1. Mueller, Dale EdD, RN, CNAA

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Becoming Influential: A Guide for Nurses


Becoming Influential: A Guide for Nurses1 by Eleanor Sullivan is an upbeat, insightful, straightforward, and detail packed primer on being effective on the job. The reader learns how to strategize, position, speak, act, network and tell the story of nursing as a profession to colleagues, to the media and others. Underlying assumptions of the book are that nurses are not as influential as they could be, individually and as a profession, and that skills to become influential can be acquired through knowledge, confidence-building, and practice.


This book serves as a thorough and somewhat sophisticated first exposure to strategies of self-promotion for nurses who may have little or no experience in exerting influence beyond their clinical expertise. For nurses who have rejected strategies of influence as being too competitive or not what inspires them to excel as nurses, this book confronts these and other beliefs squarely and in direct support of promoting nurses in practice and nursing as a profession. The readings and chapter exercises in Becoming Influential could be used as challenging conversation-starters for the undergraduate nurse in a course on professional skills or introduction to management.


Introductory chapters address why power, influence, image, and awareness of organizational politics are important. Examples of techniques that can be used in care settings are provided. Straight-talk and examples in the beginning chapters address the motivations of nurses who do not aspire to management or leadership roles and are focused on being the very best clinician they can be. Becoming Influential stresses that all nurses need to develop the awareness of and use the skills in the book. Information on how to build coalitions, network, and deal with confrontations are included, as well as career management, the value of persistence in reaching goals, and techniques for contributing to the success of others.


Each of the book's 15 chapters has a list of key topics, topic sections highlighting key concepts and terms, numerous tables with supplemental checklists, learning activities, and contemporary references from management and nursing literature. In less than 200 pages, the author covers targeted behaviors and outcomes, strategies and rationale, and examples and discussions regarding the importance of influential actions in nursing in a readable and friendly style. Undergraduate nursing students would have no difficulty relating these readings and exercises to their other clinical and professional learning experiences and class discussions.


Experienced nurse managers may find value in the self-assessments and examples, although the presentation may seem a bit too informal for nurses who have already developed behaviors and awareness in positions of influence. This book may also be of value for experienced managers as it could be used in establishing mentoring relationships with new nurses by introducing proteges to the concepts of influence and assisting them with personal and professional goal-setting within the context of nursing practice.




1. Sullivan EJ. Becoming influential: A guide for nurses. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall; 2004. [Context Link]