After eight years as a practicing nurse and over nine years as a nursing student, I have finally found a book that captures the complexities of nursing without removing the aesthetics that initially drew me to the field. Nursing Leadership from the Outside In transcends the artificial boundaries imposed on nursing (most often by nurses) and restores and instills the values of nursing’s true potential. I have never read a book that made me want to change my practice and more importantly advance the field of nursing as a collective. While reading this book I found myself triangulating the chapters with Institute of Medicine documents, health care policy documents, and conducting web searches on National League for Nursing (NLN), American Nurses Association (ANA), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. I also found myself reconnecting with my practice and recommitting to my education in a way that I had never done before.
Personal exemplars of leaders from varying fields guide, challenge, teach, and praise nurses for the work that we do. Personal accounts from the greats re-frame leadership, not from the top down, but from the bottom up, highlighting the importance of policy change and education. Congressman LaTourette calls on nurses to be leaders in the policy development process and challenges nurses to better understand the process. He gives detailed examples of how to propel change at the state and federal levels. CEO, Michael Dowling also recognizes nurses as change agents and highlights the importance of nursing education to improve quality outcomes that will lower mortality rates and decrease adverse events. Johnnie Maier begins his chapter by vividly describing an orchestra and role of the conductor. I found myself better appreciating the ‘conductors’ in my practice and remembering that often times the true leaders never make a sound.
Nursing Leadership from the Outside In is the perfect balance of policy, nursing science, and compassion. Editors Glazer and Fitzpatrick wisely chose a diverse cabinet of contributors who fully encompass what leadership is, what it is not, and challenge nurses to tear down the silos and begin interdisciplinary leadership, practice, research, and education. This book is a must-read for all nurses!