Making A Difference: An Anthology of Nursing Professional Development Stories

Making a Difference: An Anthology of Nursing Professional Development Stories Foreward by Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, EdD RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAONL, FAAN 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE - that is what most of us want to do in life. 

We don’t want to just wander from one task or organization to another. We want to be able to say we learned something and in turn made a difference for someone else. We often make a difference through stories.

The power of stories is transformative; and sometimes transformation occurs so subtly it is hard to see. As Dr. Maloney says in the preface, this book makes the invisible visible.  Stories don’t merely paint a picture of what something is like, they can transport someone to a new place, a new view of the world, a new way of thinking, or a new way to value an event or a person. Translating the value of those of us in nursing who are engaged in developing others is what is made visible in this anthology. 

Anthology is defined by Merriam-Webster as a collection of selected literary pieces or passages or works of art or music. This collection of stories is a work of art. How we tell others what we do might be confusing or boring. These stories, however, help others see what differences nurses in professional development roles make for others—and themselves. 

Mary Holtschneider starts the stories and instantly connects us with the real meaning of the book when she says her role is “making an emotional connection with the material [referring to the content being taught].” We aren’t remembered for our content; we’re remembered for how we make others feel, and these stories have a lot of good things to share. From Mary’s beginning through to the end of Jennifer Bodine’s story about not keeping everything in Vegas, we learn about the differences these professionals have made. We can easily teach someone a skill, at least relatively speaking. What is more challenging is to help people connect with each other in a way that the skill becomes the secondary element to the richness of the interaction.

Stories are powerful; and if we let them, they will transport us to the place where each of these nursing professional development practitioners were in their stories. We can value the differences they made for others; and we have the potential to reflect on these stories to see what we do in our own practice. 

What have you done that doesn’t appear on the dashboard reports? Who have you nurtured to the point they joined the specialty role? How did you influence someone into sticking with some challenging situation? What impact did you have on someone? Connecting what we know and do to the real meaning of why we do it is the essence of this book.

Stories allow us to pull on the heartstrings in an effort to engage the brain. No, you will not find that in any physiology book, yet we all have experienced learning situations where we wanted to be transported somewhere—anywhere! The content was boring and our minds roamed to things we needed to do that were really important. Juxtapose those scenarios with the stories you read here. Surely our brains must light up as we read some of these stories!  These stories show us what is possible. 

This is not a book to merely pick up, read, and check it off the list of readings. Rather, it is a “coffee-table type book.” It lays around every day, and on days when we need to be reminded of our value or we need inspiration, we reach over to wherever it is, read a passage, and come away being honored to be a nursing professional development practitioner—because we make a difference. What difference will you make?

Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAONL, FAAN

President, The Wise Group
Editor in Chief, The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing
Editor in Chief, Nursing Forum
Professor and Dean Emerita, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing 

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