I felt drawn to read Nursing Jambalaya with Gumbo on the Side as it promised to reveal misconceptions about nurses in an entertaining and educational way. My husband is an RN, so I read this book having experienced the profession second-hand through him. This short book is written by three nurses, Jacqueline Spencer, Lynell Whittington-Brignac and Beverly S. Ward, each of whom have over 30 years of nursing experience as clinicians in various capacities. In its pages, they each write with a genuine desire to give wisdom and a sort of legacy to new nurses entering the profession.
Divided into ten parts, each section seeks to explore different facets of nursing. Those areas range from historical insights into things like the important roles of black nurses to the less significant history of the nursing cap. Among other things, they included parts on choosing a nursing school, male nurses, benefits of nursing, clinical nursing checklists and workplace behavior. All in all, the book makes an attempt to give a broad overview of the nursing profession. The end of each part asks a series of questions to help the reader. Following these questions, blank note pages provide a place to answer the questions or take notes.
While the overall intent of the book is admirable, every content area lacked depth of any kind. Each part or chapter, only a few pages long, attempted to cover some topics that could easily be whole books. For example, the historical sections list names of significant black nurses but only give brief paragraph overviews of a few of those names…not enough to really appreciate the significance of their work. Many sections were heavily filled with repetitive opinions as each contributor wrote their own thoughts under every topic, often overlapping ideas. Their years of wisdom felt lost amidst poor editing.
The target audience for this book is the person considering entering a nursing program or perhaps one who is done but just entering the profession. It attempts to give a wider context to nursing, elevate minorities and help the reader think about potential benefits and pitfalls. However, its overall layout, limited content and poor editing offer minor value to anyone.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Jacqueline Spencer. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.