Book Review: Caring Matters Most

Book Review: Caring Matters Most.

★ ★ ★ 

Written in the first person and illustrated by stories, this book cuts right across the conventional bioethics that underpin the Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct (for example beneficence and non-maleficence).

The author contributes to a growing literature on ‘aliveness’. He overturns generally accepted thoughts so empathy is devalued while pity is esteemed. His fresh approach made me question my understanding, read other sources to clarify issues and debate with colleagues. It could confuse those who are at the early stages of their nursing career but would be a thought-provoking browse for doctoral students and oncology or palliative care nurses.

This is not an easy read, and some USA-related commentary does not translate, but I persisted, thanks in part to a resoundingly endorsing foreword by Patricia Benner, who said it was highly original.

At times, the text veers towards controversial: the author argues that nursing is different from other healthcare professions because caring is not essential in their work, yet nursing cannot take place without it. 

Mark Lazenby | Oxford University Press | 176pp | £19.99 | ISBN: 9780199364541

Reviewed by Sue McBean, associate academic, University of Ulster

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