Sunday, October 05, 2014

Book Review: "Celebrate Nursing" by Renee Thompson and Joanne Turka

Renee Thompson, DNP, RN, CMSRN is a renowned nurse speaker, author, consultant and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Her work in the arena of understanding and preventing nurse bullying is profoundly informative and powerful. Renee has appeared on RNFMRadio numerous times, and she brings a level of emotional intelligence and intellectual prowess that is a true gift to nurses throughout the world. This is a review of her new book, co-written with Joanne Turka, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN.

In her new book, "Celebrate Nursing: Human by Birth, Hero by Choice", co-written with Joanne Turka, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN, Renee explores the deeper issues informing nursing practice and nurse-to-nurse relationships, using stories and anecdotes to illustrate and expand upon what makes certain nurses bubble to the top of the profession as true heroes.

Renee and Joanne say the following in their introduction:
Chances are that nurses, as a group, are the most compassionate people in the world. In fact, most of us enter the profession because we want to make a difference. We want to give patients the best and most compassionate care so they can heal. 

Unfortunately, with heavy workloads, stressful environments, and constant changes in technology, it's easy to lose the focus that motivated us to become nurses. It can be a struggle simply to come to work each day. Yet, in the face of all this, some nurses rise to the level of hero. They stand out from the rest in their ability to provide extraordinary care in the midst of constant stress and demand. How do they do it? 

Every nurse has the opportunity to be a hero, every day. Heroes aren't magic nurses who have abilities that the rest of us simply don't have. Every nurse engages in hero behaviors. Engaging in these behaviors consistently allows a nurse to rise to the top and have the greatest possible positive influence. 
In the course of this small but mighty book, Ms. Thompson and Ms. Turka describe the "hero nurse" as "a nurse who consistently engages in a cluster of behaviors that combine to provide exceptional care to patients and their families".

According to the authors, hero nurses engage in the following behaviors on a consistent basis throughout their careers:
  • Extend compassion
  • Communicate with openness and respect
  • Build relationships
  • Develop hardiness
  • Keep learning
  • Laugh
  • Live with integrity
  • Think positively
  • Own their practice
  • Strengthen moral courage
Over the course of only 99 pages, Ms. Thompson and Ms. Turka illuminate and illustrate each of the ten behaviors, using stories, anecdotes and definitions in order to clearly guide the reader towards cultivating these behaviors in themselves. These are not diatribes that cajole nurses into action, lambast them with guilt, or demand that they forcibly change themselves and others. Rather, the authors quietly and knowingly offer these behaviors as profound tools for personal and professional growth and elevated nursing practice.

In addition to stories and anecdotes, the authors also offer tips for cultivating these behaviors in nurses' day-to-day professional lives, helping the reader to simultaneously internalize and externalize the aforementioned behaviors through mindful and conscientious application of these simple yet profound principles.

For nurses who wish to aspire to heroic levels of compassion, integrity, personal responsibility, and enlightened nursing practice, this book is a profound gift that comes in a deceivingly small package.

If your unit, facility, medical office or agency is populated by nurses and other healthcare professionals who are open to deeper self-awareness and the development of enlightened nursing and medical practice, this book should certainly be on the shelf, in nurses' hands, and read together and alone as a guide toward a profound shift in our profession and the larger healthcare system. In fact, imagine reading one chapter of this book at the beginning of every team meeting over a period of time. What meaningful changes might occur!

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry and the largest professional population within that industry. Thus, when nurses aspire to heroism and elevated forms of comportment and behavior, they lift everyone up along with them, including patients and their families, allied health professionals, doctors, and administration.

Renee Thompson continues to bring her gifts to the world of nursing and healthcare, and this book is just one more gift that will have reverberations and impact far beyond its diminutive size. Along with Joanne Turka, they have created something which should not be ignored by nurses of heart and integrity.

 Nurses, I challenge you to cultivate these ten behaviors of hero into your nursing practice. Aspire to the bar that Renee and Joanne have created for us; meet the challenge, and continue to rise still further.

You can find Renee Thompson at, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, and her wonderful blog.

Please consider purchasing "Celebrate Nursing: Human by Birth, Hero by Choice" by clicking here.

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