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Book club: your reviews

Heroic Measures

23 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Heroic Measures

Author: Jo-Ann Power

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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

What was it like?

Jo-Ann Power has written a book of fiction honouring those who have served their country in war. She concentrates on a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured. We are told the story of nurse Gwen Spencer, an orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt. We learn that Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making. Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos we hear how she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with. But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

What were the highlights? 

I have to confess that I was not able to get past the first chapter. I am not a great fan of fiction and certainly not this type of book. I did however pass it on to my wife who picked it up and read the lot. The review that I now give is as a response to her comments and thoughts about the book; “The story was interesting and exciting with twists and plots that kept the attention. A romantic story that developed from a situation, like many other young people’s lives. This story takes and exciting ride, however, when Gwen bravely pushes up to the front line and falls in love. A good read” (so my wife said).

Strengths & weaknesses:

I struggled to get going at all and had to put it down. The sentence construction was poor and the plot was slow to get going. The overall story was not one that could hold my attention and this was not helped, in my opinion, by the disjointed construction and lack of connectives. My wife, on the other hand, highlighted that the further in to the book she got the better all of this became, with the fluidity of the book becoming much more harmonious with the increasingly exciting story line.

Who should read it?

If you are a fan of “Chick Flicks” or “Romance Novels” then this is for you. I am a man about to turn 40 and was not able to get into this book, my 16yr old daughter was utterly frustrated by the beginning of the book, with characters and details that just managed to confuse. My wife though, thought that this was an interesting read, and as such has now taken ownership of the book. I am sure that there are many well discerning women (and men) like my wife who will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Story Within

23 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: The Story Within  

Author: Amy Boesky 

Publisher: John Hopkins University Press

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

What was it like?

The author has compiled a group of essays about genetic disorders from around fifteen different contributors, all dealing with issues such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, deafness and schizophrenia as examples. It shows just how complex this is. It makes genetics more human.

I found this thought provoking, moving and extremely interesting.

What were the highlights? 

I found this extremely interesting to read from an individual prospective. “The Long Arm” by Clare Dunsford was fascinating in telling how Fragile X Syndrome affects not only the child or adult with it, but previous generations.

The authors have put a personal touch to this, rather than just a book about genetic disorders.

I grew up in a time when genetics was not talked about and people were labelled with their disorders and we grew up in fear rather than understanding. Since reading this book I have a better understanding and empathy. 

It is thought provoking and testing for the reader to decide whether to have tests, to have children or to speak to members of their families.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The authors cover a variety of stories concerning genetic circumstances and theses are both moving and at times quite emotional for the reader. This is real life and complicated. It helps the reader to empathise and more importantly to understand.

I found that reading this from sixteen authors gave this a varied approach to the subjects.

The notes section was extremely valuable as it listed each of the stories and gave valuable further information and references.

One aspect I felt was not a true reflection was concerning True Stories About How We Die, the view of hospitals not being as good as hospices. I felt this was unsubstantiated as there are excellent hospitals that are committed to patients being cared for properly at the end of life.

Who should read it?

As this book explores complex issues surrounding genetic identity this is applicable for all healthcare professionals who care for patients and the need for great understanding of genetics.

 

The Story Within

Mastering Simulation

17 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Mastering Simulation  

Authors:  Beth Ulrich and Beth Mancini

Publisher: Sigma Theta Tau International, 2014

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

What was it like?

This book is primarily for practitioners who are involved or are designing training simulation sessions.

It describes the use of simulation in various clinical settings from the beginning through to future resources and creativeness. It contains some excellent examples of simulated experiences and an easy to read guide for developing a simulation plan.

Being able to evidence competencies is a requirement through NMC and other regulatory bodies. As stated by the authors both technology and techniques change so quickly simulation is an important part of being competent and being able to care for patients effectively.

What were the highlights? 

This has an easy to read guide for developing a simulation plan. Although written in the US this is an excellent and practical guide to the development of simulated experiences. I found that the authors explore scenario development for a lot of requirements including risk management and quality improvement in both the nurse academic setting and hospital environments. They discuss evaluation and debriefing, as well as the future of simulation.

The book highlights processes for development and use in many areas.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a user friendly handbook, with well set out scenarios and the authors have provided comprehensible and succinct examples that could be easily adapted to a variety of healthcare settings.

This has been well researched with a host of authors with differing backgrounds who have come together with their knowledge and expertise to write this textbook. Although written for professionals working in the US, it is just as apt and relevant to the UK.

I found no weaknesses.

Who should read it?

This is a specialist textbook and would be useful to a nurse educator/practitioner on the unit/ward/training department/school, to other professional such as theatre and ITU professionals, who are interested in working with simulated experiences.

 

Mastering Simulation

Renal Nursing, fourth edition

16 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Renal Nursing, fourth edition   

Edited by: Nicola Thomas

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

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

What was it like?

This is a concise evidence based text book for all nurses working in renal nursing. This has been updated and is now in its fourth edition. This is a comprehensive book covering all aspects of kidney and renal disorders. It provides the skills and knowledge to give support, treatment and high standard of care.

What were the highlights?

This book has been updated and if I were working in this speciality, this would be my bible. The anatomy and physiology sections are in-depth, written well and flows easily to be easily understood by the reader. The diagrams are well set out.

In each chapter there are learning outcomes, which sets the reader onto the right path immediately. I found the history of dialysis and transplantation a fascinating and enlightening read.

The section on patient and carer involvement was an interesting read, including case studies and the use of support groups on social media.

I found the chapter on quality improvement and patient safety a welcome part of the whole process not only acknowledging the patient but safety and best practice.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is written by a renal nursing consultant and senior lecturer in the UK. It is written for the UK health care setting.

This book equips the nurse working in a renal environment to use this as a tool to provide the practical care of their patients.

It is well written and has up to date referencing. Reading though the book there are no weaknesses this covers every aspect of renal nursing – even exploring the illegal aspects of people selling their organs.

Who should read it?

This book is for all nursing staff including student nurses caring for the renal patient. This would be valuable for allied health professionals such as specialist pharmacists and renal dietitians. It would also be apt for a junior doctor requiring further information.

This book needs to be on every renal department shelf so that staff can ensure the highest standards for their patients.

Renal Nursing, fourth edition

Managing Minor Musculoskeletal Injuries and Conditions

16 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Managing Minor Musculoskeletal Injuries and Conditions

Author: David Bradley

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

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

What was it like?

This book presents a learning experience encompassing a variety of musculoskeletal injuries; it covers from anatomy and physiology, history taking and examination through to documentation, x-ray interpretation and the legal and ethical issues. Incorporated into this is an overview about a number of minor musculoskeletal conditions and injuries we may be presented with.

It is written in a manner, which facilitates a distance learning approach and supports independent learning. 

What were the highlights? 

The highlights to this book are the additional resources available free on-line, which work in conjunction with the book to support learning at one’s own pace. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book is its ability to work at a variety of levels. It can be employed by an individual learner or by a lecturer employing it as a text to support academic learning of students. The book provides the basics which encourages its readers to access further information on-line to enhance their clinical learning skills.  This book is a long term resource and is not designed to be a quick read but it designed to be a learning tool.

Who should read it?

It should be read by all who work in minor injury units or desire to learn more about minor injuries, which may be presented in their area of work. Academic tutors who teach within an emergency care course would be recommended to review this text to consider it to either supplement their modules or to refer to their students as an additional learning resource that may work alongside some of their taught modules. 

Managing minor musculoskeletal injuries

Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process: Lessons And Experiences From Around The World

8 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process: Lessons And Experiences From Around The World.

Edited by : Monica O’Mullane

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Rebecca Bailey-McHale, lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester.

What was it like?

This is the first book of its kind to share global experiences of how Health Impact Assessment can be integrated into policy processes. The contents clearly set out the array of topics covered and the global contributors who range from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia to name a few. Chapters 4-17 share the global experiences with examples vary and include such discussions as assessing the impact of health impact assessment in policy making by analysing the differences between two health impact assessments conducted in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some of the chapters e.g. chapter 8 utilise case studies to demonstrate how health impact assessment occurs in relation to the major actors in key institutions involved with health impact assessment. Chapter 14 is particularly interesting as it looks at the history of health impact assessment in Africa and examines previous projects that have impacted negatively on health and moves on to look at how there is a movement of change in health impact assessment  currently. Each chapter has a similar template; it begins with a chapter introduction followed by the main body of the discussion. Each chapter ends with a conclusion and a specific chapter bibliography. There is a good use of tables and graphics. The book is easy to read and can be dipped into for relevant chapters as independent pieces without needing to read the whole book in entirety. However chapters two and three are important to read as they remind you of the fundamental issues relating to health impact assessment e.g. the determinants of health and what health impact assessment actually means in realistic terms. Some chapters offer ideas and practical solutions, others offer research recommendations for future practice. Some chapters also offer a generic learning section, keenly displayed in bulleted lists.

While this book may be viewed as a bit heavy going its practical use of real life studies, health impact assessments and their application, actually make it a really quite interesting read.

What were the highlights? 

The concept of this book offers new perspectives in bringing global examples together in one book. It uses a good range of global resources from 1st world examples to 3rd world examples. The book is awarded three forewords from key people from Spain, Thailand and the U.K, all who have experience in working in health and health impact assessment and now work for their respective governments.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book’s contributors are from mixed professional backgrounds ranging from research scientists, lecturers, health promotion managers and directors of public health, to name a few. This book makes the practical examples appealing to more than nursing professionals. At the beginning of the book there is a concise abbreviation list, however the chapters contain a lot of abbreviations so at times it is tricky to remember what they all are and so have to keep referring back to that list. The reader is offered use of a thorough index and chapter bibliographies.

Who should read it?

A whole range of professionals would find this book interesting including student nurses, public health nurses, and academics teaching public health, public health managers and policy makers.

Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process

Sexplained one – sex and Your Health

8 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Sexplained one – sex and Your Health

Author: Helen J Knox

Publisher: KNOX Publishing

Reviewer:  Sue Southworth, research nurse, Ophthalmology

What was it like?

The book contains short pieces of information about various aspects of sexual health and disease. There appears to be a focus on disease, with a number of colour plates illustrating various skin, genital and oral conditions. It covers almost all subjects scantily. A link to further information on some of these subjects would have been useful.

Each small section of the book has a response from the author to a (presumably fictional) letter. These are interesting and perhaps include information that would be difficult to place elsewhere.

What were the highlights? 

The short pieces of information do mean than it is accessible. However the Sexplained Column Topic Guide didn’t make clear to what each topic referred and the layout and contents list were slightly confusing.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There appeared to be an overarching prurience/ moral overtone to the book, especially in the first few pages. There are no sources cited to substantiate claims such as “many men get HIV from unprotected one night stands”, in the book. However, this would perhaps be misplaced in this book.

Who should read it?

The back of the book suggests that this is for parents. The book provides an insight into issues of gender, sex and sexuality: I failed to find this in the book.

I certainly didn’t feel that I was the target audience (never having called periods “the curse” seemed to sideline me) nor was I convinced by the claims for teenagers and parents finding much to enlighten them. There is shock value in the book and there may, indeed be an audience for this.

I would imagine there are clearer guides written for health professional and so I am not convinced by them as a target audience either.

Overall, I found the book confusing and difficult to navigate. Some of the language and analogies used were disturbing and to my mind served to reinforce the moral overtones I felt in large sections of the book.

 

Sexplained one

Fundamentals of Applied Pathophysiology

7 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Fundamentals of Applied Pathophysiology

Eited by: Muralitharan Nair and Ian Peate

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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

What was it like?

Fundamentals of Applied Pathophysiology is designed specifically for nursing and healthcare students, delivering a straightforward, jargon–free, accessible introduction to pathophysiology. This is a fantastic looking book with great visual content and written text specifically for students, but accessible by all. I was so impressed by how it provides clear explanations of the anatomy of the human body, and the effects of disease or illness on normal physiology, this will be great for any student, from my GCSE students to post-reg students. To make things even easier for the reader, the book includes learning outcomes, a range of activities to test learning, key words, end–of–chapter glossaries, and clinical case scenarios. All of this great content is also supported by an online resource centre with further activities and exercises.  

I love everything about this book! It is not too big and yet offers so much. I can even have a copy of it on my computer to access any time, any place (sad, I know).

What were the highlights? 

Too many to list. This book would have been one that I would have used for my pre-reg training, and one that I would have kept hold of for further reference. I will be getting a copy now for my own collection, and to use with my current students. A great resource!

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book is full of superb full colour illustrations, bringing this subject to life it is full of extra features to help improve the learning process, including: key words, test–your–knowledge, exercises, word-search’s, further reading and learning outcomes. It has case studies throughout to help the reader to understand how to apply the knowledge in clinical practice, with all this supported by an online resource centre at www.wiley.com/go/fundamentalsofappliedpathophysiology. This isn’t just a book but is also an opportunity to access fantastic extras for both lecturers and students, including an image bank, interactive multiple choice questions, true/false exercises, word–searches, glossary flash–cards, label–the diagram activities, and more!

Who should read it?

Pre and post-reg students, tutors, lecturers and practitioners. It is so well written and presented that anyone picking it up will find something in it to interest them, even if they don’t know it yet.

Fundamentals of Applied Pathophysiology

 

 

Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice

7 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice 

Authors: Sally Candlin and Peter Roger

Publisher: Equinox Publishing Ltd

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

What was it like?

At last a book for health care professionals, which addresses one of the most fundamental issues in healthcare andthat is communication. This is often carried out badly. This book sets out to tackle the interactions of healthcare professionals and patients but also the interaction that take place within teams.

What were the highlights?

The highlight is that someone is addressing the real need for more effective communication.

There are good scenarios that could take place within the healthcare environment. This is up to date working from the latest research, using tools and techniques to communicate more effectively.

The book is referenced well and up to date and is interesting that Benner from novice to expert is still be quoted 30 years later as is still so relevant today.

The further reading sections at the end of each chapter are useful to take the subject on further.

Strengths and weaknesses:

The scenarios were helpful and as a team to run through some of these would prove beneficial.  It gives the clinician/practitioner the tools to break bad news (never an easy thing to undertake). This book does not set out to tell the reader this is easy on the contrary the author highlight just how multifaceted communication is.

It can be used in every day interactions with other colleagues or patient either in the clinical setting or in the office. I found the chapter dealing with projecting an identity to others enlightening and made me look at how other perceive me.

Although this book is written by Australian authors, I would like to have seen a section on being open as this is vital for staff to be open and transparent.

Who should read it?

This book is a must for all levels of healthcare staff. No one in the profession is exempt from this. Staff must take ownership and in order to be effective in communication, this book is key. If teams were to look at the scenarios and work through these they would come out as a more cohesive team and one you would want to work with.

This book is also for the individual to stand back and look at how other perceive them and then take this book and go forward.

Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice

 

Understanding and Using Health Experiences Improving patient care

3 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Understanding and Using Health Experiences. Improving patient care

Edited by: Sue Ziebland, Angela Coulter, Joseph D Calabrese and Linda Locock

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Carol Singleton, Queen’s Nurse, nurse reviewer, Continuing Healthcare Restitution Team, NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group

What was it like?

The NHS is obsessed with gaining information on its patients’ experiences but sometimes lacks any insight into the best way of gathering this information at the most suitable time, place and in the most suitable way for their patients. This book describes a wide range of techniques available to understand patients’ experiences of health and illness from focus groups, observing interactions, ethnographic approaches, narrative interviewing, story gathering, patient reported outcomes, patient experience surveys, using the internet as a source of information, systematic review, harnessing patients’ awareness of adverse reactions to the drugs they take and participatory action research, exploring the strengths and limitations of each technique.

What were the highlights?

The introduction briefly describes the content of each chapter, which is useful for any readers with limited time, to enable them to start with the chapters they are particularly interested in. Each chapter has a list of further reading that includes both books and articles, references and where applicable, how to analyse the data produced and present the findings, and there is also a comprehensive index at the end of the book.

Strengths and weaknesses:

The style of writing is easy to read and follow without blinding readers with academic language, providing clear descriptions of the various techniques available and when to use them. Examples of where and when the various techniques have been used would be useful and also more references to relevant websites either listed at the end of the chapters or as a complete list at the end of the book would enable the reader to explore the techniques in more detail for themselves. The chapter on harnessing patients’ awareness of adverse reactions to the drugs they take does include numerous websites both within the text and in the further reading section, and so does the chapter on using the internet.

Who should read it?

The reader may not want or be able to use the various techniques described but anybody who works in the NHS and is interested in how they can improve the care they provide for their patients, should read this book. It is also essential reading for anybody planning a project in the NHS either as part of their work or as part of an academic course, as an invaluable source of techniques to consider when planning their study.

Understanding and Using Health Experiences Improving patient care

 

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