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Other Resources: Professional Development

The Professional Nanny

The Professional Nanny

Monica M. Bassett, RN

Reviewed by Kathleen Webb
November 2000

There are many books written about nanny employment from the perspective of the family retaining a nanny in their own home. Few authors address the American nanny career from the nanny perspective as educator Monica Bassett does in "The Professional Nanny."

Ms. Bassett begins with a very readable discussion of the evolution of today's American child rearing practices, including childcare. The background history is fascinating. Working from the framework of this historical perspective, Ms. Bassett explains the late 20th Century re-emergence of the 'nanny' caregiver and the supporting training and referral programs and businesses.

History lessons alone would not lead me to recommend this book. What is invaluable is the frank treatment of nanny professionalism, and what it means to truly be a nanny. The author does not see the nanny as a child custodian, a glorified baby-sitter. Rather, the nanny is encouraged to be a childcare professional. The physical, emotional and intellectual well being of the children in their care depends on this. "The Professional Nanny" presents the material in a very 'how-to' approach, one that is easily followed by caregivers interested in developing themselves as childcare professionals.

Ms. Bassett spends considerable time presenting the unique employment dynamics that exist between a nanny and her employers. First time nannies should take the time to read through this, as it will help the nanny avoid many common career pitfalls and dispel many of the myths of the glamour of the nanny career. The need to maintain professional detachment and the importance of professional ethics, confidentiality and child advocacy are all addressed early on. The author then goes on to describe the unique workplace of the nanny, the private home, and offers invaluable advice to the nanny about parent:nanny communications and the importance of a nanny log.

Other nuts and bolts topics include:

  • The Nanny Work Agreement
  • Insurance and Nanny Payroll Taxes
  • Applying for work and the interview
  • Negotiation of a work agreement
  • Nanny orientation and relocation
  • Time management and nanny:parent communications
  • Personal health and avoiding burnout
  • Leaving a job

The Professional Nanny was published in 1998. While there is an exhaustive index of nanny resources, I do note that many of the references are dated and reference to web-based resources is nonexistent.

Ms. Bassett is to be commended on such a thorough treatment of the subject matter, and her focus on the important issues from the nanny's perspective.

The Professional Nanny, Monica M. Bassett, Delmar Publishers, Albany NY, 1998.


Kathleen Webb is the President of HomeWork Solutions, Inc. Her firm provides nanny payroll and tax services nationwide. HomeWork Solutions was instrumental in the development of and, employment referral resources for the nanny community and the families that employ nannies.