Concept Clarification in Nursing by Catherine M. Norris. Aspen Systems Corporation, Rocfcville, Maryland. 1982. $31.50.
The author's purpose in writing this book is to stimulate the inductive study of nursing concepts and to increase the knowledge base Of the discipline of nursing. While considerable gains have been made in the area of nursing research during thé past twenty years, much of this activity has centered on the use of concepts and research methodology borrowed from other disciplines. Dr. Norris suggests that it is time for nurses to pay attention to their practice as a source of knowledge and to engage in descriptive studies of phenomena which are specific to nursing.
Dr. Norris begins her book with a chapter presenting a history of the uses of concepts in nursing. She traces the development of nursing concepts from the early work of psychiatric nurses, such as Peplau and Gregg, on anxiety and reassurance during the 1950s, through the contributions of the WICHE sponsored conferences encouraging the development of concepts for nursing during the 1060s, to the introduction and use of several textbooks organized around nursing concepts during the 1970s. She also includes introductory chapters which present a brief overview of theory development and an orientation to the inductive approach to. the clarification of nursing concepts.
The next eighteen chapters of the book are devoted to the development and clarification of concepts relevant to nursing practice. These concepts are primarily physical in nature and include the phenomena of nausea, vomiting, thirst, hunger, fatigue, immobility, insomnia, pressure sores, itching, disorientation, and chilling. Two of these chapters are written by Dr. Norris; the remaining chapters are written by contributors. These contributors present their concepts from their own unique perspective - practice, study, and research. Several of the concepts: nausea, shi veringa thirst and fatigue receive attention in more than one chapter and are developed by different contributors. This strategy allows the reader to see how concepts can be developed either by using a different approach; e.g., review of existing literature or observation of patient behavior, or by focusing on a unique aspect of practice; e.g., nausea for the patient experiencing a myocardial infarction or the nausea associated with preganancy. All of the contributors describe and define their concepts and some develop models proposing relationships and hypotheses for testing. Each chapter includes content-related references; but since the purpose of the book is not to provide lengthy reviews of the literature, the lists of references are not extensive. Dr. Norris summarizes the work of the contributors in the final chapters in which she synthesizes the concepts presented under the more general organizational scheme of protection.
This book is not a basic nursing text and would not be an appropriate introductory text for undergraduate nursing students. It is a book which will be of value to researchers, clinicians, and students interested in the inductive exploration of nursing concepts. It will be particularly helpful to graduate students searching for research topics and to nurse clinicians interested in using their own practice as a source for study. It should be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any nurse interested in contributing to the science and discipline of nursing. Whether this book achieves the author's goal of increasing the use Of the descriptive approach to the study of nursing problems can only be evaluated over time. However, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I look forward to future publications of this nature. Nursing has much to gain from the work of Dr. Norris and her colleagues.