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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 of the publisher's descriptions. Websites and apps were current and evaluated at the time of publication.




Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment


By Gary Chapman, Paul White, and Harold Myra


169 pp., Chicago, IL: Northfield, 2014, $14.00, hardcover.


REVIEW: When Paul White approached me to read Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, and evaluate how it could be helpful for nurses and healthcare settings, I was skeptical. So much has been written about workplace hostility, lateral violence, and bullying. I wondered what these authors could say that was different. I ended up being so impressed I asked Dr. White to write an article for JCN (see "Surviving [even Thriving?] in a Toxic Workplace in this issue, and note he's written for JCN before; Unhappy? Low Morale? Try the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, 29(3), p. 144-149. Both are free at

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Rising Above a Toxic Workplace is a down-to-earth, easy-to-read book for real people in hard work situations. It is full of stories from actual people and each chapter offers concrete Survival Strategies, Leadership Lessons, and Questions for Discussion. As the subtitle suggests, it is a book about actively taking care of you. Although Rising Above is not a Christian book, it is written from a Christian, biblical perspective. Chapman, White, and Myra talk about things like "keeping bitterness at bay" (p. 43), developing "mental and spiritual toughness" (p. 76), they quote Jesus, and there's a chapter Hidden Poisons in Nonprofits and Churches. This book also is hands-on, offering strategy after strategy for dealing with everything from toxic bosses to noxious coworkers to anxiety-filled workplaces. A bonus Survival Guide and Toolkit appendix includes, among other things, a toxic workplace checklist, anecdotes for cynical cultures, Ways to Stay Sane, and a Handy List of Survival Strategies.


Rising Above is an excellent resource for anyone in a difficult work situation. But it's also a great book for all of us who want to be knowledgeable about workplace issues, prevent problems, improve our work, and honor God.-KSS



Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes, and Total Turmoil


By Cheryl Dellesaga and Rebecca L. Volpe


368 pp., Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau, 2013, $34.95, paperback; eBook from $26.00.


BRIEF: Nurse bullying: we know it exists, so how do we address it, how do we manage it, and how do we resolve it? Bullying among nurses can drain the staff's energy and productivity and oftentimes leads to nurses wanting to leave the profession.


Toxic Nursing is a much needed follow-up to the highly praised When Nurses Hurt Nurses (Sigma Theta Tau International, 2011); this book explores why nurses can be so mean to each other and how this behavior affects the workplace and patient safety. Authors Dellasega and Volpe offer numerous concrete strategies and real tools and techniques for nurse leaders, managers, and administrators to turn around toxic workplaces, defuse conflict, and create positive work environments. The book is divided into five areas: Bitter Behavior; Relationship Riff; I'm Not OK, and Neither Are You; Sinister Systems; Friction Fallout; and includes four appendices and a checklist.



Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other


By Kathleen Bartholomew


192 pp., HCPro Healthcare Marketplace, 2014, $49.00 (includes 4 nursing contact hours), eBook.


BRIEF: Revised to reflect current research on horizontal hostility in the nursing field, Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, Second Edition, provides staff nurses and their managers with techniques to create a workplace that promotes team relationships and career development, while preventing burnout. Nurses will learn skills for identifying and responding to verbal abuse, bullying, and other detrimental behaviors that undermine individual nurses, the unit, and the quality of patient care. Gain insightful reflection, change culture, and improve nurse retention, nurse productivity, and hospital rankings with an improved environment for patient care.

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What's new in the second edition:


* Interventions-demonstrated methods proven to end horizontal hostility;


* Acknowledged stresses on nurses related to increased complexity and compression of their workload, computerized charting, and staffing;


* New information on leadership styles and hostility;


* Sociological underpinnings of horizontal hostility and understanding human behavior in groups;


* Bullying on social media/cyberbullying;


* Insightful reflections from real-world individual nurses who have experienced all forms of horizontal hostility, presented in their own voices.




A Fable About Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis


By Gary Chapman, Paul White, and Harold Myra


96 pp., Chicago, IL: Northfield, 2014, $14.00, hardcover.


BRIEF: Sam, the new CEO, was ready to hit the ground running. But his team members-and Mother Nature-had other plans. An ambitious yet naive sheepdog is called upon to lead Monarch Enterprises-a troubled organization on a beautiful isle. Confronted with broken systems and challenging personality types, Sam must learn how to marshal his team before the imminent storm washes everything away. Along the way, he gleans valuable lessons from an unlikely mentor-a wise, old puffin.

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Sync or Swim is a small tale with enormous insight on ways you can empower, engage, and energize employees or volunteers facing discouragement or cynicism. It's a delightful, quick read that will teach you communication techniques that enhance teamwork and productivity; bring to life the principles used by hundreds of successful organizations; provide relevant, practical insights based on real-world experiences; and stimulate lively and positive interaction (discussion guide included). This book will help you break through apathy and cynicism to inspire teamwork; empower and energize frustrated colleagues; and create an engaging work environment.


Going Deeper

Going Deeper helps you dig deeper into JCN content, offering ideas for personal or group study with other nurses-great for Nurses Christian Fellowship groups!


* Surviving (even Thriving?) in a Toxic Workplace: Read White with Schoonover-Shoffner, pp. 142-149.


1. What are some of characteristics of a toxic workplace?


2. Discuss symptoms of a sick system.


3. What tips are offered for working with a toxic leader?


4. What are some relational patterns expressed by dysfunctional people?


5. Discuss this statement: "An important principle is just start somewhere. Inaction in a toxic workplace is your greatest enemy."


6. Read Psalm 15. In the context of this passage, how would you describe one who is blameless in the workplace setting?


* Tears for the City: Read Dunlap, pp. 167-171.


1. How is population-focused nursing described?


2. Describe some of the Old Testament regulations for fair treatment of people.


3. Is there a particular population of people who need assistance in your community? Where or how do you resonate with this article?


4. Take time to wrestle with this statement: "The Christian public health nurse needs to spend time with these paired figures, reflecting on the deeply invested love described by each, the focused, although differentiated intimacy between parent-child, artist-masterpiece, shepherd-sheep, gardener-garden, and, most intimate of all, the lover for the beloved."


5. Read several of the Bible passages noted in the article. How is God's concern for populations expressed through these teachings?


* Daily Spiritual Experiences: Read Johnson et al., pp. 179-183.


1. Discuss this statement: "Self-awareness is crucial to the provision of spiritual care."


2. Read Psalm 42. How might you address the psalmist's need for spiritual care?


3. Apply each of the following questions as they relate to your work setting:


a. What is the level of religiousness/spirituality of the faculty members/nurses?


b. How does spirituality correlate with self-reported health and depression scores?


c. How do nurse educators/nurses define spirituality?


d. How do nurse educators/nurses define spiritual needs?