What Would Florence Do? A Guide for New Nurse Managers

Nursing Book Club

What Would Florence Do? A Guide for New Nurse Managers

Best mentor ever

By Sue Johnson, RN, Ph.D., NE-BC (American Nurses Association, 2015)
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Reviewed By Christine Contillo, RN, BSN

Sue Johnson, RN, Ph.D., NE-BC, has been a practicing nurse for 47 years and has held a variety of nursing positions, including her current role as a Magnet appraiser and continuing education expert for the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Although Johnson’s new book, What Would Florence Do? A Guide for New Nurse Managers, is only 100 pages including references, its modest size belies the world of information it has to offer.

The Leadership Challenge

In the modern healthcare environment, nursing supervision is no longer simply a question of which nurse has the most education or the greatest seniority. Hospitals are major businesses requiring leaders who can embody as well as espouse their institution’s model of care.

Communication is a top priority for today’s nurse managers, who must frequently interact not only with patients, staff and non-nurse colleagues, but also with unions and business administrators who may have no idea what nurses actually do. Nurse managers must resolve disputes, participate in both business and patient care decisions  and engage with the community for outreach and even fundraising.

At the same time, nurse managers remain responsible for fostering their staff’s professional development and modeling safe, ethical, continuously improving practice. It’s a big job — far larger than many hospitals appreciate.

A Practical Guide

Johnson offers a wealth of practical guidelines for tackling these enormous tasks. She also discusses the changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act and describes the quality indicators established by the National Quality Forum, which managers can use to measure and track how well their units are functioning.

As she addresses each aspect of the manager’s role, Johnson turns back the clock to let us see how Florence Nightingale handled similar problems in her day and suggests how Nightingale’s model can guide us in moving forward.

Throughout the book, Johnson presents sidebars with real-life examples of how nurse managers can become transformational leaders and support planning, advocacy and nursing excellence.

This slim paperback should be required reading for every nurse. Nurse managers will find new leadership tools while staff nurses will gain a better appreciation of their boss’s many roles and responsibilities.


What Would Florence Do?
Chapter Titles
1.    A Perspective About Health Care Today
2.    Strategic Planners
3.    Commitment to Nursing
4.    The Journey to Healthcare Advocacy
5.    The Importance of Communication for Nurse Leaders
6.    The Importance of Career Development
7.    Developing Others
8.    Community Partnerships
9.    Modeling Excellence in Care Delivery
10.   Resource and Fiscal Management
11.   Conflict and Collaboration
12.   Ethical Practice
13.   Focusing on Safety
14.   Quality Improvement and Care Coordination
15.  The Importance of Evidence and Research in Daily Practice
16.  Transforming the Future of Nursing 



Adapted from “Florence Nightingale, Math Whiz,” by Elizabeth Hanink, RN, Ph.D., PHN, previously published in Working Nurse. 

Hospital design became another passionate concern. Ms. Nightingale saw four major problems with hospitals: crowding even several patients to a bed, limited space, lack of ventilation and poor lighting. Her pavilion plan (Nightingale wards) featured individual units as part of a larger hospital, but never more than two to three stories high. Each unit was self-sufficient and each helped prevent the spread of disease with a central nursing station that allowed the monitoring of all patients at all times.

Her design located service areas at each end; ideally, windows surrounded on three sides. Patients’ heads came up against the wall with feet facing a wide passageway. All this was to enhance ventilation; after all, depriving patients of adequate air flow is, according to her book Notes on Hospitals, “manslaughter under the garb of benevolence.”

Click here to read the full article.  



This article is from workingnurse.com.

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