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Bookcase: Explore Nurse-Midwifery in America Today

Monday January 15, 2007
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Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession, by Laura E. Ettinge

Nurse-Midwifery, a unique book written by Laura E. Ettinger, an assistant professor of history at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., provides us with a history of this specialty and analyzes ways in which female professionals created a space of their own in the face of many obstacles.

“Is nurse-midwifery the solution?” This thought-provoking question posed in 1946 by Sister M. Theophane, a nurse-midwife and director of Santa Fe’s Catholic Maternity Institute, began a dialogue which lasted more than 50 years. Theophane knew the answer: nurse-midwives working in collaboration with physicians could provide a permanent solution to the problem of poorly distributed and inadequate maternity care that had existed for decades throughout the United States.

According to Ettinger, Sister Theophane’s motivation for becoming a nurse-midwife had to do, in part, with the way physicians treated maternity patients. “The patients were given high doses of scopolamine, sometimes with morphine, and the women became animalistic … out of their minds.”

Nurse-Midwifery adds to the growing literature on the development of nursing and the complex roles women have played in the health care professions. It is a must-read for nurses working in labor and delivery and any nurse curious about the emergence of American nurse-midwifery. Given both historical strengths and weaknesses, nurse-midwifery has entered the 21st century, while continuing to adapt and define itself.

Ohio State Press
$26.95 (paperback)


Healthy Places, Healthy People: A Handbook for Culturally Competent Community Nursing Practice, by Melanie Dreher, RN, PhD, FAAN, Deloras Shapiro, RN, PhD, Micheline Asselin, RN, MSN, MPA, CHPN

Community health planning doesn’t just happen. It’s all about promoting public health by reducing health disparities within a specific community. The role of a community nurse is to assure that all people living within a town, city, or county have access to health services and reside in environments that are physically and socially supportive. Accomplishing this goal isn’t always easy.

Healthy Places, Healthy People is the first of its kind, designed to provide nurses with tools to help them approach public health nursing through culture and community, instead of through the individual. The authors connect the dots by looking through the lenses of anthropology, economics, political science, sociology, and epidemiology — the backbone of community nursing.

This book intentionally focuses on health rather than disease. It will help future nurses and those currently in community settings learn how to ask the right questions when conducting an assessment. Healthy Places offers a unique perspective that prepares students for careers in community health nursing and assists all nurses to expand their understanding of health and wellness in their community, wherever they work.

Sigma Theta Tau International
Honor Society of Nursing
$29.95 (paperback)


Leave No Nurse Behind:Nurses Working with disAbilities, by Donna Carol Maheady, ARNP, EdD, Preface by Donna Cardillo, RN, MA

Many nurses with disabilities are being turned away from unfilled nursing positions — all because they are handicapped. In the midst of a nursing shortage, a multitude of nurses who can and want to work are being denied the opportunity. Disability can happen to anyone at any time. Sometimes nurses are so consumed with caring for others that they neglect their own health. Whether dealing with depression, a fall, an accident, or a stroke, nurses are not infallible creatures.

In Leave No Nurse Behind, 11 nurses tell their personal stories of bravery in the face of stigma and discrimination. You’ll read about a partially deaf nurse, a nurse with AIDS, and nurses with spina bifida, cancer, bipolar disorder, dystonia, and multiple sclerosis. Their stories prove that nurses with disabilities have the strength and know-how to successfully fill the vacant positions. By the end, one will realize that nursing with a disability is a challenge, but not an impossibility.

iUniverse Inc.
$14.95 (paperback)



Terry Ratner, RN, MFA, is a freelance writer for NurseWeek. E-mail Bookcase@nurseweek.com.