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From The CriticsReviewer: Mary Ellen Wurzbach, RN, MSN, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: This book is an historical and contemporary analysis of the development of nursing in Great Britain from Nightingale to the present. The emphasis is on contemporary changes occurring in British nursing today which seem to pit a philosophy of professionalism against a philosophy of "managerialism." Managerialism is most akin to nurses as case managers within a managed care environment in this country.
Purpose: The editors make an attempt to capture and hold up to scrutiny a number of different influences on nursing that stem from the nature of British healthcare organizations where nurses are employed and the views of British society about nursing roles in a contemporary world. They explore the issue of professionalism versus managerialism in a constructive way so that nurses and health service managers might consider the potential benefits and possible difficulties in steering British nursing in either direction, or the merger of both in a different way.
Audience: The book would be very valuable for nurses in diverse practice areas and at diverse educational levels in Britain. The chapters on caring would be interesting for nurse theorists and graduate students of nursing theory in the U.S., and there are other chapters for nurses interested in or who teach courses about international healthcare.
Features: Two competing philosophies — not only of nursing but also healthcare — are discussed. Many of the concerns experienced by nurses in the U.S. (but going by different names) are analyzed, including managed care, advanced practice nursing, patient-centered care, professionalism, and caring. The unique feature of the book is the in-depth analysis of the development of nursing in Britain.
Assessment: This text is an excellent overview of the development of nursing in Britain. The chapters on caring can be appreciated across national boundaries. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the politics of nursing in Great Britain.