Monday 10th September 2012
There is a well-known phrase that goes ‘there’s a book in each one of us’. Alison Keen shares how this became a reality for herself and colleague Elaine Lennan.
‘When I began working as a gynaecology clinical nurse specialist, I kept looking for the ideal reference book that told me everything I needed to know – but I had to look things up in a variety of sources. Then one day, many years later, my friend and colleague Elaine Lennan, Consultant Chemotherapy Nurse, suggested that we write a book together about breast and gynaecological cancers.’
‘Elaine had just written her first chapter for a text book. She thought that it would be good to just “have a go” at producing a whole text book.’
‘We began by writing an initial chapter outline, working out our readership and establishing the book’s aims. We then contacted a publishing company, which was enthusiastic about the book and met with us to firm up the plans. They explained the contractual process, and with minor modifications and some helpful guidance, work began.’
The book, titled Women’s Cancers
, includes information about epidemiology, histopathology, staging, genetic predisposition, sexual function, fertility, treatment and management, survivorship, and palliative care.
‘We approached experts in the field, and as we’ve both worked in cancer care for many years, it was fairly easy to find colleagues to contribute. They certainly wouldn’t be doing it for the money at £50 per chapter, but we hoped that they would be tempted by the kudos of having a chapter in a text book, liked us enough to say yes, or be too polite to refuse. Everyone we approached agreed to write.’
‘We produced the chapter outlines, but left each author to develop their own chapters. We were very clear that the emphasis should be about the experience of cancer. Some authors asked patients to provide narrative and Elaine and I also used our privileged clinical roles to obtain commentary. We are extremely pleased and grateful for the patient contributions and feel that these give the book real meaning.’
‘Deadlines were set and eventually a steady trickle of chapters came in. We showed a few sample chapters to the publisher, who gave guidance on formatting and consistency. We then began the task of editing. The process was lengthy, spanning over two years, but we never lost sight of our aim and are thrilled with the finished product.’
‘We would like to thank the authors for their expertise and time, but mostly of course, our thanks go to those affected by cancer whose resolve and determination remains an inspiration.’
, Interim Head of Cancer Nursing.