Beth Boynton RN, MS, author of Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces, practices what she preaches. In addition to being an author, she is also an educator, speaker, coach and consultant, using her own confident voice to inspire other nurses to improve their communication skills and to change healthcare workplaces for the better.
The first section of her book offers readers a basic understanding of workplace dynamics and organizational culture, giving nurse leaders a foundation from which they can assess their current work environment. For example, Ms. Boynton gives a succinct review of several theories of organizational culture including constructive cultures, passive-defensive cultures, passive-aggressive cultures and cultures of blame.
There is a well-written chapter on workplace violence which follows one nurse through her experience as a victim of workplace violence. The chapter ends with three possible “solutions” to the problem, followed by relevant and thought-provoking discussion questions.
The second section of Confident Voices challenges readers to improve their communications skills, especially assertiveness and respectful listening. The discussion of “I” statements is particularly well done, illustrating with real world examples how “I” statements can promote communication and how they can be misused. It also offers readers the chance to practice converting disrespectful communication into respectful “I” statements.
In the third section, Ms. Boynton pulls together the theories and skills discussed in previous chapters and shows readers how they apply to the real life experiences of nurses. The scenarios will strike a chord with many nurses and we can all learn from the suggested solutions presented in the book.
The “real life” examples in the book do seem heavily weighted toward physician (male)-nurse (female) communication and perhaps serve to add to the historic, stereotypical “divide” between doctors and nurses. None of the examples address the potential communication obstacles between culturally diverse co-workers. In addition, the book lacks any mention of nursing paraprofessionals and how nurses can use their confident voices to ensure respectful teamwork with CNAs and assertive delegation of tasks. However, these issues do not detract from the inherent value of the book.
While Confident Voices is an interesting read for any nurse, its primary target audience seems to be nurse managers or nurses who are aiming for a career in nursing administration. For them, it is a must-have resource!
If you would like to learn more about Beth and her inspiring work, check out her website.