People generally become nurses because they like people and want to help them. The profession of nursing allows this altruistic impulse to be harnessed into holistic care. The ability to provide holistic care is dependent upon knowing how to provide physical and psychosocial care, frequently simultaneously. It is the psychosocial aspects of nursing that nurses generally find to
be the most challenging and rewarding parts of their work. Every day, at all hours of the day, nurses face complex psychosocial situations that require knowledge, skill and sensitivity to manage effectively. Most of these situations
need to be responded to as they are unfolding; only rarely will the situation wait for a social worker or psychologist appointment during standard business hours. The task for nursing educators has been to try to ensure that students have a useable theoretical foundation in psychosocial aspects of care so that they have the essential knowledge needed to respond appropriately to
people's complex and often painful psychosocial challenges.
This book marks a milestone in nursing's theoretical 'coming of age' in that the authors have creatively re-conceptualised knowledge from other
disciplines including psychology, sociology and epidemiology. Previous works have exclusively used psychological concepts such as 'depression' and
'anxiety' or sociological concepts such as 'sick role' and 'capitalism' and student nurses, with little or no knowledge of nursing practice, have been expected to somehow integrate what they were being presented into their
developing nursing knowledge base. Not surprisingly, many students found that difficult and questioned the relevance of being taught these subjects. Now the work of integration has been done for them making the whole subject
much more relevant to practice and therefore easier to learn. Along with using some standard concepts such as 'class' and 'gender', the authors have extensively used nursing concepts which integrate the essential ideas from
related disciplines into nursing in such a way that a new synthesis has been created. This has happened through the authors' use of nursing concepts such as health, illness, wellness, grieving, suffering, resilience, healing, cultural safety, spiritual wellbeing and holism.
This is a contemporary publication that canvasses the traditional areas of psychosocial knowledge and explores new areas of growing importance within
the health care industry. New areas include men's health considered within gender and health, constructions of chronic illness, ageing, rural and remote
peoples, illness and recovery as a journey. The final chapter, on empowering partnerships, provides a clear theoretical framework for nurses to use when
they intervene to strengthen the social support networks of people living with illness. Readers will be delighted with the real life stories that are used to situate the ideas of psychosocial nursing within nursing practice.