Becoming Influential : A Guide for Nurses

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-02-25
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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This groundbreaking book applies a practical approach toward becoming a professional nurse with exemplary influence skills. The emphasis on the importance of nurses' influence in the workplace, presented in this easy-to-read and timely volume, includes numerous examples of real-life situations. It provides techniques for enhancing influence-making skills and advice for using enhanced influence skills to solve common workplace problems.This volume addresses understanding and using influence including setting goals and making things happen, negotiating for what you want and dealing with difficult people and situations, as well as managing your career and preparing your successors.For nursing professionals including staff nurses and nurse managers.

Author Biography

Eleanor J. Sullivan is professor and former dean of the University of Kansas School of Nursing. From 1997 to 1999 she was president of Sigma Theta Tau International. She has served on the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and on the advisory council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health, among other professional positions.

Dr. Sullivan is known for her publications in nursing, including her award-winning textbook, Effective Leadership and Management in Nursing, now in its fifth edition. Other publications include Creating Nursing's Future: Issues, Opportunities and Challenges and Nursing Care for Clients with Substance Abuse, as well as articles in nursing and health care publications. From 1997 to 2002, she served as the editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing, the official Journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Today, Dr. Sullivan is writing mystery novels featuring nurses. By showing nursing realistically, she hopes that readers will understand the complexity of nursing care and the skills and knowledge involved in being a nurse. Her first novel, Twice Dead, was released in 2002 by Hilliard & Harris Publishers. More books in the series are planned. Learn more at www.EleanorSullivan.com.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi
About the Author xiii
Part I Understanding Influence
What Is Influence and Why Do I Need It?
Rules of the Game
Understanding and Using Your Power
The Power of Image
Communicating Effectively
Why Politics?
Part II Using Influence
Setting Goals and Making Things Happen
Making Connections and Building Coalitions
Negotiating for What You Want
Dealing with Difficult People and Situations
Part III Putting Influence to Work
Telling Nursing's Story
Managing Your Career
(Nursing) Practice Makes Perfect
Preparing Your Successors
Leaving Your Legacy
Appendix A Ten Little-Known Secrets for Success 165(1)
Appendix B Additional Resources 166(3)
Index 169


This book is predicated on three assumptions: Nurses, individually and collectively, do not have a history of being influential in health care and other arenas. The external environment in health care and in society has contributed and sustained nurses' lack of influence. Nurses can acquire skills to become more influential. This is a presumptuous book. It is presumptuous in assuming nurses don't have the skills to influence, assuming they want them, and assuming that I know what these skills are and how to teach them, all brash assumptions. Nonetheless, I am stepping out boldly to proclaim that nurses and nursing could and should be more influential. Culled from years of experience in nursing and from life, I've seen what has worked, what I've done right and things I've done wrong (the best way to learn), and what I've watched others do both right and wrong, relative to the ability to influence. I believe nurses can and should learn these skills to benefit the health and well-being of those in our charge: our current and future patients. Some of the content presented here is not found elsewhere, and you will find some information here that even your mentors won't give you. It is hard hitting, and some of nursing's "sacred cows" are criticized. Do not be put off by this. Use these statements to generate debate in your classes and with your colleagues. Free and open exchange of ideas is the hallmark of an educated profession, and it is my belief that nurses are mature and capable enough to debate our issues without rancor. This book will not help you pass state boards, prepare you to pass a certifying exam or improve your clinical skills, per se. What it can do, if you are willing to learn and practice the tools presented here, is help you do your work better and easier, with confidence born of knowledge and the high regard for yourself and your work that you deserve. You will be able to care for your patients, teach your students, interact with superiors, subordinates and coworkers, and contribute to your profession more fully and in concert with your own abilities. ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK The book is organized into three parts. Part I, Understanding Influence, covers the basics of power and influence, including how influence works, how to understand and use your power and your image, how to make your interactions more effective, and how you can use politics to be more influential. Part II, Using Influence, deals with specific strategies to help you become influential, including how to achieve your goals, build a network, become a skilled negotiator, work with others to accomplish goals, and how to deal with difficult people and problems. Part III, Putting Influence to Work, encompasses perfecting your newly acquired skills, telling others about nursing, managing your career, and how to prepare your successors and leave your legacy. Appendices include the ten little known secrets of success and additional resources. Some content you already know and often use. Other content may be new to you, or you may have wondered how some people seem to be more effective in getting their ideas implemented. If so, this book's for you. I have often thought that the world of work is somehow not real life. Real life consisted of friends and families, work and play, good times and bad. That, I know now, is both true and false. Work consists of life and relationships, but it is not all of life. It is a part of our lives and one that plays a large part in our daily existence and in the way we see ourselves now and into the future. Work is important, but not the only important, aspect of ourselves. In work, as in life, we are always becoming. We are never finished growing, developing and changing. So it is in becoming influential. But know one thing: You are becoming the best that you can be. Good luck! Eleanor J. Sull

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