Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Tale of Two Books

Nurse Anne always has her head buried in a book, but I tend to avoid fiction like the plague and it's rare anymore that I touch anything that isn't completely history or science focused.  If you want to check out a couple of books to read in the New Year have a look at these links. 

The first one is "Nursing Against the Odds"  by Suzanne Gordon.  Loved it for the most part. If there is anything that I learned from this book it is this:  The NHS, the media, the NMC, the public, and our chief nurses are doing everything WRONG when it comes to retaining nurses at the bedside and maintaining/improving the quality of patient care by nurses. Oh wait, I pretty much already knew that.  We are set up to fail from the get go.  This is true  no matter how caring and serious about quality nursing care we are or how many unpaid hours we work extra after 12 hour shifts with no break.  Patient care still sucks.

In the United States and throughout the industrialized world, just as the population of older and sicker patients is about to explode, we have a major shortage of nurses. Why are so many RNs dropping out of health care's largest profession? How will the lack of skilled, experienced caregivers affect patients? These are some of the questions addressed by Suzanne Gordon's definitive account of the world's nursing crisis. In Nursing against the Odds, one of North America's leading health care journalists draws on in-depth interviews, research studies, and extensive firsthand reporting to help readers better understand the myriad causes of and possible solutions to the current crisis. Gordon examines how health care cost cutting and hospital restructuring undermine the working conditions necessary for quality care. She shows how the historically troubled workplace relationships between RNs and physicians become even more dysfunctional in modern hospitals. In Gordon's view, the public image of nurses continues to suffer from negative media stereotyping in medical shows on television and from shoddy press coverage of the important role RNs play in the delivery of health care.

Gordon also identifies the class and status divisions within the profession that hinder a much-needed defense of bedside nursing. She explains why some policy panaceas - hiring more temporary workers, importing RNs from less-developed countries - fail to address the forces that drive nurses out of their workplaces. To promote better care, Gordon calls for a broad agenda that includes safer staffing, improved scheduling, and other policy changes that would give nurses a greater voice at work. She explores how doctors and nurses can collaborate more effectively and what medical and nursing education must do to foster such cooperation. Finally, Gordon outlines ways in which RNs can successfully take their case to the public while campaigning for health care system reform that actually funds necessary nursing care.
"The journalist Suzanne Gordon provides a powerful depiction of nurses' struggles to keep patients alive in an unsafe health care system. Read this book to see why national health care quality goals will not be achieved until nurses' work environments are fundamentally transformed."--Linda H. Aiken, University of Pennsylvania

And then there is the book I just finished titled "Mao's Last Dancer".  I have absolutely no interest in Chinese culture or Ballet yet I couldn't put this one down.  The real story in this is one of human interest.  Li Cunxion narrorates  a fascinating glimpse into the history of Chinese-U.S. relations and the dissolution of the Communist ideal in his life.  I knew Mao was one bad guy but never really understood what went on in China during the great leap forward as well as I should have.   The portrait of life under Mao as painted by the author, is so vivid that I nearly wept. Unrelated but I hope that humanity's natural tendency to whine and want everything taken care of for them by big brother never sends us back down the road to communism. Yeah, bring on the shitty comments about my  ignorance.  Yawn.

Raised in a desperately poor village during the height of China’s Cultural Revolution, Li Cunxin’s childhood revolved around the commune, his family and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Until, that is, Madame Mao’s cultural delegates came in search of young peasants to study ballet at the academy in Beijing and he was thrust into a completely unfamiliar world. When a trip to Texas as part of a rare cultural exchange opened his eyes to life and love beyond China’s borders, he defected to the United States in an extraordinary and dramatic tale of Cold War intrigue. Told in his own distinctive voice, this is Li’s inspirational story of how he came to be Mao’s last dancer, and one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers.

So that's a boring blog post for you all.  Have a good one.


Anonymous said...

Anne, I'm glad you read Nursing Against the Odds. I am a ADN RN in the USA though I'm now in school for my BSN.

I know the UK press has done a huge number on the degree educated nurse and it's still banging on about Flo but I never see anyone harking back to the days of surgeons hacking off limbs with rusty saws or wishing they could just have a course of leeches instead of modern medicine.

I realize the public doesn't realize that with technology comes a lot more education, workload and monitoring than Flo had to do.

But you'd think they'd be clued in after a spell in hospital...........

It's pretty sad to realize that nursings biggest advocate isn't a nurse at all - she's a journalist and her name is Suzanne Gordon.

Diane in USA

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Pennsylvania Ballet, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

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