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From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public [Paperback]

Patricia Benner , Bernice Buresh , Suzanne Gordon

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Paperback, 1 July 2002 --  

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As nurses face the ongoing challenges of an increasing need for their services combined with economic pressures, members of the largest profession in health care must become more visible, vocal and influential. "From Silence to Voice" is designed to help nurses understand and overcome the self-silencing that often leads RNs to downplay their own expertise and their contributions to the care of the sick and the health of the public. Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon teach nurses, nurse educators and nurse researchers critical skills they can use to explain their work to other health-care professionals, journalists, policymakers and political representatives. "From Silence to Voice" features stories about nurses who ensure that patients receive appropriate, timely and even life-saving care, nurses who make all the difference while crises are underway but whose contributions are neglected in medical charts and thank-you notes and nurses who are left out altogether or obscured by the generic "nurse". However, the book also provides detailed accounts of nurses who do make their voices heard, who do make their concerns public - and it shows how those successes can be duplicated. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Voice 24 Feb 2001
By Dr Sioban Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
From Silence to Voice by Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon is a must-read for all nurses. The message of the book is one nurses need to hear: talk about your work, show the world what you do, communicate the fact that nursing is skilled, responsible and interesting work. Buresh and Gordon make clear that much of the devaluing of nursing arises out of the fact that nurses avoid the limelight. Like the ubiquitous 'good woman' behind every successful man, nurses let their work be the backdrop for medical care, and for patients managing their own care. The consequences of downplaying the contribution of nursing to patient care is that our work is not noticed, our profession is not valued, and fewer and fewer people want to become nurses. Buresh and Gordon not only argue convincingly that nurses can be their own worst enemies in this respect, they provide a comprehensive range of strategies to teach nurses how to talk about their work, and (vitally) how to make people interested in hearing about it. These strategies range from ways of talking about nursing work to friends and family, to running a media campaign to support a union action, to writing oped pieces for major newspapers. I learnt a great deal from reading and re-reading From Silence to Voice and I recommend that it be part of curriculum for nursing students, be used for professional development sessions for working nurses, and adopted as a tool kit for union activists, professional officers and nursing leaders. Whether you are a student starting out in the nursing profession, a bedside clinican, a manager, organizer or educator, Buresh and Gordon's text is an eye-opener. Nurses as individuals and as a profession need to develop the communication skills and political savvy this book offers. And we need to do it right now! Sioban Nelson, RN, PhD, BA(Hons), School of Postgraduate Nursing, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Editor, Nursing Inquiry.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These two journalists are nursing the nurses 17 Jan 2001
By Veneta Masson - Published on Amazon.com
Bernice and Suzanne are two journalists who have taken on the nursing profession more or less the way we take on a patient with a life-threatening condition that is curable but requires both intensive and long term care. The diagnosis is silence. On account of our collective silence, we nurses miss the opportunity to show ourselves as consequential in the delivery of health care. And, as we well know, being inconsequential is ultimately fatal not just to nursing jobs and the status of the nursing profession but to our patients, who pay the highest price for inadequate nursing care. The remedy for silence is voice--our voices raised in conversation first and foremost with our families, friends and patients and also with the general public. I love this book. It's full of stories and information. It's also refreshingly direct. My copy is marked up from front to back.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting the word out about Nursing 6 Jan 2001
By Dr.Claire M. Fagin - Published on Amazon.com
 Veteran journalists Suzanne Gordon and Bernice Buresh have produced a practical,intelligent guide on public communication for nurses. How needed this is and probably more currently than ever before. Until now there's been very little available to teach nurses the nuts and bolts of public communication. Nurses who read this book will learn how to do the basics --construct anecdotes that explain why they make a difference, refine professional presentation, integrate nursing research findings into struggles for better staffing in hospitals, write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, or an op-ed or commentary, or speak compellingly on the radio or TV.
But another reason I like From Silence to Voice so much is that the authors sensitively explore the cultural barriers that have made women and women''s work so hidden in this society. In my own work and my work with other nurses, I''ve discovered how reluctant some of us are to toot our horns and broadcast our accomplishments. Our self-silencing is a detriment to quality patient care and real health care reform. This book can be a catalyst for a new approach by nurses to public education and communication. I highly recommend From Silence to Voice, particularly to nurse educators who should consider incorporating its timely lessons into their curriculum.
Claire M. Fagin, PHD,RN Dean Emerita, Professor Emerita, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical information for all nurses 5 Jan 2001
By genevieve chandler, Rn PhD. School of Nursing UMASS, Amherst - Published on Amazon.com
From Silence to Voice provides essential information that will heighten nurse's awareness of issues that systematically deny the critical contributions of nurses to patient care. Buresh and Gorden meticulously examine the influence of history, culture and gender that have affected the image of the nurse and therefore the care of the patient. Intuitively, nurses know what the authors have documented: that nurses silence about their vital role in patient care portends invisibility which results in lack of recognition, reward and job satisfaction. From Silence to Voice walks the reader through the practical steps, that can be incorporated in every nurse's practice, that are required to break through the silence and flourish. The authors provide thoughtful, detailed, evidenced based information on the path to silence and strategies for developing voice. The step by step advice for addressing patients, communicating with colleagues and managing the media is practical, un-intimidating and user friendly. The realistic case examples speak to the genuine concerns of nurses from fear of breaching confidentiality to lack of confidence in articulating their expertise. This is an ideal book for each staff nurse, manager and educator to read and discuss as a group. There is no question they will recognize the situation, nod at the familiarity and end with a "AhA!" experience which will provide the impetus to change.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must" read for Nurses!!! 8 Nov 2004
By Renee V. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
This book is like a bible to me. I have read the book several times, picking it up, reading parts...and always being empowered by it. I would highly recommend this book for nurses of all walks. Authors, Buresh & Gordon help nurses understand the deliberate dimantling of their profession/healthcare and give them clear tools (with examples) on how to reclaim their most valued existance. Nurses and their patients have a symbiotic relationship...if nursing is lost...so are their patients. From Silence to Voice will teach the reader how to enlist the public for survival. Thank you to Ms. Buresh & Ms. Gordon. The reader won't be disappointed!
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