Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Many Voices: Toward Caring Culture in Healthcare and Healing

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Many Voices: Toward Caring Culture in Healthcare and Healing

Article excerpt

Many Voices: Toward Caring Culture in Healthcare and Healing edited by Kathryn H. Kavanagh, PhD, MA, BSN, and Virginia Knowlden, EdD, MEd, RN; Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004; 308 pages, $60, paper, $24.95

Culture, language, and life situation provide a context for each individual's life and influence what is meant by caring. The beauty of this excellent anthology resides in the examples it provides of different lives and unique manifestations of caring.

The introduction of the book expands on the theories of Heidegger and Gadamer through the story of one nurse, Maria, who engaged in her newborn patient's world and the care of her patient in a way that was uniquely suitable for the patient and family. Chapter 1 tells how the interplay of client, clinician, and context is important for understanding caring practices and offers examples of how complex, unpredictable, and unstable caring work can be. This chapter incorporates a description of discourse analysis for teaching nursing students.

Chapter 2 tells the life story of an African American mother who gave birth to an imperfect child. Her painful lived experiences and her contact with caring shaped her in such a way that she was able to make a new life for herself and her child. The author tells of episodes with uncaring health professionals as well as those who helped the mother have hope and overcome her difficulties. In another chapter, a nursing professor who was brought up in Pakistan questions what caring means by reflecting on interviews with three of her colleagues and her own personal, cultural, and educational experiences. Feminism, reflexive anthropology, and autoethnography are interlaced in her writing. The author emphasizes how personal interpretations play a role in determining the meaning of caring in every context, language, and culture.

Research findings are presented that convey what it is like for nurses to care for someone from a different culture and how lack of knowledge about other cultures can generate stress, frustration, and prejudice. With fully engaged observations and the uncovering of cultural cues, nurses find that caring for a person from another culture is rewarding and helpful for personal growth. …

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