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Linda Thompson Adams, Edward H. O'Neil (Editors), Springer Publishing Company, 11 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036,, 2008, 252 pp., ISBN 978-082611104-3, softcover, $55.00


* Reviewed by:


Ellen Rice Tichich, MFA(c), RN


Clinical Nurse Educator


Northfield Hospital, Minnesota


Intended as a practical leadership guide for nurses at every level, this book provides management insights through 13 case studies contributed by graduates of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. As a compilation, these studies underscore the many challenges currently influencing health care in the areas of education, service, and public health. Independently, each study delineates one of four "compass points" or leadership dimensions embraced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program: Purpose, Process, People, and Personal. These dimensions form a competency-based leadership development process detailed throughout the text.


Nurse Executive is well written, not overly academic, and suitable for the experienced nurse leader and upper-level nursing student. The multiple contributors offer selections analogous to breakout sessions, unique in presentation and style, similar in purpose: to promote and provide nurse leaders with proven leadership development strategies.


This book is divided into four sections: the first is introductory and the latter three discuss "Issues in Public Health," "Leadership in the Education Industry," and "Leadership in the Service Industry," respectively. Four to five different case studies are presented in each of these three sections. Each study explores one of four compass points. Together, they comprise 13 of the book's 15 chapters.


These case studies are the book's strength but are also its weakness. Although providing important and interesting examples of specific leadership challenge, such as health care for homeless and runaway children, the disconnect between nursing education programs and the needs of healthcare organizations, and building a shared vision, none of these studies follow the leadership process through all four compass points. As a result, the envisioned process loses some of the cohesive strength it means to portray.


In addition to this lack of demonstrated cohesiveness between compass point and case studies, the book's title, Nurse Executive: The Four Principles of Management, is incongruent with its content, focused mainly on leadership development. In fact, the term leader or leadership is mentioned 17 times in the introduction; management, not once.


Nonetheless, Nurse Executive has definite merit. Empowering today's nursing force with leaders who are competent and driven remains both a challenge and an opportunity. Much can be gleaned from the diversity of professional and personal experiences shared in this text by some of today's nursing leaders taking on some of healthcare's toughest issues.