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Book club: your reviews

Medikidz – Explain Breast Cancer

27 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Medikidz – Explain Breast Cancer

Authos: Dr Kim Chilman-Blair, Dr Columba Quigley and Shawn deLoache

Publisher: Medikidz Ltd

Reviewer: Debbie Quinn QN, MS specialist nurse/team lead for specialist nursing. Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS foundation Trust

What was it like?

A child’s guide to breast cancer explaining the journey from health breast, to diagnosis and treatment. It is one of a serious of books produced especially for children and reviewed by them.

What were the highlights? 

The book is set out like a comic, with a team of superheros that live in Mediland and walk the reader through the human body, in this case the breast, explaining all children need to know in relation to health and illness.  My son of 13 fully understood the concept and was able to relate to the information.  He felt he understood things really well after reading it. I felt it was well designed and would easily feed the inquisitive mind of a child easily without worrying them.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A good resource to assist both healthcare workers and parents, to explain what is happening and why, if the family is affected by breast cancer. It clearly works through the areas that children would need answers to. It is peer reviewed and reviewed by children (ages ranged from 8-12) and this adds to the value of the book. The art work will also appeal to the age group.

Who should read it?

Professionals working within breast cancer so that they can use it as a resource to refer children to. I would suggest children in the age range of 7-14 would most appreciate this book.

Medikidz – Explain Breast Cancer


Medikidz - Explain Parkinson's Disease

24 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Medikidz - Explain Parkinson’s Disease

Authors: Dr Kim Chilman-Blair & Shawn deLoache

Publisher: Medikidz

Reviewer: Marie Stevens, geriatric medicine staff nurse

What is it like?

This attractive 30 page book presents itself in the form of a comic. It is intended to illustrate Parkinson’s Disease in a uncomplicated way, which children can grasp. The authors do this by telling the story of a young girl called Alys. Alys is close to her inventor granddad who has Parkinson’s Disease the early part of the story shows Alys getting upset when her granddad’s hands shake and drops her invention.

The Medkidz are superhero type characters who take Alys to their word. Alys goes into the brain and explores the normal functions and then a brain without dopamine. 

Alys then learns the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and is able to reminisce on these symptoms her granddad has.

What are the highlights?

Although Parkinson’s is serious, the story does bring in some humor and is written well to attract a child’s attention. There is lots of characters and colorful pictures, which complement the story wonderfully.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Parkinsons is explained in few simple steps. However, this is only a brief explanation and some children may ask more questions or may require further resources. It is not to replace the expertise of a professional who can help families.

Who should read it?

Families may welcome this book especially if parents/grandparents are effected with Parkinson’s disease and find it hard to explain. Community nurses/ care assistants may find it useful to pass on to families as a first stepping stone to help them.

Medkidz - Explain Parkinson's Disease


Veiled Warriors: Allied Nurses of the First World War

23 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Veiled Warriors: Allied Nurses of the First World War       

Author: Christine E Hallett

Publisher:  Oxford University Press

Reviewer:  Jane Brocksom, urology & continence nurse specialist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

What was it like?

Written by a Professor and the Director of the UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery and Chair of the UK Association for the History of Nursing, it doesn’t read like an educational or academic manuscript. This book is not a dry read. Published in such a timely and poignant year it’s a readable, logical and significant. Professor Hallett has published extensively on World War One Nursing and you can tell she knows her subject. It is so comprehensive, plus the bibliography is exhaustive in offering additional reading material. Included are historical writings and first hand accounts, sometimes these can distract when reading but in this book they add to the books logical format, they make the book as brilliant as it is.

What were the highlights? 

For me, who has an interest in History of Nursing, I was submersed by page one, in the introduction an apology is mage for the “angliocentric” perspective but this doesn’t detract it adds an extra interest. The most interesting aspects were the VAD’s v trained nursing perspectives, the conflict whether myth or reality is discussed here at length and really makes you reflect on your perceptions of Nursing in the early 1900’s. In the Introduction Professor Hallett does much to set the scene of the period and lays down a lot of the history of this era – professional Nursing v Voluntary Aid Detachment – heroine, courageous or romantic? Another aspect carried throughout the book is the nature of published books from the period recalling first hand accounts, these are books published by VAD’s and I think by the end of the book you can understand this far better. An excellent argument is presented here about writing and voicing from the western front, you begin to understand why Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth was read so greatly and how trained nurses didn’t publish their accounts but used nursing journals to convey messages. Yes there was NT (and BJN) in 1914! Another huge aspect of the book is the understanding of how the injured were ferried from the front line through the “lines of evacuation” in itself a feat of organisation, due to the complex injuries and numbers of men involved.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I can find no weaknesses, I have only positives. The biggest compliment I can pay to this book is its readable and fascinating, published timely and is relevant to today’s struggles of being a trained nurse. 100years on we continue to struggle with professionalism, registration and failing to voice and address our significance in healthcare.The nurses within the war zones were practising within specialities and working closely with all many of HCP’s long before it became the norm, trained nurses were taking on extended roles and pushing boundaries, yet this was hidden from view “writing about oneself was considered taboo” and was possibly toned down to protect family back home. An interesting comment is made in the introduction regarding the number of first hand accounts, which sit in archives and remain unread, sadly. The book contains many pictures of nurses looking professional and taken reflecting work rather than “posed” or reflecting “patriotic femininity”. The index is exhaustive as the book is broken down into sub chapters and all chapters end with a conclusion.

Who should read it?

This book adds vastly to our body of knowledge, research and understanding of historical nursing, First World War nursing either from nurses within the UK or abroad. It would make a wonderful addition to all nurses’ bookcase – with a ripped dustcover, broken spine and well thumbed. At least mine is!

Veiled Warriors


Pain. A political History

21 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Pain A political History

Author: Keith Wailoo

Publisher: John Hopkins University Press

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

What was it like?

This hard back book provides the readers with an interesting insight into the debate surrounding pain from both a liberal and conservative perspective. The book focuses on the period of time post World Ward II. Wailoo presents us with pain from a governmental perspective in conjunction with insight into how pain interjects into the physiologial and cultural elements in life and society. It raises insights into the ethics relating to moral, societal and political perspectives. While the perspective focuses on the American congress and welfare systems, this book is a compelling read and an insightful read. 

What were the highlights? 

The highlight of this book comes in how the author constructs the material presented into an interesting and engaging read. At the same time it is refreshing to read about the need to find a middle ground when discussing pain in relation to the political forum.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strength of this book is its relevance to the US welfare and political reforms. At the sane time this is its weakness in relation to the wider readership.  However it could raise interesting discussion points when considering how different countries political and health reformers consider and debate the issues surrounding pain assessment and management.

Who should read it?

This book would be of insight to anyone with an interest in the historical management of pain. Others who may be studying pain management could find this an interesting read also. Pharmacologists and prescribers may also enjoy this book especially when considering the sections discussing the drug Oxycontin and the drug industry.

Pain. A political History

The Lupus Encyclopedia

9 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: The Lupus Encyclopedia

Author: Donald Thomas Jr

Publisher: John Hopkins Press

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

What was it like?

As indicated in the title, this book is quite a substantial read. It is an everything you need to know guide to Lupus. An initial introduction to what lupus is and an overview to other systemic autoimmune diseases is provided. The author continues to present the causes of lupus and the variety of urine and blood tests and their importance.

A further section presents us with an indepth insight into the how lupus directly impacts each of the body systems. Since lupus is know to predominantly affect women, there is a prevalent section relating to its impact on pregnancy and the reproductive system that is worth a read when supporting women of child bearing age.

The author also provides suggested ways/sections of the book to read dependant upon the desired outcomes of the reader, whether it is to have a basic working knowledge or to learn as much as one can about lupus.

What were the highlights? 

The area that clearly stands out in this book is the preface. A much overlooked area in many books, however we are presented with a clear guide of what  people diagnoses with lupus need to know to support them in maintaining optimal levels of health.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book  is its structure and usability as a reference resource. The only weakness, being such a comprehensive resource, is that it is larger book and could be a bit weightly for some people to hold so a reading table is advised.

Who should read it?

This book should be read by anyone who provides care for people diagnosed with lupus or work with patients groups where a diagnosis may occur.  Also for individuals and their families this is a great resource to have access to, which should facilitate a better understanding of their condition.

The Lupus

Working with bereavement. A practical guide

8 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Working with bereavement. A practical guide.

Author: Janet Wilson

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Reviewer: Helen Reeves, clinical nurse manager, St Giles Walsall Hospice

What was it like?

Working with bereavement is a practical guide that explores key models and theories, professional issues and communication skills. The author looks at differ types and degrees of bereavement ranging from suicide to the death of a child. It links theory to practice and aims to address how to address the different types of bereavement.

What were the highlights? 

Working with bereavement addresses what is often viewed to be a difficult subject and makes the topic manageable and interesting. For myself I particularly liked chapter four as this looked at culture, faith and spirituality. This is often a subject that causes confusion by the different terminology. The author provides clarity by what is meant by each term and also looks at the way different religious groups often experience bereavement and the different rituals that may take place. This is a hugely beneficial resource for health care professionals as it provides them with the basics of each religion  and the input that they would require from professionals.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Working with bereavement is an excellent practical guide that covers a vast array of subject matter from theories of bereavement, working with bereavement to hard to talk about deaths. It’s an easy to read book that has a clear contents page enabling the reader to flick to the content that they require. Throughout the book there are opportunities for the reader to reflect on practice and provide the reader with questions that they can consider and also short scenarios that enable the reader to apply what they have learnt throughout the book. This helps embed the theory from book and encourages participation and active involvement from the reader.

Who should read it?

This book would be beneficial for any health professional. At some point during any of our careers we will probably look after someone who has recently been bereaved or who is experiencing loss and grief, making this book an essential read. It would also be beneficial for personal use for help with dealing with bereaved friends or family.

Working with bereavement

Understanding Ethics for Nursing Students

6 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Understanding Ethics for Nursing Students

Author: Peter Ellis

Publisher: Sage Publishing

Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcester acute NHS Trust 

What was it like?

This was an easy book to utilise. The author sets the nursing student out on the right path straight away to appreciate that ethics are paramount for the work they carry out with patients and to take them through their whole career in nursing. This is a practical guide, which the reader can use within both the academic and workplace setting.

The NMC standards and Essential Skills Clusters are included in each chapter and are clearly listed and linked specifically to ethical issues. The author has ensured that this is up to date and relevant for today’s nurses.

I found the book was extremely informative and all too often in other text book ethics can be a difficult subject to understand.

What were the highlights? 

Reading through the book, one aspect that I may not have expected to read in any depth was the Duty of Candour which came into force for NHS bodies in 2014. This was, I am glad to say, included and was extremely useful to me as a Patient Safety Advisor, but equally was set out to ensure all grades of staff understand this important aspect of patient care.

I found the chapters were set out in a way that this would ensure learning but also that it would not put the reader off. The author has the enviable ability to explain issues really well and ensures the reader is always engaged.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book assists the reader to understand and help them to deal with some complex aspect of ethical care in a accommodating way.

The case studies are up to date and relevant for today’s nursing students.

I was particularly interested in how the Francis report (2013) would be incorporated into this text book and found this both informative and would help nurses ensure that lessons are learnt and to be able to move forward.

Each chapter does not end abruptly, as there is good and useful reference material to ensure that the nursing student can read wider on this subject.

The glossary is really helpful as within the healthcare setting we can be bombarded with words that we do not always use in the correct concept. This ensures that the nursing student gets this right first time. If this can be highlighted right at the very beginning this will equip the student nurse for life.

Who should read it?

Although this book is primarily aimed at the nursing student, this is apt for all levels of nurses in today’s healthcare setting. This would serve as an extremely good refresher course for all levels of nurses today. This book needs to be on the shelf in the ward office for all staff to obtain.

Understanding Ethics for Nursing Students

Succeeding in literature reviews and research project plans for nursing students (2nd edition)

3 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Succeeding in literature reviews and research project plans for nursing students (2nd edition)

Authors: Graham R Williamson and Andrew Whittaker

Publisher: Sage Publishing

Reviewer: Ed Shields, nurse lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast

What was it like?

This 2nd edition is part of the Transforming Nursing Practice series and therefore addresses NMC Standards and Essential Skills Clusters, which makes it useful to students in preparing for their responsibilities as registrants. It is arranged in four sections; getting started, planning and preparing for your final-year project, using and critiquing research for your final year project and, finally, writing and finishing. Topics such as devising a question, how to search/locate literature and reviewing literature are included. The considerations necessary in developing a proposal/dissertation are introduced, along with simple introductions to research terms. Readers are introduced to important issues in critique of studies employing interviews and focus groups, as well as analysis of qualitative data. The authors move to consider critique of surveys and experimental designs (along with the introduction of some further research terms relating to reliability and validity). A useful chapter dealing with quantitative data and some simple information on basic statistics follows: this section also contains some helpful diagrams illustrating some ways in which data can be presented. The book finishes with helpful writing advice, which in my experience, nobody is too experienced to benefit from. 

What were the highlights? 

I think the way in which this book, in keeping with others in this series, maps directly to NMC Essential Skills Clusters and Competency Framework makes it a clear and direct benefit to under-graduate pre-registration nursing students. I commend the extensive and useful reading suggested at the end of each chapter and I find many of the web sites particularly helpful.

Strengths & weaknesses:

  • Chapter aims map to chapter summary
  • Useful suggestions for relevant further reading and useful web sites
  • Case studies and activities which are accompanied by suggested outline answers at the end of the chapter

Who should read it?

As someone who teaches undergraduate, pre-registration students on a third year Evidence Based Practice module, which requires the completion of a 5000 word literature review, I can certainly recommend this book to nursing students who have to complete any similar project. Anyone (nurse or otherwise), who has to complete any research based modules on a post-graduate programme will derive benefit from this book; some Master’s students may also find it a useful way into this area of study. Any healthcare students from other disciplines will find use in the book also. Finally, any lecturers involved in this area of education should have a look at this 2nd edition too.

Succeeding in literature reviews and research project plans

Child-Centred Nursing. Promoting Critical Thinking

2 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Child-Centred Nursing. Promoting Critical Thinking.

Authors: Bernie Carter, Lucy Bray, Annette Dickinson, Maria Edwards and Karen Ford

Publisher: SAGE Publishing

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

What was it like?

This book focuses on the core principles that underpin practice and the broad theories and concepts that inform and shape the practice of nurses working with children. It provides clinical information and insights in a concise, structured and informative way that encourages critical thinking to assist and support the reader in obtaining the knowledge required and skills needed to nurse and advocate for children today.

Case studies and TED activities are used throughout the books seven chapters to integrate theory and practice. Within these chapters, positions in society and how that influences involvement in health care and decision making is explored. Our past, present and future roles as nurses delivering care to children are examined in relation to offering child and family centred care. Right to participate, be informed and make choices about are also considered. The environments of care are addressed including the ways in which technology creates opportunity and constraints are explored. How children experience illness and as nurses, how can we help make these experiences meaningful, reduce potential trauma and promote wellbeing. Best practice and our responsibility to ensure we achieve it are also addressed.

What were the highlights? 

The main highlight of this text is that it discusses the core principles of practicing child-centred care alongside the practical application of these broad theories and concepts.

Case study examples and insights are presented in an informative way to assist and support the reader so as to improve the care experience of children and families. As such, this book is for those interested in studying or working with children and young people in health care. A particular highlight is the chapter on children’s participation in care and research including ethical considerations.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The major strength of this book is the maintenance of a clear link between professional practice, research and theory throughout. Clinical case studies illustrate use in practice, helping to bridge the gap between concepts and their practical application.

The inclusion of brief “TED” activities encourages the reader to think critically, refection upon, relate to and evaluate current practice. It is well written and structured systematically and clearly.

Who should read it?

This textbook would be beneficial to pre-registration and post-graduate students studying health care for children and young people.

Child-Centred Nursing

Clinical Evidence Made Easy

1 July, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Clinical Evidence Made Easy

Authors: M Harris, G Taylor and D Jackson

Publisher: Banbury: Scion Publishing Limited

Reviewer: Ed Shields, nurse lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast

What was it like?

Anyone with an interest in evidence based practice, and in testing the strength of evidence, will find this an interesting and useful book. The “Made Easy” part of the title is delivered; the book is easy to read and understand. The authors expect that readers will be helped to evaluate evidence and to decide if their practice should change. Between them, the authors have a mixture of professional credentials; GP/Research Fellow, Reader in Medical Statistics and Senior Research Fellow in Medical Statistics. They deal with the importance of asking a sufficiently precise question and planning a search. They also give some useful advice to those who have developed the habit of reading only the abstract and conclusions part of a paper. The second part of the book, “Clinical evidence at work”, consists of appraisal tools, designed by the authors to help readers evaluate research papers. These will be useful to less experienced critical readers in helping them to develop a systematic approach to evaluating evidence.

Overall, this book will be useful to students, of whatever discipline, and might also be a useful reference point for more experienced people too.

What were the highlights? 

Many will find the “Example” boxes and the use of “Figures” (diagrams) helpful in illustrating how some of these concepts can be applied the real world.  They extend understanding.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The authors state that they assume no prior knowledge of methodologies or analysis on the part of readers and this means the book is simply and clearly written, with ample use made of easy-to-understand clinical examples. To that extent, the book will be useful to people who are a little intimidated by this topic area. More experienced practitioners may possibly find less use for the book but, it is not aimed at this audience. The book focuses more on qualitative methodologies so anyone with more of an interest in qualitative methodologies might find less here (although Chapter 12 deals with qualitative research).

Who should read it?

The foreword suggests that this book helps provide the skills and tools to empower readers to make better sense of clinical evidence; it is aimed at “busy clinicians” and “those engaged in research”.  The authors themselves aim the book at healthcare professionals who need to understand and appraise evidence. It is also suggested that those who need to plan and deliver projects might find the book helpful. Primarily, I think the book will be useful for anyone who is interested in evidence based practice and who wants to be able to read published research papers and to pose appropriate questions of them.

Clinical evidence made easy

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