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From The CriticsReviewer: Mary K. S. Ashcroft, RN, BA (Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center)
Description: This new resource for healthcare providers addresses a very sensitive topic: the human experience of suffering. Through personal accounts it examines ways by which suffering affects the lives of patients, family members, and healthcare providers. The book begins with a general theoretical and research-based review of suffering, moves into an understanding of suffering from the perspectives of the individual and the professional, and ends with a basis for humanizing the experience.
Purpose: The purpose is to impart to professional healthcare providers an understanding of human suffering and the importance of therapeutic interpersonal patent-provider relationships. Indeed a worthy objective, it is skillfully met.
Audience: Targeted for physicians, nurses, and social workers in a variety of settings, this collection of essays focuses on the human aspect of managing pain and suffering. The editor has written extensively on quality of life and terminal illness. The authors of each section are well-known experts in their fields.
Features: The title reflects the contents of the book. It synthesizes the experience of suffering in children and adults and is well researched. Each section has an extensive reference list that will be useful to the researcher, clinician, and educator. The foreword, written by a well-known expert in the field of death and dying, provides a wonderful background on the topic. The overall appearance of the book is appropriate; however, the graphics strongly represent the Christian faith, and symbols from other religions could broaden the book's appeal.
Assessment: This is an excellent resource for healthcare providers working with terminally ill patients and cancer survivors. It provides an insight into the complexities and uniqueness of suffering as experienced by different individuals and promotes a holistic understanding of human suffering. It successfully integrates first-person accounts of suffering with the theoretical and research basis of the concept. It is highly recommended for the libraries of all healthcare practitioners.