Academic journal article Nursing History Review

Nursing the Finest Art: An Illustrated History (Third Edition)

Academic journal article Nursing History Review

Nursing the Finest Art: An Illustrated History (Third Edition)

Article excerpt

Nursing the Finest Art: An Illustrated History (Third Edition) By M. Patricia Donahue (Philadelphia: Mosby, Inc./Elsevier, 2011) (390 pages, $59.95 cloth)

Beautifully and richly illustrated with photographs and art from periods throughout the ages, the third edition of Nursing the Finest Art: An Illustrated History thematically chronicles the history of nursing from its origins to the present, emphasizing the profession's aesthetic aspects. The book highlights major events in nursing and health care history, ending with a section devoted to a global perspective. Divided by themes into 10 units that span the history of nursing from early civilization to the present, the book emphasizes the humanistic and traditional values of the profession. It is the culminating work of a gifted nurse historian who has devoted much of her career to writing the three editions.

As was true in the first two editions of this book, classic works of art, historic and contemporary photographs, etchings, and paintings provide the reader with a very visual portrayal of nursing history. Particularly powerful in this edition are the 1915 painting of a soldier and a World War I nurse-C. Clyde Squire's "Meeting the Kind Nurse" (p. 178); the realistic color photograph of an injured military nurse in the Iraq War (p. 211); the reproduction of Pablo Picasso's 1897 painting, "Science and Charity" (p. 79), which contrasts the classic gendered nursing and physician roles in providing care; and a 1921 photograph of Instructor Eva A. Crowdis teaching at Hartford Hospital Training School for Nurses (p. 300). These classic works and more current photographs provide visual representations contrasting the romanticized version of nursing history with its reality. …

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