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Exploring the Human Heart

Monday September 24, 2007
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A Daybook for Nurse Leaders and Mentors Edited by Fay L. Bower, DNSc, FAAN

Just like our seasons, nurses have their personal cycles of learning and growth. A Daybook for Nurse Leaders and Mentors offers 365 pearls of wisdom to inspire and challenge nurse leaders and leaders-to-be.

Most calendar books expire at the end of the year, but the Daybook includes only the month and day, which allows readers to use the calendar for more than one year. Each day's message offers a comforting quote to motivate you and influence your nursing practice.

You'll gain insight to take your leadership to the next level, whether it's from Daniel J. Pesut, APRN, BC, PhD, FAAN, proudly reminding us, "The one thing a leader has to do is appreciate that everybody is partly right"; Grayce Sills, RN, PhD, telling us, "The best lessons I learned came from the school of life"; or Fay L. Bower, DNSc, FAAN, declaring, "Mentors don't have to be in charge. In fact, the best mentor is often not the boss or someone in high position."

The Daybook offers guidance and inspiration from wise nurses at various stages in their professional careers. This is a perfect gift for nurse leaders, mentors, or any nurse with a vision. It's a book to cherish — full of encouragement, opportunities to learn, and challenging ideals to live by.

Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, $19.95, www.nursingknowledge.org/STTI/books

Daily Miracles: Stories and Practices of Humanity and Excellence in Health Care by Alan Briskin, PhD, and Jan Boller, RN, PhD

Daily Miracles was created by a group of nurse leaders who came together at a community hospital in Northern California to discuss ideas about caring and compassion. Clinical nurses, supervisors, advanced practice nurses, and managers met around 20 times during a two-year period (2002-2004), and discovered ways to process their encounters and emotional reactions to human illness, health, and healing in ordinary language.

This full-color, 6"x 6" book contains a moving collection of personal stories that transform the world of nurses into reflective narrative. Briskin, an author and photographer, and Boller, a clinical nurse educator and scholar, conceived this book without an agenda or plan of action, using ideas and experience related through dialogue, personal stories, insights, and group exploration.

Daily Miracles is a book for all nurses who move amidst the uncertainty, joy, and sadness they encounter. The book is a therapeutic process, a telling of stories that reflect the compassion of those who offer a healing presence in the world.

Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, $13.95, www.nursingknowledge.org/STTI/books

Our Human Hearts: A Medical and Cultural Journey by Albert Howard Carter III, PhD

Our Human Hearts is a nonfiction exploration of the meaning of the human heart. Albert Howard Carter, an adjunct professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine, reflects on the cultural and biomedical understandings of the human heart. The author interlaces medical and linguistic information with the stories of four heart patients, each with different illnesses and personal approaches to healing.

Many view the human heart as a repository for wisdom, emotion, courage, and soul. It's difficult for a nurse or surgeon to examine a heart, beating or not, without doing some soul-searching of his or her own. This is the intention of Carter's book — to explore the human side of the heart by giving a voice to the patients.

Our Human Hearts takes the reader on a journey that reflects and critiques the separation of the heart's various meanings — specifically how our denial of the heart has contributed to its neglect through lifestyles, attitudes, and emotions. The book shows us ways to heal our hearts by reassembling some of our deepest meanings of the heart.

The Kent State University Press, $22.95 (paperback)

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