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JCN offers reviews and briefs of books, websites, and mobile apps as a service to our readers. We do not sell or profit financially from these resources. Prices quoted are the original publisher's price. Briefs are short synopses based on the publisher's descriptions. Websites and apps were current and evaluated at the time of publication.




Overcoming the Cycle of Nurse Bullying

By Cheryl Dellesaga


157 pp., Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International, 2011, $29.95 paperback, $29.95 Kindle.


Brief: In When Nurses Hurt Nurses, Dellesaga, a nurse, discusses the issues and underlying causes of "RN RA"-registered nurse relational aggression, helps readers understand how prevalent RA is in nursing, and how RA creates unsafe environments for patients and nurses. She explains the roles of aggressor, bystander, and victim in bullying and offers ways to diffuse confrontational situations and stop patterns of behavior. A great value of the book is Dellasaga's discussion of a systematic way of addressing bullying from all aspects of the work environment and from the bottom up and top down. This is a helpful, practical read for any nurse in any work setting.

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The Nurse's Guide to Improving Communication and Creating Positive Workplaces

By Beth Boynton, edited by Bonnie Kerrick


160 pp., CreateSpace, 2009, $28.95, paperback.


Brief: Confident Voices gets directly to the heart of many distressing problems that nurses face and seek to change. Combining stories, facts, experience, and theories, Boynton presents compelling insights into root causes of workplace problems: toxic environments, medical errors, staffing shortages, and more. Boynton sets the stage for understanding underlying issues and then teaches how to build healthy work relationships and workplaces. Nurses have enormous potential to transform healthcare through speaking assertively and listening respectfully. This book transforms potential into real problem-solving power!




By Marsha D. Fowler, Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham, Richard Sawatzky, and Elizabeth Johnston Taylor


406 pp., New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2012, $50.00, paperback.


Review:Religion, Religious Ethics, and Nursing is not what you expect. It is not a book attempting to inform about all the religions of the world so we know how to care for adherents. It is "not simply another pro-religion source that gives nurses license to discuss religious beliefs with patients or to introduce religious practices into nursing care" (p. 380). It is a book that challenges you to step back and broaden your thinking about religion in general and religion in nursing. Although the book is deep and complex, it is not overwhelmingly difficult to read and understand. Nurses at all levels will appreciate the applications to nursing practice, theory, and research. This book and its companion volume by Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses (2012, Springer Publishing Company; reviewed in JCN, 29:4, pp. 187-188), extend a call to nursing to stop shunning religion.

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In Religion, Religious Ethics, and Nursing the four author/editors and 19 additional contributors offer a reframing of how we think (or don't think) about religion in nursing. They point out how nursing in recent decades has viewed religion as a subset of spirituality, often negatively, and as representing various rituals and beliefs. These authors offer information that helps us understand religion is so much more than sets of rituals and beliefs. The world is increasingly multicultural and pluralistic and the truth is, people engage in religion-and not as we have thought about traditional religion in the Western world.


Fowler's framing of religion in the opening of the book is very helpful. She points out that the "popular tendency to reduce all religions, collectively, as paths to the same destination" (p. 20) is not an accurate representation of religion worldwide (this should resonant with Christian criticism of the "all paths lead to God" perspective). Fowler explains that religion as we have thought about it is a Western idea that does not reflect non-Western thinking and experience. Although religions "might converge on certain ethical perspectives, neither their central theological questions and concerns, nor the theological ends that they seek redound to [result in] the same thing" (p. 20). Fowler quotes author Stephen Prothero, "what the world's religions share is not so much a finish line as a starting point: something is wrong with the world" (p. 21). Against this backdrop, this book is about helping nurses think about religion differently-as in valuing religion, thinking more globally, exploring in a bigger, deeper way how religion impacts people (nurses and patients), and more. The authors move us away from thinking about religion and nursing as "religious stereotypes" like a Jehovah's Witness patient who won't accept a blood transfusion (p. 313). They move us toward a deeper exploration of how religion impacts health and decision making in health and illness. They introduce us to the rich resources of religious ethics-thinking developed over centuries about ethical and social issues, and the value religious ethics could be to nursing.


Chapters in the book explore questions like how has religion influenced nursing theory? (Remember, religion was very important to Florence Nightingale, the founder of Western nursing). Why has nursing distanced itself from religion? How should religion and religious thinking be incorporated in nursing? What impact does religion have on care such as how people interpret suffering or how they make care decisions? How do we and can we measure religious concepts in nursing research? Chapters about major religious-traditions-Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Religions of Native Peoples, and emergent non-religious spiritualities (such as New Age)-are included to relay how the religion/tradition perceives important concepts in nursing such as person, health/illness, environment, and nursing (but not to offer an overview of the religion). The goal is to help nurses understand what underlies norms and actions by patients or nurses who adhere to these religious traditions. This is a broader more encompassing look than we are used to.


The book also is realistic about the problems of making religion "okay" in healthcare, social policy, and public life. The authors point out that the prevailing secularism (separation of public and private, secular and sacred, church and state) is being increasingly challenged, especially in other disciplines. They suggest that what we need is "responsible pluralism, where multiple religious, spiritual, and nonreligious views are welcomed equally, and without succumbing to the dynamics of power that inevitably shape which of multiple perspectives are foregrounded [become dominant]" (p. 383). This is a tough idea to understand much less implement, but it is what is happening in the world around us and a worthy goal to pursue. Responsible pluralism is a welcome idea for all religious nurses who feel marginalized and shut out. We should all be heard and treated with dignity and respect.


As a Christian nurse I experience this book as a call to enter into the pluralistic multicultural discussion about religion, to not be afraid of or overwhelmed by the differences in beliefs and traditions, to not focus on who or what religion is "right." This isn't watering down Christianity saying "whatever you believe is truth" (remember: it's not about trying to prove which path leads to God/eternal life). I can hold to my Christian beliefs about God and the Bible that we embrace as absolute truth, while exploring, listening, learning from, and sharing with others. I can and need to learn what is important to my patients (and to society) about how I can support them spiritually and religiously in their experience of health and illness.-KSS



Embracing Your God-Given Potential (Revised and Expanded)

By Gordon T. Smith


269 pp., Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 2011, $17.00, paperback.


Review: I realize this isn't actually a nursing book, but it applies to nursing so well I am including it under "Nursing" as a resource. This isn't about finding what you are called to do (most of us in nursing already have a calling). It's about living in relationship with God and living out our calling well. Gordon points out our first calling in life is to a personal relationship with God, to know him and be known by him. Our second calling is to our life work or occupation that uses our giftedness. The third calling is about the day-to-day way we live out our calling and vocation. How do I live out my calling in the midst of difficult relationships, unexpected problems, competing needs and demands on my time and energy, and huge moral challenges? How do I stay the course, or am I supposed to stay on my present course? How can I figure out a balanced way of living out my calling? Gordon talks about living with these concerns throughout life as we age and enter different stages of vocation. He offers steps for acting on God's calling each and every day of life.

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This is an encouraging read for nurses who may be weary and wondering how we can keep going. The reading is easy and the steps are light, not burdensome (see Matthew 11:28-30). Books for further reading and research are included.-KSS




By Thompson-Reuters Inc.


Mobile app for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android; download at, free.


Review: My workplace uses Micromedex online as a resource to look up medications, but you have to be at a computer to use it. When I found this free app for my smartphone I downloaded it immediately. The app allows the freedom to look up medications quickly on the go with or without Internet. All you have to do is type in the drug name (generic or product name) and you get a drop down list that expands with categories of information: generic name, dosing and indications, black box warnings, contraindications/warnings, drug interactions, adverse effects, drug class, generic availability, regulatory status (prescription or over-the-counter; FDA status), trade names, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, administration, monitoring, how supplied, toxicology, and clinical teaching information. If you are not sure of the exact spelling of a medication, the app loads names as you type so you can find the drug even if you can't spell it. The app automatically updates to keep current. It claims to have concise drug information on 4,500+ search terms.

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The only downside is its conciseness-sometimes I want more information, although this has improved in the last year with additional clinical teaching information. Also note this is an app designed with physicians in mind for medical use and clinical decision making.


If you have a smartphone, try this helpful app. It's free and if you don't like it you can always delete. Micromedex has additional more comprehensive apps for a fee that you can explore on the website.-KSS


iPhone and iPad Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later, language: English


Android Requirements: Requires Android 2.2 and up, Language: English



By Epocrates


Mobile app for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, Blackberry; download at, free.


Review: A nurse colleague told me about this app and I downloaded it a few days ago. You have to register online at before downloading and then sign in to use the app the first time, so it's not a straight download. However, the app is free and can be used with Blackberry devices as well as Apple and Android products.

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The app is very user friendly with colorful icons that take you to different areas of the app. Within different areas information is offered in boxes or icons rather than a list so it might be easier to locate what you are looking for. Epocrates contains drug information you would expect about multiple brand, generic, and over-the-counter medicines; drug interactions, safety and monitoring, and so forth. But it also contains quite useful features. For example, it offers alternatives to the medication you looked up, pricing and formulary information, pill pictures, and a "pill ID." So when you look up a medication you can see what the pill looks and how much it costs. The pill ID allows you to type in information from an unknown pill and see images of pills you are trying to identify (great when patients bring in medications in unmarked bottles). The formulary uses a locator with your location (if you allow it) so it offers information on insurance providers and formularies in my area.


Another cool feature is Tables where you can look up information related to areas of practice (i.e., cardiology, psychiatry) or clinical topics (ACLS, lab values, pain management, therapeutic drug levels). The Calculators allow you to do anything from calculate dosages, mean arterial pressure, BMI (body mass index), and the estimated due date in pregnancy. You can also set up Favorites that keep your medications or items you use frequently in one folder area. This is a really cool app that I can't wait to try out in a clinical setting!-KSS







Review: This website was referred to us by a forensic nurse who told us "The site is home to a great many resources that span from general nursing theory, to primary sexual violence prevention, to a discussion of pediatric care." She wasn't kidding. This is a fantastic website that other nursing specialties should emulate.


A forensic nurse "is a registered nurse who is specially trained to treat the victims and suspects of violent crimes like domestic abuse, rape and trauma. In addition to giving emergency medical care, a forensic nurse helps conduct criminal investigations by documenting scientific evidence of a violent crime. Forensic nurses typically work in hospitals under stressful emergency room conditions. Some forensic nurses work in nursing homes to detect and prevent abuse of the elderly, or in correctional facilities to provide medical care to inmates."


The website offers information about areas of vocation as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), Correctional Nurse, Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, Death Investigator, and Forensic Gerontology Specialty Nurse. A simple personality inventory is included to see if you have what it takes to be a forensic nurse, along with education and training resources, and job and salary outlook.


Whether or not you want to be a forensic nurse, go to this website and learn about this area of practice. It is an excellent teaching resource to help you understand more about this relatively recent field in nursing and healthcare.-KSS