Nursing as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemporary Application of Florence

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Florence Nightingale is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing. What is less well known is that she also had well-developed ideas about the spiritual aspects of nursing care. Her views draw from both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions and have a startling relevance to nursing practice today. Janet Macrae, both a Nightingale scholar and a nationally recognized expert on therapeutic touch, outlines Nightingale's ideas on spirituality in this book and discusses how a variety of techniques can be used to implement a more spiritual and humane form of nursing care. The techniques, which include yoga, meditation, and relaxation exercises can be used by both nurses and patients.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Mary Ellen Wurzbach, RN, MSN, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: This book provides an in-depth discussion of the significance of Florence Nightingale's spiritual views to nursing practice in the 21st century based on a book she published in 1860, Suggestions for Thought. It also contains a discussion of spirituality and its place in modern nursing.
Purpose: The purpose is to apply Florence Nightingale's views of spirituality in nursing to contemporary nursing practice and to highlight one of Nightingale's lesser-known writings..
Audience: The audience, according to the author, is nurses who are integrating Nightingale's ideas into their practice and those who will do so in the future. This could encompass both graduate and undergraduate students and practitioners of nursing.
Features: The book begins with a discussion of Nightingale's intellectual background and focuses on the major influences in her life — ideas, persons, and events. It then explores critical topics in spirituality such as the relationship between spirituality and religion, the question of life after death, the integration of science and spirituality, and the role of prayer. Finally, the book offers methods of individual transformation. Various spiritual exercises are explained and discussed from Nightingale's perspective. According to the author, the exercises are appropriate for both nurses and patients.
Assessment: This is a much-needed look at the relationship of spirituality to the practice of nursing. It is a scholarly treatise about both contemporary spirituality in nursing practice and Nightingale's views of spirituality and its relationship to nursing care. The book could be used as an adjunct text for graduate theory courses or as an introductory text for undergraduate students. In addition, because so little is written about spirituality in nursing, practitioners will find this an interesting and helpful discussion with applicability to contemporary practice. It is both an intellectual analysis and a practical guide to spirituality for both the practitioner and student of nursing.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826113870
  • Publisher: Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/10/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Macrae, PhD, RN, is an adjunct faculty member in the Advanced Practice Holistic Nursing Program at New York University, and also maintains a private nursing practice specializing in therapeutic touch. She has taught over 350 Therapeutic Touch workshops nationwide and is the author of Therapeutic Touch: A Practical Guide (Alfred Knopf, 1987). She co-edited Suggestions for Thought by Florence Nightingale (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994) and lectures extensively on Nightingale's spiritual philosophy and its significance for modern health care.

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Table of Contents

  1. Part I: Nightingale On Spirituality
  2. Nightingale's Spiritual Vision
  3. Spirituality, Religion, and Healthcare
  4. Spiritual Development

  5. Part II: Spirituality In Nursing Practice: Using The Nightingale Influence
  6. Stress Reduction and Relaxation
  7. Compassion
  8. Listening and Awareness
  9. On Prayer
  10. Spirituality and Conduct
  11. True Work
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