadassah's contribution to the development of modern nursing in Israel and the role Jewish nurses have played in delivering care during various wars including the more recent Vietnam war. Finally, the author describes the development of the Nurses' Council within the Hadassah organization. Contemporary nurse leaders who have been involved in this Council are mentioned. If there is one shortcoming to this book, it is its somewhat choppy writing style. This shortcoming, however, doesn't detract from the importance of this work.
Assessment: This is a very useful addition to the nursing history literature. Upon reading this book, those nurses who are Jewish will feel proud of the contributions that members of their ethnic/religious heritage have made to the profession. Non-Jewish nurses will learn about those of another faith who have made important contributions to the nursing profession.