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Book club: your reviews

Fundamentals of Medical-Surgical Nursing A Systems Approach

22 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Fundamentals of Medical-Surgical Nursing A Systems Approach

Edited by: Anne-Marie Brady, Catherine McCabe and Margaret McCann

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Reviewer: Katherine Potts, cardiac specialist nurse, North Bristol NHS Trust

 

What was it like?

This book is a text on the fundaments of medical-surglcal nursing. The book is edited by three people with each chapter written by individuals with a credible clinical and academic background. It is set out in two parts with the first part looking at the common principles of medical-surgical nursing and the second part focusing on acute medical and surgical nursing. Part one is made up of 10 chapters that cover areas such as assessment, IV therapy, drug administration, end of life care and infection prevention and control. Part two is made up of 12 chapters taking a systems based approach including all areas of medical and surgical nursing such as nursing care of the skin, respiratory system, circulatory system, neurological system and haematological disorders. The chapters are structured in a logical, clear manner with a contents section, identified learning outcomes, introduction, further reading section and reference list.

 What were the highlights? 

The book is also available in e-book format and comes with access to the companion website. The companion website provides additional resources including multiple choice questions, reflective questions, case studies and links to additional resources. The chapters in part 2 of the book include anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, assessment, diagnostic tests, and common conditions that may be encountered. For these common conditions clinical, medical and nursing management is discussed. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is clear and well written utilising up to date references and material. The objectives for each chapter are set out clearly with ample opportunities to check knowledge and understanding with the reflective questions, multiple choice questions and case studies through the online resource centre on the companion website. The illustrations used throughout the text are appropriate and add to the value of the written text. The format of each chapter makes the information easily accessible and allows the reader to dip in and out sections of the text with ease if looking for  specific information.

Who should read it?

This is book is aimed at pre-registration nursing students and other healthcare students but would also be appropriate for training or qualified assistant practitioners. It would also be useful to newly qualified nurses working in medical or surgical areas.

 

Fundamentals of Medical-Surgical Nursing A Systems Approach

Passing Calculations Tests for Nursing Students

18 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Passing Calculations Tests for Nursing Students

Authors: Susan Starking and Larry Krause

Publisher: Sage Publishing

Reviewer: Jade Day, student nurse at Anglia Ruskin Chelmsford

What was it like:

This lightweight and easy to read book is another great one from Sage. It covers everything you need to know to successfully do drug calculations. It starts out with a test of your basic knowledge, then the first few chapters cover teaching skills you need to build up to drug calculations. With activities throughout to reinforce learning and summaries at the end of each chapter, it covers a lot of bases to make you take information in properly. There are also parts specifically related to the mental health and child branches of nursing.

 What were the highlights? 

There is a lot about this book that is great, including the companion website with extra activities, and the useful website section they out at the end of each chapter for you to further your learning. The examples and sample charts like the fluid balance chart really help you to get a feel of what it’s like to do this in the workplace. I really like the exam skills and revision tips section, as well as the little cut out and keep page with need to know calculation information.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I can’t honestly say that there’s anything wrong with this book! The only thing I could think to change is that maybe a little bit of colour could be included to break up the black and white of the text.

Who should read it?

Definitely nursing students of any branch, potential applicants for nursing, and anyone who has graduated that wants to brush up on their drug calculations skills.

Passing Calculations Tests for Nursing Students

Marrow of Tragedy. The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

11 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Marrow of Tragedy; The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

Author: Margaret Humphreys

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press

Reviewer: Paul Watson, head of child development and PSHE, Marshland High School

What was it like?

This book by Margaret Humphries details how, in her opinion the Civil War was the greatest health disaster the United States has ever experienced, killing more than a million Americans and leaving many others invalided or grieving. She clearly and interestingly details for the reader, how Union and Confederate governments scrambled to provide doctoring and nursing, supplies, and shelter for those felled by warfare or disease, demonstrating that both sides were poorly prepared to care for wounded and sick soldiers as the war began.

The book is interesting, telling the stories to readers of how, during the war soldiers suffered from measles, dysentery, and pneumonia and needed both preventive and curative food and medicine. It is poignant to hear how family members—especially women—and governments mounted organised support efforts, while army doctors learned to standardise medical thought and practice.

What were the highlights? 

I found the book interesting and informative, enjoying the fact that there was no glamorisation of war, or bias for either side. The focus of the book was on the care given to troops, nursing styles and the advancement of women’s roles and responsibility. It was interesting to read about the stark contrast in the two sides, with resources in the north helping to return soldiers to battle, while Confederate soldiers suffered hunger and other privations, causing them to heal more slowly, when they healed at all. In telling the stories of soldiers, families, physicians, nurses, and administrators, historian Margaret Humphreys concludes that medical science was not as limited at the beginning of the war as has been portrayed. Medicine and public health clearly advanced during the war—and continued to do so after military hostilities ceased, giving good detailed accounts of why she thinks this could be the case.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a well written book that generally flows well, with interesting facts. There are a few contemporary sketches, drawings and photos, which really enhance the stories and facts that are being told. I did at times however, find that some of the sentence construction and grammar left me having to read the lines a couple of times, to fully get the point. Perhaps this was a slight US to UK translation issue (perhaps it was just me!).   

Who should read it?

Anyone with an interest in US Civil War history would find this interesting, as I am sure anyone else who likes to read for pleasure.

Marrow of Tragedy. The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

The Topic of Cancer

8 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: The Topic of Cancer

Edited by: Jonathan Burke

Publisher: Karnac

Reviewer: Robert Becker, independent lecturer in palliative care

 

What was it like?

The idea came for this book arose from a series of successful seminars on “The Topic of Cancer” and a request for the contributors to develop their talks into a broad based series of chapters. The result is a fascinating multi-authored book, which dares to tread where few others walk – into the raw emotional experience of cancer written about from many different perspectives. In doing so it rightly challenges us to focus our thinking on how we approach and deal with our patients who are dealing the effects of this debilitating disease. It brings together a veritable “who’s who” of experienced and respected professionals into eleven diverse and well written chapters.

What were the highlights?

Its psychoanalytical stance does make some chapters difficult to digest, but for nurses’ chapter three on children and chapter six on the impact of dealing with cancer on the clinical nurse specialist are well worth reading. The latter in particular as it offers an honest and insightful account of the emotional stresses involved in shouldering the emotional burdens inherent with complex family situations: a perspective that is rarely explored and through the use of several carefully crafted vignettes, lends the text a real gravitas.

Equally, Jonathan Wittenberg’s chapter on the more spiritual aspects of the emotions seen when dealing with cancer should be required reading for all health professionals. He writes with raw honesty, humility and wisdom without proselytising and draws the reader in to give a truly evocative insight into the difficult work of the hospital chaplain. Lastly, the concluding chapter on the cancer memoir or “pathography” as it’s become known gives the reader a useful and interesting analysis of this growing medium of self expression. It covers everything from the celebrity book through to teenage blogs and facebook; a really incisive study of this new cultural phenomenon.    

Strengths & weaknesses:

I found the chapters on survivorship and palliative care disappointing in that while their inclusion is important they offered no new insights into the emotional experience beyond what can easily be found in many other books and articles.

But overall, I found this book to be a real smorgasbords of tastes, some bland, some fulfilling and others inspirational as is often the nature of a multi-authored text. I applaud the editors’ initiative in tackling this difficult area and it undoubtedly has a useful place on the shelves of health care libraries. Most nurses, however, will, I feel use only elective chapters for professional interest or reference material in their studies rather than purchase it outright. 

Who should read it?

This book will appeal to a number of health professionals including mental health practitioners who work with cancer, oncological nurses, clinical specialists and those wishing to broaden their insights beyond the bio medical model of care.  

The Topic of Cancer

 

 

 

 

Living with Itch. A Patient’s Guide

4 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Living with Itch. A Patient’s Guide

Authors: Gil Yosipovitch, Shawn G Kwatra

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press,2013

Reviewer: Paul Watson, head of child development, Marshland High School

 

What was it like?

Many people have experienced itch, whether from insect bites or dry skin, but millions of people worldwide have chronic or even intractable itch. This book describes how, just like chronic pain, chronic itch interferes with a person’s ability to function—and even affects quality of life. The book Living with Itchclaims to offer relief, drawing on the authors’ vast knowledge of itch, the suffering it causes, and available treatments, going on to explain about the cascade of physiological events that causes us to experience itch.

What were the highlights? 

A lovely looking book. For those of you who have read some of my other reviews you will not be surprised at my next observation! I LOVE all of the pictures, diagrams and charts. For me this makes the book into a fantastic tool that I can pick up and use without having to think about. I can look at a condition and compare the photographs and descriptions to the patient in front of me. Failing that, I can look at the pictures and if a patient presents with a condition I can recall the stock image from the book (I suppose this is called learning, I do find it easier if done visually).

Strengths & weaknesses:

A great book, with great index that will allow most users to get to an answer that they need. Although I was thrilled by the photographs, I was sometimes disappointed by the pictures themselves as they often did not present the condition as clearly as I would have hoped. Perhaps a sketched diagram to highlight the typical presentation as well as the photograph would have helped even more. For example, the picture of the Scabies on the hand wasn’t distinct and the presence of a burrowing tract could have been highlighted.

Who should read it?

I believe that any new students or practitioners to dermatology would benefit from this book, with possible interest from anyone who has a desire to know about itch or skin conditions.

 

Living with Itch

Oxford Dictionary of Nursing- Sixth Edition

22 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Oxford Dictionary of Nursing- Sixth Edition

Editors: Elizabeth A Martin, Jonathan Law

Publisher: Oxford University Press 2014

Reviewer: Allison Crocker, theatre practitioner, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

What was it like?

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursing is a comprehensive and easy access guide to common medical terms, allowing members of the profession to understand and competently deal with rare and specific conditions. I would recommend this guide to nurse who has recently qualified to help correlate knowledge acquired during the degree with real conditions and symptoms once beginning practice, though it would be useful to nurses who are further into their career due to the useful inclusion of brief descriptions of commonly used drugs, which would be useful in a day to day hospital environment. This book effectively links words that relate and correlate with each other, meaning that searching for relevant topics is done at ease.

What were the highlights? 

The inclusion of ethical points of concern at the back of the dictionary such as religious and racial differences in population, and standard calculations for measurements such as drugs and BMI.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strength would e the effective links between relevant topics to decrease time spent searching for relevant drugs and relevant symptoms.

As for the weaknesses NMC are currently rewriting their standards, and this section will therefore be out of date in the coming months.

Who should read it?

This book would prove useful as a reference resource to both the pre- registration nurse or operating department student as well as the newly qualified practitioner.

Oxford Dictionary of Nursing- Sixth Edition

Just One of the Kids: Raising a resilient family when one of your children has a physical disability

21 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Just One of the Kids: Raising a resilient family when one of your children has a physical disability

Authors: Kay Harris Kriegsman and Sara Palmer

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Emma Connolly, children’s and young peoples student nurse, University of Salford

What was it like?

To begin with, this book explores different families that have children who have a physical disability from finding out the news to bringing their child home. From a student nurse’s perspective one major advantage of this book is that personal and family scenarios are continuously used throughout the book. In addition, not only does the book look at a parent’s perspective but it also considers a wider family perspective such as siblings and grandparents. Another advantage of this book is that it gives the reader tips throughout each chapter such as storing the child’s medical records within a safe place for future reference. Furthermore at the back of this book there is a handy resources list that the reader can refer to for further help and assistance with regards to raising a child with a physical disability.

What were the highlights? 

One major highlight of this book is how each chapter of the book is personal to a different family or set of individuals. The book engages well with the reader as it can be quite personal at times especially with the use of names and quotations. As mentioned within the title of the book, parents may be the largest audience for this book and with the book being written on such a personal level appropriate language has been used instead of clinical jargon. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

From first glance at this book the cover is bright and vibrant, which immediately attracts and intrigues the reader. There is a clear and concise content’s page, with legible text style and sizing. However one weakness throughout this book is the lack of images and detailed charts that may entice the reader by providing visual illustrations as well as relevant literature.

Who should read it?

This book is ideal for any parents or carers who are caring for children with physical disabilities. In addition many healthcare professionals such as student and registered nurses may also find this book beneficial to professional practice as their knowledge and competence may increase when working with patients and their families. It would be an ideal learning resource to have within a ward or community setting as the book is easy to read with relevant supporting literature.

  

Just One of the Kids

Research for Advanced Practice Nurses. From Evidence to Practice

18 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Research for Advanced Practice Nurses. From Evidence to Practice (2nd Ed)

Editors: Magdalena A Mateo and Marquis D Foreman

Publisher: Springer Publishing Company

Reviewer: Kim Shrieves. BSc (hons) child health nursing. RN (Child). Band 6 paediatric research nurse

What was it like?

This textbook references practical ways that nurses can incorporate evidence-based practice (EBP) into their clinical work. Teaching how to appraise research articles, find, assess and evaluate the literature, develop a working knowledge of research methods to better assess the data and use it to assist informed decision making to improve patient care. It is presented in four sections. Part one: Evidence-Based Practice gives an overview of EBP: it’s history, terminology, models, types of evidence and keys ways of finding evidence. Part two: Building Blocks for Evidence starts by appraising a single research article from the reviewers perspective presenting the research process with a focus on supporting evidence for practice. Part three: Using Available Evidence looks at appraising evidence (systematic reviews, meta-analysis and practice guidelines) from various sources such as professional organisations and government websites. Programme evaluation offers an opportunity for use of evidence. Considerations when planning and implementing EBP activities are also presented. Part four: Evaluating the Impact of EBP and Communicating Results looks at techniques for presenting ideas, writing protocols and reporting outcomes. Cost, outcomes and ethical aspects of EBP are also discussed.

What were the highlights? 

The main highlight is that this reference textbook has a strong focus on the practical application of evidence-based practice with the aim of increasing it’s impact at the point of care. Clinical research examples and insights are presented in an informative way to assist and support the reader in obtaining the knowledge and skills required to appreciate, undertake and evaluate nursing research so as to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Additionally, it includes practical sections on report writing, conference presentation and writing for publication as means of dissemination and discusses how research findings might be used to support nursing practice.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The main drawback of this excellent reference is that it is US so the terminology and models of EBP for example are American and developed based on the US healthcare systems’ experience and research into these issues. Additionally, although you would imagine the UK experience is similar, the underlying premise for the book, which is despite EBP being the expected standard and there being a growing evidence base of high quality research the impact it has at practice level is still lacks consistancy in the US.

In spite of the US focus I would still recommend this book. It is well written and structured systematically and clearly allowing the reader to delve in and out of the chapters as needed and referring you to other relevant chapters as appropriate. Additionally, suggested activities give the opportunity to critically engage with the discussion and further your understanding. Although sometimes (not always) they are only of relevance to practice in US. Finally, this book stimulates further reading by including references, key documents and websites for further focussed reading.

Who should read it?

This book is aimed at graduate students doing graduate courses in nursing research or an interdisciplinary health care. However, it would be of value to all nurse researchers and nurses in clinical settings to fulfil their research role. However, some caution is necessary as it is a US publication.

Research for Advanced Practice Nurses. From Evidence to Practice

Researching Health

17 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Researching Health, second edition

Edited by: Mike Saks and Judith Allsop

Publisher: Sage Publication

Reviewer: Dr Jo H Wilson, healthcare researcher, Newcastle upon Tyne

What was it like?

A comprehensive well-written book covering a wide range of topics, provided by International contributors, covering many aspects of health research spread across five main parts. These parts include the Conduction and Context of researching health across the research process; the range of research approaches including Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods; Contemporary Issues including Governance and Ethics and formal and informal approaches; and The Application of Health Research using mixed methods and multidisciplinary research. The book also has an excellent companion website for both lecturers and students. For lecturers it provides teaching notes and powerpoint slides, which are excellent for lecture preparation. For students, there is an introductory online video, chapter overviews, web links, online readings and study skills.  

What were the highlights? 

The wide range of International Contributors who provide different views, new perspectives and experiences to broaden the health research knowledge base. It provides a good of the different methodologies, research strategies and ways of sharing research outcomes. The chapters on Randomised Controlled Trials and The Use of Economics in Health Research are excellent. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is well referenced, cross-referenced between chapters and there is a good glossary of terms. Each chapter uses figures, tables, boxes, exercises, case studies, recommended further reading and online reading, which is really useful for lecturers and students.  The Companion Website is also an excellent resource to further enhance knowledge and understanding.

Who should read it?

This is an excellent resource for both lecturers and students in healthcare. Those interested in undertaking health research to let them see the guidance and useful help that is available should view it. This book will guide students through the key issues of health research and the different methods and research processes that can be applied to critical and creative studies.

Researching Health

Breast Cancer. Your Treatment Choices

16 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Breast Cancer.Your Treatment Choices

Author: Dr Terry Priestman

Publisher: Sheldon Press

Reviewer: Paul Watson, head of child development, Marshland High School

What was it like?

This book provides the basic information needed to make informed choices about cancer care and is easy to read and understand. There are many great topics covered in this book, including key facts about surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and complementary treatments. There is also advice regarding advanced breast cancer. I was impressed that early on in the book it highlights that men as well as women suffer with breast cancer, with most of the information given in the book pertinent to both genders. I was pleased to see however, that there was information provided that detailed the differences in the gender distinctions when treating and managing breast cancers.

What were the highlights? 

I have not had a vast amount of experience of nursing patients with breast cancer but have vivid memories of those I have looked after. My Grandfather was unfortunate enough to have been through the process of a mastectomy as a result of being diagnosed with breast cancer in his seventies. He continued to live a happy and contented life following this, passing away from old age in his mid eighties.

I would have found this book to have been a great help at that time, and I know he and the rest of the family would have also found benefit in being able to find answers to questions that really no-one wanted to ask out loud, or could even acknowledge needed to be asked.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a well written and presented book that is laid out in an easy to use style. The contents page is clear, with the book only covering 11 chapters that easily allow the reader to see where to go to get the answers that they need. With the support of the index I am sure that any reader could access this book to be able to alleviate any fears or anxieties that they have. I was however, rather surprised at how short the index was and would have expected to have seen more content within it (I can’t give examples though, as I don’t know what I don’t know!).  I am much a visual learner and know that many patients, especially when faced with a potentially life altering event such as breast cancer, struggle to make sense of the vast amounts of paperwork and documentation that they are given. It was for this reason that I was a little disappointed that there were not some more diagrams or pictures of procedures or equipment that patients might encounter. I feel that this might put their mind at ease when encountering them in hospital. It might also allow them to look through the pictures and see things that they have observed and gain understanding of it purpose.

Who should read it?

I believe that any new students or practitioners to oncology would benefit from this book, with possible interest from anyone who has a desire to know about breast cancer, such as the patients or their relatives.

 

Breast Cancer. Your Treatment Choices

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