Book Reviews

Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse

This is a wonderful textbook for nursing students and for nurses entering practice.  It is practical and uses helpful case studies, artwork, tables, scales and other supplemental resources that emphasize important concepts.  While being extremely helpful academically, it also promotes primary palliative care concepts of listening, being present, bearing witness, and advocating for those with serious illness and their families—all reminders of the vital, sacred work that nurses are privileged to do every day.

Pam Malloy, RN, MN, FPCN, FAAN
Director and Co-Investigator of the ELNEC Project
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

This Essentials text is a valuable resource for all team members committed to quality patient care. The content is practical and addresses the real clinical issues in daily practice.  It is an invaluable resource for those new in practice as well as those who are experienced clinicians.

Betty Ferrell – Ph.D, RN, FAAN
Director & Professor, Nursing Research & Education
City of Hope Medical Center

Having spent nearly 30 years in hospice and palliative care at this point in my life as nurse, clinician, teacher and academic, I am always humbled when I find something new that tells me I don’t know as much as I would like to think I do! This book, “Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse” by Kath Murray, does just that. Across the world nurses are the one constant in the lives of patients and families with palliative and end-of-life care needs. All nurses need to understand the importance of that role and through the learning from this text, they will be able to put language to what they have inherently known through their training and practice experience; nursing care makes the difference to the palliative care journey. The book speaks to all who ‘nurse’ – those with professional credentials and those who work in supportive care roles. I urge you to read the ‘touchstones’. They make us realize that so much of our work is about reflection on why we do the right action, in the right way at the right time. For the new practitioner, this book provides your foundation. For the experienced practitioner, the reminder of why we do what we do. Keep this book at hand when you need to do the deep work of care-giving. It will sustain and guide your practice and bring your palliative care nursing to a place of fulfillment. Thank you Kath!

Philip Larkin
Professor of Clinical Nursing (Palliative Care), University College Dublin and
Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, Dublin, Ireland
President, European Association for Palliative Care

I am very pleased to provide support for this text, “Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse.” I have known Kath and worked with her in both clinical care and teaching over many years; her wealth of experience, enthusiasm, creativity and excellence has come to fruition. It

(This book) is a work of art and heart aimed at providing practical knowledge and skill for those working with the frail, ill and dying. Following these guidelines the reader will be enlightened and find that caring at end of life is not just helpful for the patient but also rewarding to one’s self and the enjoyment of nursing.

I have always said that the underlying drive to good hospice and palliative care is compassion. I am reassured throughout this text that Kath and her contributing colleagues have struck a masterful balance between the art of caring and the professional use of knowledge and practical tools to enhance the skills of nurses and, for that matter, all health professionals and the public. One example and a new issue in Canada, Kath has provided great sensitivity and practical advice when the concern for medically assisted dying is raised which should help all professionals when thinking their way through this emotional area. It is a text for both novice and expert and indeed should be essential reading. Congratulations!

Dr. Michael Downing
Palliative Medicine, BC Cancer Agency
, Victoria, Canada
Co-editor, Medical Care of the Dying

From novice to expert, Kath Murray’s “Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse”  is a must have resource for every nurse who practices with people with life limiting conditions and their families.  Full of theoretical and practical information, Essentials provides us with the knowledge, know-how and courage to deepen our nursing practice and engage in the palliative approach while maintaining our authentic selves in the process. Kath’s love of learning and sharing shines throughout this book!

Julia Johnston, RN-EC, MN, CHPCN(C)
Nurse Practitioner, Hospice Palliative Care

The thought, research, reflection and practice wisdom articulated by Kath Murray in this new volume provide an exceptional basis for understanding the importance of integrating palliative approaches into the care of those we serve. Not only has Kath produced a much needed and valuable resource for the health care community, but she has done so in a manner that is empowering and brings us back to that which matters most to patients and families facing chronic life limiting illness. This will soon become the “go to guide” for those seeking direction in how to embed palliative approaches into their practice.

Kelli I. Stajduhar, RN, PhD
Professor, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, and School of Nursing
University of Victoria, B.C.

Kath has taken the theory and principles of palliative care, her experience as an excellent bedside nurse, and her compassion for both those receiving and giving care, and merged them into this amazing book. Kath presents complex issues in practical and clear ways. Through stories and illustrations she reminds us that care includes the person, the family, and ourselves. She shares all the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills, while emphasizing that it is our presence and human connection with people that create truly meaningful moments for all those who are involved.

Wendy Wainwright, MSW, M Ed
Director of Clinical Services, Victoria Hospice
Co-author, Transitions in Dying and Bereavement
Co-editor, Medical Care of the Dying

I thought I would take a quick look through the new Essentials text  … I decided to begin by skimming the Table of Contents. Well, it turned out I read every line. After each line, I wanted to know whether the next was equally promising. It was. I had to keep myself from diving into the text any number of times to pursue a topic of interest to me. There simply wasn’t time … Each section was short enough to digest in only a couple of minutes. The bullets made it easy to get the main points quickly. There was just the right balance between technical information and the practical … And the practical was so authentic, obviously the advice of someone who had been there and done that and was willing to be honest about the difficulties and the unknowns.

I particularly liked the few times when you addressed the reader in the first person. Then I knew that it had been you talking all along and I felt even more confidence in the veracity and practicality of what was said.


Antionette Oberg
Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Victoria