1. Gould, Kathleen Ahem PhD, RN

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"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love, and like that colossal adventure it is an experience of great social import. Even as the tranced swain, the booklover yearns to tell others of his bliss. He writes letters about it, adds it to the postscript of all manner of communications, intrudes it into telephone messages, and insists on his friends writing down the title of the find. Like the simple-hearted betrothed, once certain of his conquest, "I want you to love her, too!" It is a jealous passion also. He feels a little indignant if he finds that any one else has discovered the book, too."


-Christopher Morley*


Summer reading was a childhood pleasure. The days of reading on my parents' porch, on the backyard glider, or at a sandy beach taught me more than long months in a classroom. My favorite books are usually recommended by friends or colleagues, people with shared values who seem to know what I would like. Often, patients and families tell us about something they have read; they may ask questions that have been informed by books written on subjects that relate to heath or care.


Recently, I cared for a patient who has successfully managed his diagnosis of AIDS for many years. He taught many of us about his journey and gave some nursing students a history lesson-Read And the Band Played On, he suggested, it will tell you where I began. To the surprise of the students, I acknowledged that early AIDS care was our biggest political and medical failure, something we are not proud of. As I left the floor that day, I noticed the patient and a few students were gathered in his room, still talking about the history of this disease[horizontal ellipsis] listening intently as he shared his personal story. This experience was such a gift for the students. I plan to re-read the book this summer in the 20th anniversary edition!


Locally, this winter, students, faculty, and many of my colleagues have engaged in a community book read of Atul Gawande's newest book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Many discussion groups have agreed that and no single book has seemed to influence our thinking about what matters to us as time becomes short. Patients have the book on their over-bed tables and physicians are suggesting that families read it together. I listen to the audio book when I drive, and find I need an extra large purse everywhere I go[horizontal ellipsis].as I carry a copy to many functions and places where professionals, families, and patients are talking about it. It has been my greatest pleasure to gift this book to people I care deeply about.


A few years ago, a colleague directed me to The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. I was transformed into the world of culture and language issues that I could not imagine[horizontal ellipsis]it helped me understand cultural sensitivity at a level I could not appreciate in my own experiences. I shared this book with a physician colleague who speaks and travels internationally[horizontal ellipsis]. he loved it! He references this book in most of his teaching and encounters. Often, her drops me an e-mail to tell of his experiences introducing the book to physicians and other professionals. We are both pleased that the text is now required reading in many nursing and medical schools!


Quite often, we care for patients who have suffered a recent death of a spouse or family member. This is an experience that is hard to navigate, and we are never quite sure if we offer adequate support. Joan Didion's words help; they stay with me and remind me how vulnerable, scary, and surreal the experience can be. In The Year of Magical Thinking & Blue Nights, Didion skillfully articulates what we see on the face of people who have suffered such a loss, even if they cannot find the words[horizontal ellipsis]as they say "I'm fine."


Most recently, The Lean Prescription gave me new direction and understanding of improvement models in action. Gabow and Goodman shared concepts and examples that create and sustain improvement. For me, the professional and personal applications were endless. I teach and practice the methods professionally, and I have started to organize my office using the 5 S tools to reduce waste. They are, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Doing the first 3 are easy, we have done them many times. Steps 4 to 5 (Standardize and Sustain) will keep the improvement in place!


You may take the summer months to read for pleasure, to catch up on professional topics, or to inspire your work or home life.


Here are some suggestions


The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion


Blue Nights, Joan Didion


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, Anne Fadiman


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande


Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande


Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance, Atul Gawande


A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot


Bed Number Ten, Sue Baier (author), Mary Zimmeth Schomaker


And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition, Randy Shilts


Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte


Person and Family Centered Care, Jane Barnsteiner and Joanne Disch


The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, Charles Graeber


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a Novel, Ken Kesey


Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz, Lucette Matalon Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee


How Doctors Think, Jerome Groopman


Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale


Pursuing the Triple Aim: Seven Innovators Show the Way to Better Care, Better Health, and Lower Costs, Maureen Bisognano and Charles Kenney


Why Hospitals Should Fly: The Ultimate Flight Plan to Patient Safety and Quality Care, John J. Nance


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Dan and Chip Health


The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands, Eric Topol


The Lean Prescription: Powerful Medicine for Our Ailing Healthcare System, Patricia A. Gabow and Philip L. Goodman


Code Green: Money Driven Hospitals and the Dismantling of Nursing, Dana Beth Weinberg and Suzanne Gordon


Promising Care: How We Can Rescue Health Care by Improving It, Donald M. Berwick


Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience, Charles Kenney (author), Donald M. Berwick (foreword)


Anatomy of Writing for Publication for Nurses, Cynthia Saver


NURSE: A World of Care, Peter Jaret (author), photographs by Karen Kasmauski (author), senior editor-Marla Salmon (author), foreword by Jimmy Carter (author)


Four Seasons of Grieving: A Nurse's Healing Journey With Nature, Lynne Wagner


B Is for Balance: 12 Steps Toward a More Balanced Life at Home and at Work (Second Edition), Sharon Weinstein


A Nurse's Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Dissertation or Capstone, Karen M. Roush


Kathleen Ahem Gould, PhD, RN


Adjunct Faculty


William F. Connell School of Nursing


Boston College


Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts


* Accessed April 10, 2015. [Context Link]