1. Cox, Sharon MSN, BSN

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The Nuts and Bolts of Nursing Leadership: Your Toolkit for Success (Sherman, 2021)


To say that the nurse manager role is complex is an understatement, with the average manager having more than 60 direct reports, being responsible for a multi-million-dollar budget, and clearly serving as the lynchpin for all that happens on a nursing unit from safety issues to retention and shared decision-making. For the new nurse manager, the overwhelmed feeling will remind them of being a novice nurse, whereas a seasoned manager may be looking for new ways to deal with difficult personnel issues or think strategically, which has become a key differentiator in measuring successful leaders.


Dr. Rose Sherman, a nationally known leadership expert in healthcare with other books and a blog to her credit, has provided just the resource needed to encompass the complexities of the nurse manager role. She uses Kouzes and Posner's Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership as a framework and offers a wide range of topics, including promoting constructive conflict, fostering resilience, systems thinking, and useful ways to stay in your "circle of influence." Her chapter on "building your brand" is timely, with the recent spotlight on nursing, and her tips on when and how to leave the role are pragmatic and thoughtful. A chapter on helping nurses regain perspective after the pandemic is apt, with 35% to 54% of nurses having substantial symptoms of burnout.


This book is written in a concise manner, offers great stories to make a point, and provides ideas on issues that are less frequently covered in the literature, such as managing those who were your peers and the differences between a growth and fixed mindset. The do's and don'ts in several chapters, as well as the references and resources offered, are alone worth the cost of this book. Dr. Sherman writes with a sixth sense about what nurse leaders need to know, making this a must-have on your bookshelf.


Self-Compassion with Kristin Neff (Being Well Podcast with Forrest and Rick Hanson, May 20, 2019:


An internationally known expert on self-compassion, Dr. Kristen Neff provides an overview of self-compassion and how it differs from self-pity, as well as ways to incorporate self-compassion in everyday life. As nurses, we've developed many skills to express compassion; however, that critical voice in our head often keeps us from turning these skills inward. Dr. Neff defines compassion for self as an essential skill for personal growth and highlights the benefits of this practice to our emotional well-being, including dealing with negativity. This podcast offers relevant advice, with excellent resources for digging deeper into this concept.


Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, 25th Anniversary Edition (Bridges, 2017)


Susan Bridges, the widow of author William Bridges, adds insights from her consulting practice in this 25th anniversary edition. Her contributions only add to the timeless wisdom in this guide to dealing with the "human side" of change, as evidenced by the fact that Managing Transitions has sold well over 650,000 copies since its original publication. In a conversation I had recently with a senior vice president of nursing, she mentioned giving this book to all her managers and we talked about our own dog-eared copies of the original. In healthcare, we're "over changed and under transitioned," and we often ignore the inner landscape of ending, neutral zone, and new beginning while getting caught in the need to just make it happen. As Bridges reminds us, "It's not the changes that do us in, it's the transitions."


I've found that the concepts in this book provide the words that people need to talk about their experience. By naming and claiming our feelings, we're able to work through the psychological adjustments to change. I've often wished that I could make this book required reading for the C-Suite as change initiatives are developed. Regardless of your place in the hierarchy, you'll find Managing Transitions to be a perfect book on your bedside table for the foreseeable future.