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Learning to Dance

Monday September 24, 2007
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Save the First Dance for You: The Complete Nurse's Guide to Serving Your Profession, Your Patients, and Yourself by Doris Young, RN, PhD

America's healthcare system is overwhelmed with a nursing shortage exacerbated by an epidemic of nurse burnout and turnover. Young, a nurse with more than three decades of experience, is attempting to reverse this dangerous trend by encouraging nurses to care for themselves and avoid becoming victims of burnout. She cites the following statistic from a Nursefinders survey: One in five of the nation's 2 million nurses change jobs or leave the profession each year, listing stress as a major contributor.

The author uses the metaphor of ballroom dancing throughout her text — describing the role of the nurse as that of a dancer building a strong foundation, learning the precise steps necessary to dance with colleagues and patients. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote and is followed by short, easy-to-read segments interspersed with nursing narratives that explore a variety of nursing traits we all share. Young presents a 10-step, self-help program on balancing a nurse's desire to please others without sacrificing personal health and happiness.

This is a must read, whether you're a new grad or a seasoned nurse. It's an intravenous infusion of self-realization of what we need as nurses and how to seek it in constructive ways. Young's how-to manual serves as a tool to help nurses find empowerment within their profession.

Young Publications, $25.95 (hardcover)


State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America by James Colgrove

State of Immunity tells the story of how vaccination became an accepted public health measure over the course of the 20th century. Today, more than two dozen vaccines are in use, 14 of which universally are recommended for children. This book examines the strategies health officials have used — ranging from advertising and public relations campaigns to laws requiring children to be immunized before they can attend school.

The author, an assistant professor at the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University, explores the relationship between the power of the state to ensure common welfare through vaccination and an individual's right to refuse intervention. Colgrove exposes valuable lessons of the past, like quarantine and isolation, along with conflicts between public health and individual rights — two subjects that remain pertinent to current debates in public health.

This book is an interesting read for any nurse involved in public health, education, or pediatrics. Readers will enjoy the quotes from newspapers and journals, as well as a variety of black-and-white photos that promote vaccinations, including a Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz dedicated to measles vaccination and a photograph of Elvis Presley as he received his polio vaccination.

Colgove ends his text with a recent quote from the Institute of Medicine: "The United States lacks a comprehensive scientific and policy approach to explore fully the ramification of the increasing number of vaccines that will soon be available." In the end, the reader is left with no clear answers to the problem, but a full history of vaccinations throughout the last century.

University of California Press, $39.95 (hardcover)


Dermatology DDxDeck by Thomas P. Habif, MD, James L. Campbell, Jr., MD, MS, M. Shane Chapman, MD, James G. H. Dinulos, MD, and Kathryn A. Zug, MD

Here comes a completely new concept — so new no one knows what to call it. It's not a book, although it does have pages. This unique diagnostic tool, compiled by five dermatologists from Dartmouth Medical School, allows you to compare dermatological diagnoses side by side without the need to flip back and forth between different pages. It resembles a deck of illustrated laminated cards, with brilliant colored photos linked together at one corner.

DDxDeck provides basic principles of treatment, visuals, and cross-references, along with topical therapies in an easy-to-read format. It allows the user to make notes on the cards that later can be deleted. The deck, small enough to fit in a pocket, covers more than 150 common dermatology conditions. It's a perfect reference for nurse practitioners and any nurse who works on the front line of dermatological diagnosis.

Mosby Elsevier, $44.95 (softcover)


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