When reading Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide To Improving Communication and Creating Positive Workplaces by Beth Boynton, RN, MS, I was stunned by how the nursing workplace is fraught with verbal abuse, bullying and a lack of respect for nurses as individuals. I couldn’t help but wonder how this kind of workplace conflict from supervisors, physicians, co-workers and others, translates to the quality of care for patients.

On the bright side, and a very bright side it is, Boynton offers some excellent strategies for effective communication, respectful listening, assertiveness training, setting boundaries and a collaborative approach to problem solving. She asks for behavior change from all sides—the administrators, physicians, supervisors and the nurses themselves.

A key element in Confident Voices is empowering nurses to feel more confident because confidence is a key to creativity and good will toward the workforce as a group. She gives many examples and stories to illustrate her effective theory. A current theme in health care is to empower patients or medical staff to become more invested in either providing or receiving care to increase quality of care, patient safety, patient and medical provider satisfaction and more. Boynton also emphasizes that having a sense of power or control over one’s life is closely tied to motivation. This also stands to reason. Listen up hospital administrators!

Given that nurses work under tremendous pressure in the hospital setting and other health care settings with caring for patients (often too many at a time), responding to demands from all facets of the system all at once, plus keeping up with advances in technology, new treatments and new regulations, they certainly deserve respect and appreciation from not only patients and their families but also from their superiors and co-workers. Boynton shows you how to get it in diplomatic, respectful ways. Changing behavior isn’t easy, but the author outlines her strategies in easy-to-understand steps.

You have to wonder how nurses survive in a pressure-cooker environment. They do because they love caring for patients. But having to put up with what Boynton describes as “nurses who eat their young” combined with the blinking lights, the call bells, the alarms and ringing phones, you have to wonder how they do it. Boynton points out that many do at the expense of their personal needs. She offers strategies to support nurses and empower them to take better care of themselves.

Confident Voices is an invaluable book that offers practical solutions to end toxic workplace environments and replace them with creative and positive environments where nurse professionals can thrive. I’d say this book is sorely needed. I hope every nurse supervisor, hospital CEO, physician and nurse reads it. Highly recommended.  

 To purchase Confident Voices go to Amazon