Book Review: A Nurse’s Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share, by Kathleen T. Heinrich

A Nurse’s Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share, by Kathleen T. Heinrich (Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2008), 438 pp.

No one becomes a nurse because he or she loves to write. People become nurses and nursing faculty because they want to provide caring and compassionate healing to patients, improve the quality of patient care, or educate the next generation of nurses and nursing faculty.

But those ambitions are also precisely the motives for nursing writing, which can disseminate valuable clinical and educational insights to a wider audience.

Recognizing this mission and acknowledging the difficulties that many nurses and nursing faculty have with writing, Kathleen T. Heinrich has developed a series of workshops and now this recently published book: A Nurse’s Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share.

In 93 brief, accessible chapters (“small steps,” Heinrich calls them) she offers readers (and aspiring nurse writers) a summary discussion about and a set of practical activities on opening up your creativity, presenting what you do, writing about what you do, and cultivating a support network.

Heinrich tackles the single largest obstacle: the cognitive and emotional blocks that prevent our beginning and completing a proposal, abstract, or article. She provides useful strategies for getting beyond these self-imposed thought and habit patterns.

Aspiring writers may indefinitely defer or eventually give up the writing process because it all seems too complex and too time consuming. Dare to Share helps aspiring writers to answer the question, How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. Heinrich breaks down the process into small steps that anyone can complete in a reasonable amount of time.

The starting point is to take inventory of what you already do, what you are already concerned about solving or improving, or what you are already researching or studying.

Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote, includes one or more activities or worksheets, and a brief bibliography of relevant readings for those wishing to pursue an idea further.

Four appendices include an exemplar and a blank master of four forms that she has discussed earlier in the book and that are useful in organizing your thoughts and time.

I’ve been characterizing the audience for Dare to Share as “aspiring writers,” but those aspirants might include both novice writers trying to get started and veteran writers who need to get re-started.

If a writer completes two chapters each week, he or she will have a conference presentation and an article completed in the space of one year.

With the beginning of a new academic year, Kathleen T. Heinrich’s A Nurse’s Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share will be especially useful for clinical and research faculty.

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