Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Making a Difference: Stories from the Point of Care

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Making a Difference: Stories from the Point of Care

Article excerpt

Making a Difference: Stories From the Point of Care

Sharon Hudacek, EdD, RN, CS; Indianapolis, IN; Center Nursing Press, 2000; 126 pages, $24.95

If you feel your professional sense of purpose needs a lift, if you want Lo reflect on the direction of your current practice, if you wish to stimulate entering students beyond the stereotypical television images, or if you wish to convey to those from outside the profession what the heart of nursing really is, then pick up Sharon Hudacek's engaging book and get ready for an emotional ride. Asked to "say what you do," nurses describe in their own words the moments in their professional practice that made life - or the end of life- better for someone else and, in turn, enriched their own professional satisfaction. Because these pivotal moments so often occurred at times of crisis or death, the emotion of each story carries waves of feelings. I was simultaneously drained and energized by the power of what we do, as professionals, every day.

In the opening chapter, Dr. Hudacek describes the work of nurses as diverse and constantly changing, requiring emotional strength but rewarding to the participant. Themes from the stories are used as a framework to focus on seven Cs -caring, courage, comfort, competence, critical thinking, creativity, and crisis intervention. While most stories take place in acute care settings and reflect practice in the United States, there is enough diversity of care settings and an occasional international story to provide balance. Drug, physiologic, and disease terminology are often parenthetically interpreted in lay terms to assist the nonnurse reader, yet these notes do not detract from the narrative. A short list of references and additional readings is at the end of each chapter for those who wish to explore a theme further.

Caring is defined as assistive, supportive, and facultative acts that are the essence of nursing. The scope of caring is explored through narratives that reflect small ways of "just being there" for the patient through teamwork, end-of-life support, advocacy, preventive actions, the use of advanced skills, and persistent, tenacious behaviors that support outcomes meaningful to the patient and family. According to the author, courageous nursing surfaces when "bold, dauntless, special action is needed," such as providing opportunities for death with dignity. …

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