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Save the First Dance for You: The Complete Nurse's Guide to Serving Your Profession, Your Patients, and Yourself (2006)

By Doris Young

Young Publications Norfolk

Nursing rating 4 stars

Rating guide:
excellent = 4 stars;
good = 3 stars;
fair = 2 stars,
poor = 1 star

Artistic rating 3 1/2 stars

Save the First Dance for You is a how-to manual nurses can use to prevent and cure burnout, helping their patients by helping themselves. Doris Young encourages us to look at the bigger picture of our lives. That new perspective can help us climb up from the bottom of Maslow's pyramid and aim for the top level of self-actualization. In this voyage, we must determine which of our current thinking and behavior patterns hold us back and which move us forward. We learn to assert control over our own lives, instead of simply accepting whatever positions others place us in, especially when they conflict with our own values and principles.

Doris Young explores the "nursing personality" that so many of us share. She shows that many nurses emerge from social backgrounds in which pleasing others seems to be the only way to earn respect and gain self-esteem. After giving much and getting little in return from family, employers, patients, friends or lovers, we may get angry, snap at those who take us for granted, and make harsh demands about what we need for self-preservation. This can confuse and drive away others as it leaves us bitter and unsatisfied.

But Save the First Dance for You teaches us how to figure out what we need and seek it in more constructive ways, before we get used and abused. In that way we can achieve more positive human relationships, gratifying careers and ultimately healthier patients.

Under Doris Young's coaching, I can imagine a whole new nursing profession. I see a profession in which nurses are better able to work for: safe patient loads; systemic changes to eliminate dangerous patient care practices, workplaces that value nursing input; nursing-led hospitals and institutions; adequate funding for nursing education, research and clinical practice; insurance reimbursement specifically for nursing care; professional pride; and broad public and media recognition of nurses' true value and health expertise, the lack of which has contributed greatly to the critical underfunding of nursing and the global shortage.

At first, Save the First Dance for You may seem like a fantasy to nurses wondering if they will even get a bathroom break on their next 12-hour shift. But those are the nurses who need this book the most. The book can serve as a wonderful tool to help us find the strength in each of us, and use it to empower ourselves and our profession. Nurses and their patients need what Doris Young's important book offers.

Review by Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Reviewed August 5, 2006

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board Members or Advisory Panel of The Truth About Nursing.

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