Reviews

The Bell Lap: Stories for Compassionate Nursing Care

Key issues around ageing and care of older people are discussed in this book. It offers an impressive selection of short stories that give an insight into the lives of those who can be affected by a feeling of vulnerability when what was once ‘normal’ for them has gradually or suddenly changed

Key issues around ageing and care of older people are discussed in this book. It offers an impressive selection of short stories that give an insight into the lives of those who can be affected by a feeling of vulnerability when what was once ‘normal’ for them has gradually or suddenly changed.

The author, Muriel Murch, provides us with a window into their lives, showing us how, even as strangers, it is possible to recognise vulnerability in others, a feeling which is perhaps influenced by recognising our own vulnerability.

The need to respond in these situations is shown by the ‘small acts’ that are so often described by patients in nursing literature as a key feature of compassionate nursing care.

Each story offers an insight into an aspect of the person’s life, leaving the reader with a feeling that they know and care about them.

The diverse settings in which the stories take place serve to remind us that it is not only when someone is ill or dying that we need to act with compassion.

The writing style is accessible and would appeal to healthcare professionals as a way of understanding human vulnerability in an increasingly complex health environment.

The strength of this book is the ability to take the reader beyond the settings of illness; to tell a story of ordinary people who are adapting to life as it changes before their eyes.

Ultimately, we will all be a character in our own story at different times in life, and this book emphasises the need to listen to patients’ and carers’ stories and use that narrative to respond compassionately to their needs.

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