1. Chadwell, Katherine MS, MSN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC

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Kathleen Heinrich, ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2008. $44.95. ISBN 0-7637-4679-7. paperback. 438 pp.


At first outward glance, Kathleen Heinrich's (2008) book appears to be that of a textbook filled with technical pearls for presenting and publishing. However, the last words of the title, "dare to share," were intriguing. I turned the book over to read the back cover; while still identified as a textbook in the first sentence, further reading suggests that the book is a "portable mentor" and somewhat like a self-help book to presenting and publishing. The book is divided into 5 sections of "small steps" consisting of 93 chapters. Eleven contributing authors and 14 "other contributors" are identified, including notable authors and editors such as Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, FAAN (editor, Advances in Nursing Science); Marilyn H. Oermann, RN, PhD, FAAN (editor, Journal of Nursing Care Quality); and Suzanne P. Smith, RN, EdD, FAAN (editor-in-chief, The Journal of Nursing Administration and Nurse Educator). The book prelude infers that the profession of nursing has been shrouded in a culture of silence and that we should transform ourselves through storytelling as the basis for presenting and publishing, thereby establishing our professional legacy. The preface further supports the premise that storytelling is a life-changing event that "ignites passion in nursing" that will be realized through the process of presenting and publishing. It continues with a focus on the author's life and how the evidence-based techniques outlined in the book have helped to transform nurses into presenters and writers.


Section 1 includes chapters 1 to 9, which address the elements of creativity. Nurses are challenged to dare to share by dropping their technical hands-on approach and personal issues that interfere with our creativity. This theme continues, where the nurse's self-confidence is built through the use of the affirmation, "I am a nurse and I am creative." The author further focuses on the concept that as nurses we are unique and that, through our own personal experience, creativity is enhanced when we learn to connect with those special experiences that make us who we are. As part of this process, we must recognize and manage our inner critic as a barrier to the writing process. Heinrich emphasizes the importance of "creative time outs" and "still-points" toward focused, efficient productivity and suggests that writing and presenting are not happenstance occurrences; rather, they are planned events, which require a mind that is receptive. The importance of developing a support circle of like-minded peers from which the creative process can be developed and honed is stressed. The author concludes this section with a commitment to creative writing through the use of 15 powerful practices.


Chapters 10 to 49 comprise section 2, which is entitled "Small Steps to Present What You Do." As nurses, we are always communicating through the presentation of ideas. These chapters teach the reader how to bring a presentation to life, starting from the mind of a beginner without preconceived ideas and notions, to development of the topic, preparation for presentation, and commitment to follow through. These chapters help readers learn to capitalize on their special and unique qualities and understand their styles of presenting as well as provide suggestions for overcoming fear. Subsequently, the presenter is perfectly poised to take on the nuts and bolts of building a presentation. The author provides steps for a presentation that range from an "eyeglittering" idea to a postpresentation assessment. Each phase of the presentation is clearly developed by the author through worksheets, checklists, and examples. Heinrich also discusses the importance of using a peer mentor as part of presentation building, refinement, and evaluation. Section 2 also addresses poster design and development in which simplicity rules.


Section 3 encompasses chapters 50 to 79 in which Heinrich discusses writing for publication. The author suggests to the reader that being published is somewhat of an addiction in that once an individual has been published, he/she will want to publish again and again. It is not uncommon that presenters have never published; however, the author states that the two should go hand in hand and provides guidance in unleashing the writer. The beginning chapters reflect on a self-analysis of the writer, understanding barriers, styles of writing, and the importance of individual environment used to feed the writer's creative process. Heinrich again asks the readers to evaluate the eye-glitter value of their ideas and the strength in which they convey the desired information to their readers, using appropriate venues. Unlike presenting, these are key reference points in writing where the author does not have an intimate, one-on-one relationship with the audience. As in the presenting section, the author again takes the reader through the writing process from developing an idea, querying an editor, managing timelines, developing an outline into a manuscript, and thinking like an editor when preparing a manuscript. Again, the author provides clearly defined steps to the writing process using worksheets and checklists. In addition, Heinrich focuses on the editor's perspective, providing the writer with valuable insight. The remaining chapters help the reader to understand peer feedback and how to manage manuscript rejections and revisions. Finally, the last chapter of this section asks potential writers to reaffirm their commitment to writing by working smarter using powerful practices that the author summarizes.


Chapters 80 to 90 comprise section 4, which introduces the reader to the importance of cultivating a network that encompasses both friends and colleagues. The author labels this the "support circle" where each person within the circle is recognized and valued for the contribution they make to the presenters' or writers' successes. Of particular importance is the peer mentor, which Heinrich refers to as the "genie in your life." Another crucial component addressed in this section is managing collaborative activities successfully.


In the final 3 chapters in section 5, the author engages the reader by taking the dare to share challenge. By doing so, dreams will come to life, compassion will be activated, and nursing will be transformed.


A Nurse's Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share provides a well-defined process to presenting and publishing that is easily usable by all levels and types of nurses from students to clinicians/practitioners to academicians. This book is well suited to nurses who feel a little squeamish at the thought of presenting and publishing. It is filled with words of encouragement and support, and there is an abundance of personal stories that are used to support the reader through each step of the way to presenting and publishing. The underlying theme in the book focuses on nursing as an oppressed profession, which creates an obstacle that must be overcome as part of the creative process leading to presenting and publishing. As a critic and reviewer, I am not sure that all nurses would identify with this theme, and some readers may find it a bit distracting from the pragmatic, valuable information included in the book. The book design and title seem to intimate a textbook orientation. Perhaps reversing the title to say "Dare to Share: Helping Nurses to Present and Publish" would have better defined the essence of the book, and a more inviting (ie, less generic or plain) outside cover would have better demonstrated the author's friendly demeanor and supportive ways.