Book Review: The Real Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout & Revive Your Healthcare Career

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Nurse authors,  Linda H. Leekley, BS, RN and Stacey  L. Turnure, RN have written a very helpful book about incivility in healthcare.  It is full of activities and information that individuals can use for personal and professional development toward a goal of positive professional relationships and safer care.  It is an empowering book that every healthcare professional could benefit from reading and plays an especially important role in civility training as recommended by the Joint Commission.

Here are some things that I was especially impressed with:

Excellent chapter on developing professional relationships and distinguishing them from personal relationships,  including a focus on boundaries.  I have long thought that friendships at work should be a bonus and caution about alignments that may interfere with patient care and/or job morale.  In “The Real Healthcare Reform”, the authors teach about these tricky boundaries and make a clear recommendation to abstain from friendships at work.  Now, there may be a downside to this as there is some research that suggests that friends at work is important in retaining employees, but I would urge healthcare leaders to follow the authors’ recommendation.  Once nurses and others gain insights and skills around these boundaries, we can develop friendships at work AND keep them professional with regard to work.

Their chapter on anger, (Taking it to the Extreme) is also exceptionally written.  In a few short pages they illustrate the biology, consequences, and psychology of anger.  They discuss what causes people to be angry and offer a bulleted list that I’m betting all nurses can related to.  Being able to identify what makes us angry seems like and invaluable part of the process of managing our feelings appropriately as well as asking for, offering, and/or accepting help. This is extremely valuable for nurses and doctors who may be ready to learn about their own behavior as well as how they are affected by others.

They utilize realistic stories, supportive quotes and resources throughout the book.  It is reasonably priced at $19.95 and an instructor’s manual is pending.

I do think it comes up a little short on the organizational culture piece and perhaps a little invalidating for employees who feel their best option is to cope or leave.  They have a great example of an empowered nurse, Heather,  who was able to impact the culture by joining a professional organization and engaging with co-workers at every level for change efforts.  I believe this can happen and the steps that Heather took were inspiring.  I also know some organizational cultures that are so toxic that success on this path would be questionable.

Nevertheless, an excellent, practical, and helpful book that will play a wonderful role in building civil workplaces where care is safe and job satisfaction is high.  Learn more at:


Beth Boynton, RN, MS


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