[Excerpt] Nursing still lives in the shadow of medicine. Nursing theory is often distorted in the attempt to emerge from that shadow. Nursing, though, does have something that medicine does not, the thing medicine believes it lost and maybe covets: closeness to illness. A privileged proximity to the world of illness.
This book examines the concepts on which these perspectives are based—empathic knowledge, transpersonal caring, the meaning of illness, the silence of suffering. The world of illness may be different from that seen by either nursing or medicine. It may not be visible, but it is not hidden; it may not be articulated, but it is not unknown to the ill. It's not a mystery; it doesn't require interpretation. But it does not readily offer itself to our understanding. I use the works of James Agee and Michel de Certeau as metaphor and example.