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Book and Media Reviews
September 24, 2008

Nurse: A World of Care

JAMA. 2008;300(12):1468-1469. doi:10.1001/jama.300.12.1468

Initially, when gazing at this book's cover photograph, one's eyes focus on a nurse who is reaching delicately toward a mother feeding her newborn. Soon one's eyes are drawn toward the window in the background and into the outdoor courtyard beyond which clothes are hanging to dry, and one quickly realizes that if nothing else, Nurse: A World of Care promises a vivid and artistic portrayal of nurses around the world.

Opening the cover, 3 photographs practically jump off the page to poignantly illustrate the book's themes: “To Nurture,” “To Care,” and “To Be a Nurse.” The dozens of images contributed by Karen Kasmauski (whose photographs have been featured in 30 articles for National Geographic) capture nurses around the world doing what they do best: interacting in meaningful relationships with patients, families, and communities. To be sure, some of the images of nurses are touching and reveal a tenderness and compassion that may bring forth tears, particularly those that remind readers of the deprivation and misery experienced by the millions of persons living in impoverished nations. But one also sees images of nurses in the developed world—the nurse helping an expectant mother in her home in Appalachia or nursing students tending to migrant workers in fields in southern Georgia. Each photograph creates a sense of intrigue that urges the viewer to hurry along, turn the page, and see what is next. Indeed, this book provides a rarely seen worldwide tour of images that communicates the passions, successes, setbacks, and joys that are all part of being a nurse, no matter where in the world nurses practice their art and science. When reaching the book's final photograph, which shows the eyes of an infant and a young nurse fixed warmly on each other, readers will likely find themselves thinking, “Thank God there are nurses.”