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Bookcase: Getting the Word Out

Monday January 15, 2007
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From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public, Second Edition, by Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon

In this second edition, Bernice Buresh, a journalist, and Suzanne Gordon, adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, teach nurses the nuts and bolts of public communication by exploring the cultural barriers that have kept women’s work so hidden in our society. From Silence to Voice shows nurses how to construct stories about their work and which pitfalls to avoid, as well as themes and evidence to include and how to communicate their skills, responsibility, and interesting work to the world.

For more than a decade, the authors have tried to identify public voices on health and healthcare. After analyzing 908 direct quotations by “occupation,” they found that physicians were by far the most frequently quoted occupational group. Nurses were at the bottom of the list.

When they began their studies, Buresh and Gordon were baffled and frustrated in their attempts to find nurses who would volunteer even the basics of communication — to return a phone call or to answer basic questions about their work. According to the authors, the effects of this can be catastrophic for nurses. “Nursing, like every other profession, must justify its existence and compete for resources,” Gordon says. “If nursing continues to be misrepresented to the public and [to] those with influence, such as politicians, it will continue to be vulnerable to the budget ax and slow down new resources for nursing education.”

The book focuses on communication challenges within the nursing profession and goes on to show nurses how to transform clichéd and sentimental stereotypes about their work into compelling anecdotes and arguments about nursing.

The authors believe that nurses have a responsibility to promote the profession by informing the public of their contributions in the healthcare industry. This is a must-read for nurse educators, nurse executives, and all nurses who want to begin a long-overdue dialogue.

Cornell University Press
$19.95 (paperback

A Practical Guide to Finance and Budgeting: Skills for Nurse Managers, by KT Waxman, RN, MBA

A Practical Guide to Finance and Budgeting breaks down the confusing financial side of healthcare. Many nurses who climb the managerial ladder find themselves crunching numbers to oversee department finances — a necessary skill for the successful nurse manager. But without a proper training program, the budgeting responsibilities for nurse managers are often overwhelming.

KT Waxman, a registered nurse and certified nursing administrator with more than 20 years of experience as a nurse leader, guides nurse managers in producing, presenting, and defending the departmental budget. This comprehensive one-of-a-kind tool features helpful charts to break down the confusing language, number crunching, and report reading that is vital for building business plans and budget preparations.

Waxman provides quick insider tips and reminders for handling one’s new role as nurse manager. This practical book walks the reader through each element of important financial forms and reports while identifying the components of a financial statement. The author also teaches nurses the correct way to obtain adequate financial support for their departments. Waxman knows the importance of “financial performance” and explains how it affects an entire organization.

To help meet your financial responsibilities, a CD-ROM is included, which is full of customizable forms, critical-thinking activities, and useful handouts. The CD-ROM contains tools that enable managers to assess employee satisfaction and productivity.

So sharpen your pencils, grab your calculator, and be prepared to budget. This guide is essential for any nurse who wants to successfully tackle the financial duties of being a nurse manager.

HCPro, Inc.
$39 (paperback)

Terry Ratner, RN, MFA, is a freelance writer for NurseWeek and Nursing Spectrum. E-mail: Bookcase@nurseweek.com.