In review: featured books and websites

Compassionate healthcare, researching and social media, new apps and biographies.

Providing Compassionate Healthcare: Challenges in policy and practice Sue Shea, Robin Wynyard and Christos Lionis (eds).

Providing compassionate healthcare – isn’t that the reason why many physiotherapists chose their profession? However, in recent years there has been a plethora of stories in the media about the failings of the healthcare system and the Francis report brought some of these failings into sharp focus. This book was ‘inspired by the apparent need to restore humanity to healthcare’ and the contributing authors cover areas such as the concept of compassion, therapeutic approaches to compassion and the implementation and impact of compassion in healthcare.
Each section deals clearly with the issues and most are illustrated with examples from practice or the authors’ own experiences. These examples show it is the small touches of humanity during a healthcare episode that can improve the experience of patients, carers and families. However, the authors don’t shy away from examining the failings in a number of healthcare systems around the world – indeed it is one of the book’s strengths that it includes examples from several countries with differing approaches to funding healthcare.  
The section that resonated most with me was on ‘organisational issues’. Most healthcare professionals are compassionate individuals and it was helpful to read about the risk factors that can lead to ‘compassion fatigue’. How do we make sure the patient is ‘cared about’ as well as ‘cared for’? The final chapter, ‘Can compassionate care be taught’, gave examples from a leadership in compassionate care programme in NHS Lothian whose outcomes led to the development of a model of six key elements of compassionate care.  
The book was easy to read and thought provoking – guiding the reader into examining their day-to-day practice and the organisational culture in which they practise. The book is not cheap and may be better suited as a purchase by a hospital or university library rather than being bought by an individual.
  • Janet Thomas, NHS Fife. 


According to its website, Headspace is ‘meditation made simple’. Launched in 2010, it offers access to events, books, a comprehensive online resource and mobile app service. The website says: ‘We’re interested in research partnerships that contribute to the growing field of mindfulness research and support our mission of making the world a healthier and happier place.’ Visit the Headspace website. 

Studying and Researching with Social Media by Megan Poore

The author, Megan Poore from the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, aims to help readers to ’harness the power of social media tools to improve your academic success’.

The Psychology of Planning in Organizations by Michael D Mumford and Michael Frese

The authors examine planning as the critical influence on performance at work and in organisations. They describe the practical applications of research findings from a variety of perspectives.

Gender, Power and Organization: A psychological perspective on life at work (2nd edition) Paula Nicolson

This book offers an survey of the subject for professional managers and students of leadership, psychology, management, sociology, gender, and women’s studies.

Riding with the Alien by Graeme Heward

An autobiography written by a physiotherapist who has a facial disfigurement after experiencing a very rare form of cancer, which he calls ‘the alien’. The book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. 

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