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Book club: your reviews

The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

4 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

Authors: Christopher D Saudek, Richard R Rubin, Thomas W Donner

Publisher: John Hopkins Press

Reviewer: Anne Duell, registered general nurse, Birmingham Community NHS Trust

What was it like?

This is a comprehensive book, which presents in a reader friendly format relevant clinical data relating to the impact of diabetes for those diagnosed with this condition. The authors discuss the psychological, sociological, physical and emotional impacts of diabetes in relation to daily life of an individual with diabetes. 

This book presents up to date information covering initial diagnosis, types of diabetes and various treatment options. The authors go further and explore the impact of genetics along with pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options.

The chapters in this book have been broken down into a reader/user friendly format. It is more than another medical book about diabetes. This edition is an essential guide for individuals who have diabetes or been recently diagnosed. It could be described as a staple part of diabetes understanding and management. It incorporates thoughts and feelings from those who live with diabetes on a daily basis and provides “take home messages” at the conclusion of each chapter, which provides extra support and guidance for the reader to improve their understanding, control and management of their diabetes. This should in turn enable people with diabetes to control their lives instead of diabetes controlling them

What were the highlights? 

The highlights from this book incorporate its user friendly format. The fact that it includes reflective thoughts from those who have diabetes brings the readership of this book to a broader spectrum. As I read through this book one of the highlights and learning points that I benefited from as a registered nurse was the section on living with diabetes and the psychological impact that it may have on both the individual but also for their partner and/or family. It highlights the need for practitioners to have a better understanding of the psychological impact diabetes may have for patients in their care.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is presented in a clear user friendly format with easy to follow diagrams to support the presented facts. It is current and higher relevant in both medical and social fields.

Who should read it?

Since this book incorporates facts from both the medical perspective and that of the individual who has diabetes the potential readership for this book is broad. It should be recommended to the medical and nursing profession since the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise. It could be of benefit to recommend this book to those who work in the social care field as this will aid their understanding of the social and psychological impact of diabetes, especially as their client may also have other comorbidities to content with in their daily lives. For those wanting a better understanding of their own condition and those embarked on the perfect patient programme this book would also be a great resource.

The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual: The Henry Street Model for Nurses (second edition)

3 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual: The Henry Street Model for Nurses (second edition)

Authors: Carolyn M Garcia, Marjorie A Schaffer and Patricia M Schoon

Publisher: SIGMA Theta Tau International

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development and PSHE, Marshland High School.

What was it like?

A great looking text that has a lot of fantastic evidence and work within it. It is however a US text that I believe was written primarily for the US audience. While much of the content is easily transferable to any country and their public health agenda, there are some areas of the text that are specific to US nursing policies or legislation. Bearing in mind there is at least two faculties of the Sigma Theta Tau International Society in the UK it is a shame that there seems to have been no input from them. Having reviewed the text I believe that the policies and procedures that are being referred to are so similar to the NMC that from a working perspective it makes little difference. The problem will be however, that any student or practitioner in the UK will have to double check these against the NMC to be sure that they are in fact practicing as they should be.

What were the highlights? 

Well written with nice, easy to understand examples of good practice. There is lots of opportunity for a student to pick this book up and be able to see how someone else has previously experienced the same as they are now going through. There are not many, but those graphics that are included are nice looking and useful. There are many opportunities for students to learn through the use of testing and questioning as well as good examples throughout the text.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Lots of good strong data is a huge strength, although for the UK market it is a massive weakness that this data is all US-centric. I am sure that the data is useful but is less use to any student looking to use this as an academic tool, without having to go out and find more comparable UK data.

Who should read it?

At £55.86 for the paperback this is a huge price tag to pay for an US text. I am therefore unsure who in the UK would benefit from this text.

Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual

Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Radical New Approach to Quitting Smoking

2 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Radical New Approach to Quitting Smoking

Author: Nicoventures

Publisher: Nicoventures May 2013

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School.

What was it like?

This booklet was a nicely produced professional document that gave lots of details about the harm that smoking causes, and the importance of stopping. As the title suggests it was looking at a new approach to quitting smoking, although there was no real data or evidence that I could see that suggested that the booklet was offering any suggestions that were not already being used.

What were the highlights? 

This is a nice looking document that has some useful smoking facts in it that can be used to demonstrate to interested parties why not to smoke.

Strengths & weaknesses:

While it is well presented and full of some interesting data I am not convinced that it is able to truly demonstrate the “Radical new approach to quitting smoking”. When I saw the publication it struck me as being a promotional publication wrapped up in a professional cover. As I read it it did not produce any new evidence or data that gave me any idea of what the new approach to quitting was. It was not until I read the chapter “The Future” I was able to put two and two together. It then became apparent that this document was put together to promote the use of inhaled Nicotine Replacement Therapies (I assume e-cigarettes). The assertion throughout the document that it is the smoke in cigarettes that causes cancer and not the nicotine was also a slight clue! If this is the case how can the figures below be explained?

 US Cancer Smokeless Tobacco Statistics :

Cancer statistics that directly correlate with chewing and smokeless tobacco use.

• Total number of cancer causing carcinogens found in smokeless tobacco:28
• Total percent of the increased risk of oral cancer if you use smokeless tobacco:50%
• Your chances of getting Leukplakia if you use chewing tobacco:40%-60%
• If you have Leukplakia, the chances that it will turn into cancer:2%-6%

 

Who should read it?

It has a use to anyone who wants to know some basic smoking facts. Other than that I am unsure who would read it.

 

Dementia: The one stop guide

24 February, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Dementia: The one stop guide.

Author: June Andrews

Publisher: Profile Books

Reviewer: Liz Lees, PhD Student, NIHR, University of Manchester and Consultant Nurse, The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham.

What was it like?

This book has 15 chapters in total loaded with practical examples of how to manage the issues surrounding daily life with dementia. I found the book uplifting with a positive emphasis throughout. The book rockets you into the world of people with dementia and those who care for them. It is well written providing clarity on issues in bite sized chunks.

Even with considerable experience of the topic I gained a new perspective about things I had previously considered “learnt”. In many ways this issues faced and ideas countered within this book are reminiscent of with living my Dad, who since a very young age was profoundly deaf, the strategies are undoubtedly similar.

What were the highlights? 

Chapter 9; entitled “the dementia friendly home” and chapter 5, “what are friends for?” with their focus on inclusion, empowerment and personhood - all examples being placed of being in the context of how life is, rather than constructions or stories. An elderly relative of mine caring for his wife with dementia described this book “as clear and very helpful”.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I cannot find anything that I don’t like about this book. I particularly liked the focus on inclusion of the demented person in activities of daily living and of continuing to live with a quality of life not exist. It will make readers take a step back to consider their usual way of doing things and whether a new approach might work better.

Who should read it?

This book is not technical or greatly scientific or academic. It would most benefit anyone a person with a diagnosis of dementia and those intending to work closely with a person with dementia and their family/carers. It is not a book about “how to nurse” or “how to fix problems”. It is about how to understand and work closely with a person with dementia. The sense they will get will be of reality – of being in a demented persons world. Certainly students of social work, nursing, health care assistants and friends or family in a caring role will benefit too. 

Dementia: The one stop guide

Living with Drugs, seventh edition

12 February, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Living with Drugs, seventh edition

Author: Michael Gossop

Publisher: Ashgate

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School

What was it like?

Living with Drugs claims to be a well-respected and indispensable reference tool, I am sure that this is truly the case for some who pick it up to use. However, I found it rather too wordy to consider it to be a reference tool, but rather a history lesson into the subject of drugs. While I found it well written with great content, I did not find it easy to use as a “tool”. I wasn’t able to just pick it up and thumb to a certain page to give a specific answer to a given question. Even though most of the answers were available, I found myself having to digest vast amounts of text to get to many of the answers I sought. This edition has been updated to take account of new laws and practices that have come in to place since the previous edition, published in 2007, and is written in an accessible style, providing a balanced perspective. It is a text that I will use when teaching in class, but only in support of my lessons. It will however, be a great book to have for any professional who is working in this field, needing answers to questions.

What were the highlights? 

The book is full of great detail on many different aspects of “drugs”, which I am sure will go a long way to assisting many practitioners in their duties.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book describes itself as a “reference tool”, although I struggle to see how this is actually the case. The contents page is only twelve items long and the “list of tables” only has two tables listed in it! Using the index provides quite a good list of items to look up. This then presents the issue that the answer to the question that you are looking for, might be embedded in a chapter of text that does not directly answer the question you have.

I do believe that this is a informative, well written book that will be of use to specialists with an interest in “drugs”. It is not however a reference tool to be used by a practitioner needing an answer to a question to give to a client or student.

Who should read it?

This book is suitable for non-specialists in training, such as student nurses and social workers and for anyone with an interest in this complex, ever-present and emotive issue; those who want to improve their own knowledge over time, not those who need to disseminate new knowledge quickly and simply.

 

Living with drugs

 

Dementia and the family

26 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Dementia and the family

Author: Rachel Johnstone

Publisher: Southgate Publishers

Reviewer: Carol Cooper, senior lecturer in mental health nursing, Sheffield Hallam University

What was it like?

This thin book (which is reflected in reasonable price) is aimed at families of people with dementia and in particular the children in these families. It begins with an overview of how to talk to children about this difficult topic and moves on to outline practical advice on how to care for a loved one with dementia. It is designed to be used alongside a website that has been developed to also address this topic. It also goes on to give a list of 160 activities that are suggested for engaging the person with dementia and other members of the family (or carers). It leaves the reader with the sense that despite the problems that invariably dementia brings there are positive ways of engaging with people with memory problems and that this can be fun, leaving happy memories for those who care.

What was it like?

Clear and simple language with practical advice for carers of people with dementia regarding activities. I particularly liked the ideas for how to broach this subject with children.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A simple easy to read book with clear outlines of 160 simple activities for people with dementia. It could be a bit frustrating if you don’t have access to the internet though as in the initial part of the book it frequently directs you to sections of the website to enhance your learning.

Who should read it?

This is a book that is aimed at families although the author does suggest that other carers, either paid or unpaid might also benefit from the ideas contained within it and I have no reason to disagree with this.

 

Dementia and the family

 

Pride and Joy

20 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Pride and Joy

Author: Alex Knight

Publisher: Linney Group Ltd

Reviewer: Jane Brown, Patient Safety Advisor Worcester Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

Alex Knight offers solutions to a ailing healthcare environment. This is a book that actually offers the reader practical and real solutions. Post Francis report there is still so much to learn and gain within the NHS. This is not a text book of how to do, but a novel of how the late Eli Goldratt’s theory of management can be applied to the healthcare setting.

What were the highlights?

I found I could not put this book down – was not expecting this, I thought this would be hard to endure. Just how wrong I was. It give the reader a chance to stop and think, and that instead of throwing money at an ailing organisation there are real changes that can be made. All is not lost. I think in the thick of things you cannot always see the wood for the trees. This book gives the inspiration and solutions to make a difference.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book are both practical and enjoyable at the same time. It is realistic and focuses on behaviours as well that we can all identity with. Instead of feeling ground down by system, the book gives a sense of real hope. Within the healthcare environment there are real challenges such as a population living longer but with more complex issues and conditions and so many targets you do not know where to turn to next.

The author has written this book in the style of Goldratt’s “The Goal” as a business novel but applies this so well to healthcare in the 21st century.

The author does not dismiss staff as a problem but acknowledges staff are trying so hard. They are caring, but systems do not allow them to carry out their jobs as well as they would like. Somewhere along the way we forget the reason we are in the healthcare setting is for patients.

Who should read it?

All staff from students to chief executives who work in the healthcare setting must make a point to read this book- there is hope if we pull together.

 

Pride and Joy

Be in Balance

12 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Be in Balance

Author: Angela Bradshaw

Publisher: Balloon View Limited

Reviewer: Anne Duell, registered general nurse, Birmingham Community NHS Trust

What was it like?

Bradshaw’s book provides her readers with a down to earth introduction to the Alexander Technique and incorporates a practical guide to how the reader can employ the basics of this technique into their daily lives to improve their posture and subsequently benefit their overall function, health and wellbeing.  The book is far from being a heavy academic read but is put together in a manner, which facilitates a broad readership group. As an author, Bradshaw approaches this book from a personal perspective, as someone who has experienced how poor posture can impact on life and living. What this book does is provide its readers with the tools to consider the options and choices that are available to enable them to regain some form of control in their lives and where they can also move forward and consider delving further into the Alexander technique. Further guidance is also provided in relation to the support that is available through accessing the alexander technique website along with the authors own website.

What were the highlights? 

The highlight in this book is its use of practical activities and how the readers are encouraged to change posture and employ exercises, which may challenge current perceptions and practices. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book come through how the author has structured and designed her book to incorporate a broad readership. It is presented in a light humorous style that engages the reader. There are no obvious weaknesses to this book. In general it is a positive insightful book.

Who should read it?

This book should be read by anyone who experiences pain or discomfort in their daily lives as a result of repetitive activity or injury.  As this book is a self-help book it should be considered by health care professionals who encounter this group of patients. 

 

Be in Balance

Student Survival Skills. Study Skills for Nurses

16 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Student Survival Skills, Study Skills for Nurses

Authors:  Boyd,C

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear, 3rd year adult student nurse

What was it like?

Study Skills for Nurses is a fantastic concise little book, which covers a good broad range of care skills within the hospital and community settings, such as bed bathing and more unseen interventions such as stoma care.

What were the highlights? 

This book gives a sharp snapshot in each chapter, starting with the learning outcomes and what is hoped the reader will have achieved by reading and understanding each chapters content. It is a brightly coloured and illustrated book with up to date tables, diagrams and algorithms, enabling the student nurse in any trust to understand. At various intervals throughout the book it prompts the reader to test their knowledge, which I really found this aspect useful. It enabled me to question the content and put it into practice as well.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There is a full appendix, which allows the reader to look up any common forms used in practice such as weight conversation charts and I also found that the author refers to other publications such as the Royal Marsden, allowing you to expand your knowledge further. This book enabled me to look up something quickly, giving me the answer to my questions, and then if I wanted to go any deeper I had references to other texts that I could utilise. It’s a bright book, with a wipe able cover so you can pop it into your bag, and use it without worry on placement, wipe it over and it’s at your fingertips any time of day or placement.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book and also this series of books to student nurses at any point of their training. I have found it an invaluable book which does not blind you with too much information in one go, a pit stop book well worth investing in. I keep a copy in my bag when ever I am on placement.

Student Survival Skills. Care Skills for Nurses

 

Get inside your Doctor’s Head

10 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Get inside your Doctor’s Head

Author: Phillip K Peterson

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School

What was it like?

Get Inside Your Doctor’s Head provides advice about such questions as when to seek treatment, when to get another opinion, and when to let time take its course. The book offers Ten Rules that you should know when you are considering your doctor’s recommendations. I am pleased to see however, that Dr Peterson is clear that the Ten Rules of Internal Medicine have occasional exceptions. He makes it clear to the reader that when evidence suggests that there is an exception, the relevant rule should be broken. With this in mind though, it is easy to follow the Ten Rules to make decisions in the increasingly complicated medical world when you need guidance about health matters, for yourself, your loved ones, and in many cases the patients that you are entrusted with.

This book is well written and easy to pick up and understand. It is obviously written for the lay person but is definitely not patronising or demeaning, delivering an easy read for professionals and lay persons alike. The ten rules make up the ten chapters and result in an easy to use, interesting and informative read.

What were the highlights? 

The ten rules are such a simple concept that any practitioner will benefit from keeping them in mind. A fab idea well presented!

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is a nice pocket sized companion that if not carried with a practitioner or patient/carer should remain to hand, on a desk or book shelf. Written in simple but professional terms this book is quick reference guide to making sensible assessments and successful outcomes.

Who should read it?

Everyone; This is such a quick easy read that I would be so bold as to suggest, that any practitioner that has direct contact with patients should be reviewing the Ten Rules. If caring for the patient it will give you confidence in the care you are being asked to deliver, and if prescribing the care it will allow you to support your decisions and might prevent a mistake, causing any unnecessary problems.

 

Get inside your Doctors Head

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