Reflections on Nursing: 80 Inspiring Stories on the Art and Science of Nursing

Nursing Book Club

Reflections on Nursing: 80 Inspiring Stories on the Art and Science of Nursing

A Collection from the American Journal of Nursing

By Editor-In-Chief Maureen Shawn Kennedy, RN, M.A. (Wolters Kluwer, 2017)
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I have strong opinions about many things, some important and some less so, but above all, I am passionate about nursing.

The American Journal of Nursing encourages nurses who share that passion to submit essays for the journal’s monthly peer-reviewed “Reflections” column. Wolters Kluwer, the journal’s publisher, recently published a collection of these powerful essays.

Most are written by nurses who have, as the saying goes, boots (or nursing clogs) on the ground. The topics are ones we all live with: death, frustration, favorite patients and lessons learned, among others. The authors’ candor in these reflective essays makes them worthy of attention.

The questions the authors confront in these pages are weighty ones: What does it feel like to grieve the death of your own family member after years of watching others grieve theirs? What makes one patient more memorable than another? Why do we continue to beat ourselves up years later for what we should — or shouldn’t — have done?

Each of these authors has something valuable to say to all of us, whatever stage we may be at in our own careers. Ray Bingham, RNC, MSN, explores the difference between just doing a job and doing it right — and how best to teach that to new nurses. Cheryl Dellasega, NP, Ph.D., describes how she coped with the death of her husband.

The late Donna Diers, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, writes about being a nurse disconnected from patient care. Not all of these essays are written by nurses. Some are written by patients, who don’t always offer as flattering a portrait of our profession as we might like. As nurses, we do what we can with the tools we have, but all of us can stand to learn more — and seeing someone else’s viewpoint can be a valuable lesson.

Each section has several essays on a single topic, but no two are alike. Each is a gem. They may spark conversations, validate feelings you’ve had yourself or strengthen you to speak up. This is a slim volume, but it can still take time to wade through. You may find yourself wanting to ponder each essay before moving on to the next.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this collection to anyone who wants more information about nursing, even if they aren’t currently nurses themselves. Family members reading this collection will have a better understanding of just what it is we do. Our days are often full of sometimes overwhelming tasks, but we can always benefit from spending some time examining our work and looking for meaning in it.

I’ve long been a fan of the “Reflections” column and this collection makes it even easier to read, revisit and share.

Christine Contillo, RN, BSN, PHN, is a public health nurse who suggests joining a book club as a reason to put down trashy magazines and look smart on the subway.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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