1. Section Editor(s): Coogan, Neil MSN, MBA, RN-BC, CEN
  2. Book Review Editor

Article Content

The Nurse's Reality Gap: Overcoming Barriers Between Academic Achievement and Clinical Success

Neal-Boylan, L. (2013). Sigma Theta Tau International, Indianapolis, IN. ISBN #9781937554460, paperback, 137 pages, US $34.95.


Reviewed by:


Kristina J. Burger,DNP, ARNP, CPNP, CCRN


Advanced Education Specialist


All Children's Hospital


St. Petersburg, Florida




This book provides an organized assessment of the types of nursing education from associate to doctoral as well as the voices of nurses as they begin their careers after graduation. Nurses share their opinions on multiple topics including orientation, retention, burnout, and the meaning of nursing.


The author has created a resourceful book, which is divided into sections by nursing degree type. The format makes it easy to refer to a specific graduate nurse by degree and includes helpful information based on the many responses included in each chapter. Although the book is not intended to be a research study, the candid responses provide the reader with insight into the needs of new graduate nurses and indicate that college education often falls short of meeting their needs as they begin their first nursing roles.


Throughout the chapters are boxes with bulleted summaries and suggestions for support of the nurse. These remarks can be especially helpful to the preceptors and/or mentors chosen to train the nurse. Each chapter also includes a brief summary as well.


The last two chapters challenge the reader to consider ongoing chasms and issues in nursing. Chasms in academia, professional journals, and nursing organizations are well described including ideas to bridge these chasms. The conclusions chapter brings together the nursing issues such as securing a job and letters of advice to the new graduate nurse, whether a new registered nurse or graduate degree nurse.


The content and author comments throughout the book provide many ideas for ongoing research within the new nurse population. Although the 2010 Institute of Medicine report sets goals for nursing education, there is still much work to be done to meet those goals as well as the needs of the nursing student in preparation for practice. Some of the author's comments may be unsolicited but charge the reader to consider how to improve the education and orientation processes to improve quality patient care.


The content provides valuable insight into the needs of new graduate nurses from each of the different degree programs and can be helpful for educators, preceptors, and mentors as orientation programs are planned and implemented. Nurse managers should also read this book so that they can understand the issues that new nurses face during their first months to year in the nurse role. The book can also be helpful for the new graduate nurse. It can help new nurses know they are not alone in many of their feelings; the challenges and the suggestions will enable them to feel empowered to discuss their needs with preceptors, mentors, and unit leaders. I would recommend this book for colleagues in nursing professional development, especially those who coordinate nurse residency programs.


Disclaimer: The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this review.


Fast Facts for Developing a Nursing Academic Portfolio: What You Really Need to Know in a Nutshell

Wittman-Price, R. A. (2012). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Softbound, ISBN: 978-0-8261-2038-0, 188 pages, US $25.00.


Reviewed by:


Neil Coogan, MSN, MBA, RN-BC, CEN


Clinical Nurse Educator


Bay Pines VA Healthcare System


Bay Pines, Florida


The professional portfolio, once the domain of artists, architects, designers, and photographers, is meant to "show" creative work. Like other business professionals and academicians, nurse educators fit right there with those who design, develop, and implement the many processes of work.


Ruth Wittmann-Price and six nurse contributors write about how nurse educators can develop their portfolio and describe their "scholarly journey." The documents collected in a portfolio easily showcase the accomplishments and solid evidence of scholarship, teaching, research, and service. Separate chapters are devoted to each of these areas and are written in a detailed, explanatory fashion.


The first four chapters are written using the situation, background, assessment, and recommendations method of communication. They describe the relevance (situation) of an up-to-date portfolio, the brief history (background) of the portfolio, the assessment of one's career trajectory, and recommendations for the collection, selection, and organization of an educator's work.


One chapter describes how to write a five-part personal statement. Another chapter explains how to showcase the responsibility of teaching, including an exemplar of a teaching philosophy. There are useful lists of artifacts to support the teaching section, such as course syllabi, class handouts, use of technology, samples of learners' work, and much more. Separate chapters cover the construction, arrangement, and presentation of the portfolio. One of the last chapters describes the development of the electronic portfolio.


The book is well written and easily read. It is supported by tables, exhibits, and educator exemplars. Scattered throughout the book are nuggets of good information titled, "Fast Facts in a Nutshell." An extensive reference list appears at the end of the book.


This book, although intended for nursing faculty, is relevant for nurses in professional development. In fact, it is a great guide and resource for a nurse at any level who wishes to construct and present a professional nurse portfolio.


Disclaimer: The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this review.


Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing: Enhancing Professional Quality of Life

Todaro-Franceschi, V. (2013). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Soft cover, 213 pages, ISBN: 978-0-8261-0977-4, US $45.00.


Reviewed by:


Desiree Crawford, DHEd, MHA, BSN, RN


Deputy Chief Nurse, Education


VA Southern Nevada Health System


North Las Vegas, NV




Todaro-Franceschi provides a template for nurses to evaluate their professional lives and assess and reaffirm their purpose in health care. Through the use of acknowledge, recognize, and turn, the author walks the reader through the steps of identifying issues within the nurse's professional life, choosing the path to correct those issues, and consciously turning outward toward self and others to reconnect to his or her passion in nursing.


Todaro-Franceschi uses real-life examples to help the readers recognize the symptoms of compassion fatigue and burnout in their own career. More importantly, she relates the impact of compassion fatigue and burnout on the quality of patient care through these examples. She takes the reader through an insightful journey of self to identify those factors creating distress and the steps to recovery. Fair warning for the reader: you must be ready to truthfully assess your professional practice and acknowledge the behaviors or actions that are indications of compassion fatigue and burnout. The reader then has to be willing to use the tools provided by Todaro-Franceschi to overcome burnout and compassion fatigue.


Not only is the book well organized, but also, the author provides appendices including professional quality-of-life assessment tools and additional resources related to compassion fatigue and burnout. Overall, this is an exceptional book and worth the investment for both the novice nurse who wants to proactively recognize compassion fatigue and for the experienced nurse who is struggling with professional quality of life.


Disclaimer: The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this review.