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This is part of a monthly series about side gigs—nurses with interesting side jobs or hobbies. This month, we spotlight a children’s book author.
When Scharmaine Lawson, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, was looking around to find children’s books that both talked about the role of Advanced Practice Nurses and included children from various cultures, she was disappointed.
She couldn’t find any.
So Lawson took charge and decided to write and publish some of her own. In 2015, the first book in her series of Nola the Nurse books was published under the publishing company she established, A DrNurse Publishing House.
To date, Lawson has published 17 books, for children ages 4 to 8, with 15 of them being about Nola.
“I felt it was important to show the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse. I felt like our children needed to see what these frontline professionals do and be able to at least pronounce their titles,” Lawson explains. “It was equally important for me to create culturally sensitive literary works for the new generation of future health care professionals.”
Lawson admits that she never had a desire to be an author. In fact, she was actually searching for books for her newborn daughter that talked about Mommy’s work and had characters that looked like her. But when she realized that there weren’t any books of that kind for an older age group, she knew she needed to step up.
“Our books are the only children’s books that introduce children to the world of Advanced Practice Nursing, foster cultural sensitivity, and provide authentic cultural recipes to the reader at the end of each story. Nola learns about a new culture in each story, and they eat a special meal from that featured culture at the end of every story,” says Lawson.
Currently, she is finishing up the “Germ Series.” Lawson explains that the series talks about all the germs around us, including the coronavirus. “It’s a new format, and I’m excited about it,” she says.
Lawson admits that she’s always writing and publishes a new title every quarter. “We are constantly expanding the brand and looking to add animation in the near future,” she says. “Children need more options for careers, and they need this information early. The sooner, the better.”