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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mary Ellen Wurzbach, RN, MSN, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: The author projects nursing and healthcare into the mid-21st century with a call for an ontological shift to caring-healing practices, which she hopes will realign the dominant technological treatment capabilities of advanced medical science. She believes that this ontological shift will change conventional medical, nursing, and healthcare practices and practitioners as we know them.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a philosophical guide to the period beyond the postmodern era in healthcare and to the new thinking necessary for the next millennium.
Audience: The author does not mention an audience specifically, but I would suggest the book to nurses and other healthcare practitioners interested in the philosophy of healthcare. It would be especially helpful for students of nursing theory and philosophy. Watson is a very credible authority on caring-healing practices.
Features: The author describes a proposed ontological model of transpersonal caring-healing. This is one of few nursing philosophy texts. She describes nursing as a sacred feminine archetype, and proposes a metaphor of caring, healing, and peace which she hopes will counterbalance the dominant metaphors of war as the existing thought of the 20th century. Artwork, primarily that of Alex Grey (Sacred Mirrors), complements the narrative, as do sidebars of the author's personal journal recordings.
Assessment: This is a singularly unique proposal for changing the highly technological healthcare system to a system of transpersonal caring/healing. Although the language in the book may be unfamiliar to some, with careful reflection the meaning becomes clear. The author bases her argument on a feminine ideal and this may seem stereotypical, but she states that she does not mean to exclude male nurses or doctors from the discussion. The work is artistic, thoughtful, creative, and leaves the reader pondering Watson's ideas.