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Bookcase: Heroic Army Nurse Touched Soldiers’ Hearts

Monday January 15, 2007
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Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other, by Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN

Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility is a practical book that focuses on assessing and eliminating horizontal violence (sabotage directed at co-workers who are on the same level within an organization’s hierarchy). Bartholomew, a registered nurse and counselor, understands violence between nurses: For six years, she was a manager of a large surgical unit where she witnessed first-hand disruptive nurse-to-nurse relationships.

The author uses the power of story to examine the many facets of disruptive behavior. Her strength lies in her ability to link the academic world with the practical reality of the hospital. This book begins with the origin and nature of mutual violence and negativity, which, according to Bartholomew, is characteristic of all oppressed groups. She shares vignettes, training tips on how to be assertive, and best practices to help eliminate disruptive behavior. Bartholomew focuses on the nurse manager, who is often entangled in a no-win situation: dealing with the demands of upper management and the complaints of subordinates. The author uses action plans, role-modeling tips, and “assertive training” tools to decrease hostility within an organization.

This is a “must read” for those wanting to end the cycle of nurse-to-nurse hostility. Bartholomew provides a way for nurses to recognize, deflect, and cope with disruptive behavior that is guaranteed to improve the nursing culture at your facility.

HCPro, Inc.
$99 (paperback)

American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy, by Bob Welch

American Nightingale is a heart-wrenching World War II story of the first American nurse to die after the landing at Normandy. The book details the life of Frances Slanger, a Jewish fruit peddler’s daughter, who survived a chilling childhood in World War I Poland and later immigrated to America.

Award-winning author Bob Welch wrote a column in 2000 for Oregon’s Register-Guard in Oregon featuring a letter written by Slanger in December 1944, four months after she set foot on Utah Beach in France. Slanger’s letter, originally published by Stars and Stripes, sang tribute to the soldiers she had helped survive — and die. The letter began, “They are brought in bloody, dirty, with the earth, mud, and grime, and most of them so tired. Somebody’s brother, somebody’s father, and somebody’s son.”

Hundreds of soldiers wrote heartfelt responses honoring Slanger and her fellow nurses. But Slanger never read any of the letters of praise. The next morning a piece of shrapnel from a German artillery barrage sliced deep into her abdomen and spine; she had no chance of survival.

The overwhelming response to Welch’s column led him to write this biography. His colorful narrative captures Slanger’s essence, along with Boston’s Jewish neighborhoods in the 1920s, nursing schools, and hospital work, and the training of Army nurses.

This is a great read for young adults, nurses, and history buffs. The author portrays nurses with understanding as they work at the front lines with the sick and dying.

Atria Books
$14 (paperback)

Health Matters: A Pocket Guide for Working with Diverse Cultures and Underserved Populations, by Michele Yehieli, DPH, and Mark A. Grey, PhD

Health Matters provides information on the role of culture in health. Immigrant, minority, and refugee populations make up a quarter of the U.S. population. Thousands of health care providers strive to understand a huge variety of cultural backgrounds.

Readers are given tips on interacting with more than a dozen cultural groups, including Arab Muslims and Southeast Asians. This outstanding guide provides succinct practical information for anyone delivering health care in our rapidly changing communities. The authors explain how each human being is unique and show how social and cultural forces shape us individually. Health Matters is an indispensable handbook for any nurse caring for culturally diverse populations.

Intercultural Press
$15.95 (paperback)

Terry Ratner, RN, MFA, is a freelance writer for Gannett Healthcare Group. E-mail Bookcase@nurseweek.com.