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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vicki Ann Moss, DNSc, MS, BSN, RN (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: This book discusses secondary stress (burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious post-traumatic stress disorder) and the denial that often accompanies it in health professionals. It provides guidelines to avoid or limit secondary stress and includes ways that health professionals can strengthen their inner lives to provide a buffer to this type of stress.
Purpose: The main goal of this book is to raise the awareness of health professionals to the danger of secondary stress.
Audience: According to the author, "this book is written for psychologically healthy physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals."
Features: This book is relatively short (197 pages in length), which was purposeful since the author believes time is critical for health professionals. He made it brief, to the point, and practical. It consists of an introduction, four chapters and an epilogue. The introduction discusses how health professionals can remain passionate in their work without succumbing to secondary stress. Chapter 1 discusses the factors involved with chronic (burnout and compassion fatigue) and acute (vicarious post-traumatic stress) secondary stress. Chapter 2 provides ways to enhance self-knowledge and self-talk for the health professional. Chapter 3 discusses three core spiritual approaches to enhance the inner life, and Chapter 4 presents guidelines on how to personally design a self-care protocol. The epilogue summarizes things professionals should do to keep the enjoyment and wonder in their everyday practice.
Assessment: The author has a doctorate in psychology and close to 30 years' experience working with health professionals. Each chapter ends with objectives and discusses additional books on the chapter topic. Chapter 2 includes a newly developed "Medical-Nursing Professional Secondary Stress Self-Awareness Questionnaire" that can be self-administered at each phase of a person's career. Each chapter has many tables with helpful practical hints to assess stress and ways to deal with it constructively. This book ends with an extensive 40-page bibliography on the topic of secondary stress. It would be a very valuable resource for any health professional working in today's healthcare arena.