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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Cheryl Laskowski, DNS, RN, CS (Daemen College)
Description: This is a compilation of narratives where the authors write autobiographically about their experiences with physical and mental illness.
Purpose: The purpose is to increase healthcare providers' sensitivity to and compassion for the suffering of others. Further, the text is meant to assist healthcare providers in practically and politically dealing with conditions impacting on vulnerable individuals.
Audience: The editor describes this text as being geared to "students in nursing, medicine, and allied health." This is an appropriate audience for the book. The doctorally prepared editor, who works as an associate professor of nursing at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and who is a regular contributor to the journal CNS, is a credible authority on the subject matter. Further, the authors of each chapter are credible, having lived the experience of the illness about which they are writing.
Features: The book features a table of contents that includes a title, the chapter author's name, and a quote taken directly from the chapter. A special feature of the text is the critical thinking exercise located at the end of each chapter, designed to assist the reader in critically analyzing the narrative accounts.
Assessment: This is a powerful text that includes 16 autobiographical accounts of illness narratives. Each chapter explores a different dimension of the illness experience. The text would be beneficial for individual purchase. Because the text highlights human responses to illness, it would be especially suitable for purchase by nurses and for use in schools of nursing.