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Book club: your reviews

Understanding research for Nursing Students

9 September, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Understanding research for Nursing Students

Author: Peter Ellis

Publisher: Sage

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

What was it like?

This book claims to help students recognise what good research is by providing an introductory guide to the main research methodologies used in nursing. It aims to simplify complex terminology and put research into context for nursing students. It gives clear examples and case studies that help the reader to find a direction that is suitable for them. This book includes many useful and interesting chapters, especially the chapter explaining the different ways students use research during their programme and in practice. It offers guidance on critiquing research and literature reviews with new case studies from each field of practice.  

I found it a well written and nicely presented book that was easy to use with a great index to help locate some obscure points.

What were the highlights? 

I really liked this book. It has a pleasing colour text design and a website with downloadable materials for lecturers to use to support their teaching and students to provide further reading materials. While the “web” extras were not fantastic they were a nice extra that came with this book.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A well written and well presented book that I believe will be of help to any student using it to assist in their understanding of research. This book is something completely different. It provides an excellent insight into research. It covers a broad range of research methodologies and methods and is a good introductory text regarding the key concepts involved in nursing research.  

Who should read it?

I believe that this would be of great help to all nursing students looking at research. It wouldn’t be out of place in the lecturer’s bookcase and I would suggest that more seasoned professionals completing research could benefit from having a copy. I feel that the ease of use will allow good quality research to be produced by any practitioner engaged in using it to it fullest.

 

Understanding research for Nursing Students

Comments (1)

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

Comments (1)

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

Bump 2 Baby - A Young Persons Guide to Pregnancy

9 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Bump 2 Baby - A Young Persons Guide to Pregnancy

Author: Paul Mcabe

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Reviewer: Elisabeth McNair-Johnston. RN RM (Former Project Midwife)

What was it like?

Aimed at the younger population, Paul McCabe and Birmingham Youth Service have collaborated in putting this book together for younger people. They also took advice from other healthcare professionals to ensure that accurate information is provided.

The soft covered pocket book is a handy size and very clearly set out, covering the salient points of pregnancy and what to expect in a simple and informed manner. Much of the terminology used in the maternity setting is explained in an easy to understand way. 

What were the highlights? 

This is an ideal book to give a young person facing a first pregnancy and very appropriate to give at the initial booking appointment.  It is an excellent resource that will inform throughout the pregnancy and birth.

The content is a ‘walk through’ of pregnancy and birth in simple terms.  It explains what to expect and where to look for help should it be needed either in relation to the pregnancy or birth and more.  Helpful information on housing and benefits is also included. These areas are a constantly changing vista so having such up to date information is very helpful.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The eye catching colour drawings and format are creatively aimed at the younger person and provides information in a way that encourages the reader to continue to the next page.

Areas in the book are provided to make lists of items needed to prepare for labour and the arrival of the new baby.

Who should read it?

Any reader would find this a valuable and accurate source of information. While much of its content could be found elsewhere, particularly in NHS publications and the internet, the most positive aspect of this book is that it touches on everything about pregnancy with the young person’s perspective in mind. This clear focus makes it an effective source of information for its target audience.

Bump 2 Baby

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

 

 

 

 

The midwife’s labour and birth handbook

5 August, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: The midwife’s labour and birth handbook

Edited by: Vicky Chapman and Cathy Charles

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Reviewer: Elisabeth McNair-Johnston. RN RM (Former Project Midwife)

What was it like?

This is the third edition of an outstanding handbook. It will be a familiar volume on most midwifery bookshelves, providing an excellent guide to midwifery focused care of both woman and child in the birthing setting. Research is constantly ongoing in the area of labour and birth, and this text updates current proven methodology and techniques in midwifery practice. The information provided reflects evidence based best practice at the time of its writing in 2013.

What were the highlights? 

Midwives, particularly in the first few years of their practice, may not have had the opportunity or experience to undertake some of the situations covered in the book or is less familiar or confident to proceed without a point of reference and this handbook will go some way in guiding them through it. The book adeptly addresses aspects of labour and birth from the normal to more complex situations that may arise both within and beyond the hospital setting. The writers detail up to date aspects of care ranging from breech presentation birth to helping with alternative positions when encountering shoulder dystocia.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Clearly written and illustrated throughout, topics of interest are distinctly identified and easily absorbed. The illustrations, diagrams and images are, on the whole, well-chosen and clearly presented. Examples of some of the more complex issues treated in the handbook are the step by step guide to suturing of the perineum and the most helpfully photographed stages of a breech birth. Index and references are thorough, allowing easy location of topics and further study.

Who should read it?

With this latest edition, the authors have supplied a guide to contemporary midwifery practice that will be useful to both new and experienced midwives, and indeed to anyone involved with the care of mother and baby in the labour and birth setting. Highly recommended.

 

The midwifes labour_third ed

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

Letters to the Midwife

31 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Letters to the Midwife  

Author: Jennifer Worth

Publisher: Orion Publishing, 2014  

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

What was it like?

I have enjoyed all of Jennifer Worth’s books and this is the fifth book in her series. I was so pleased to be able to review it. This is a lovely book with letters from people who loved her books and wanted to tell Jennifer this. There are also personal touches from people they knew at that time, areas of Poplar and the east end. Although this is titled as letters, there is also are really interesting section of Jennifer’s life in 50s Paris and good descriptions of post war Paris.

This book is easy to read, I read this in a day as it was light and such a lovely read.

What were the highlights? 

I particularly enjoyed the foreword by Miranda Hart comedian and actor who Jennifer knew immediately that Miranda would be ideal for the role as Chummy as she reminded Jennifer of this character- sadly Miranda never got to meet Jennifer as she died in 2011. There is also a good insight by the family as an introduction.

It also reminded me of the book The Real James Herriot written by his son Jim Wight and just how much his fans loved his books. Jennifer trained as nurse at in war torn London where the NHS was in its infancy, the east end was poverty stricken and this was a very different time in nursing.

Surprising for me was that she was also a musician too.

At times I found myself smiling as she has good sense of humour and at other times I was moved to tears.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a wonderful collection of correspondence to and from Jennifer and it highlights her love of her books and her enjoyment in corresponding with her fans both men and women.

It highlights her caring as a nurse and as a wonderful person. She writes with warmth and like James Herriot memorable characters and I found no weaknesses in this book.

Who should read it?

This book is for all healthcare professionals both midwives and all trainees. Times and conditions were poor, but the standards of care were high. This is for anyone who enjoys nursing from a bygone age too.

 

Letters to the Midwife

Calculation Skills for Nurses

30 July, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Calculation Skills for Nurses

Author: Claire Boyd

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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

What was it like?

This book claims to provide nursing students with words of wisdom and advice from real–life student nurses. As the title is “Calculation Skills for Nurses” not Student Nurses I was most surprised by some of the basic maths that was being provided, and felt that it should have been advice from qualified staff, not students. The book provides basic skills that should enable nurses to calculate drug dosages with ease, boosting their confidence and competence in this core area of nursing practice. Having taught GCSE maths in the past I was pleased to see the general approach of the book, taking away the fear of calculations, making it approachable, easy and fun, and tying in with the NMC standards for pre–registration education and the Essential Skills Clusters. This did not, however take away the total dismay that I felt at having to teach students the 24-hour clock, times tables, rounding, conversions, percentages and fractions just to mention a few. This was work that I was teaching to 11 year olds in year 7 and makes me question the quality of student nurses, if this is having to be taught at this late stage. That said, the book is filled with examples and questions based on real life nursing and healthcare situations and includes key information displayed on the inside back cover for quick look–up on clinical placements, making it easily accessible and valuable to all.

What were the highlights? 

Having been disturbed by the basic maths that was having to be taught, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the book and the way that the questions and scenarios were constructed. To have the answers in the back of the book is of great help, allowing practitioners to confirm that they have understood the questions.

Strengths & weaknesses:

What a GREAT book, so well presented and thought out. This book is one that I am going to hang on to, not only for my nursing but just in case I get roped into teaching maths again (This is better than many of the maths texts I was using, and I believe the students would find the real life questions great fun).

Who should read it?

Everyone who has anything to do with drug calculations should have this book, even the doctors! Anyone who enjoys maths would also love this book, especially if you are likely to want to teach any of it.

Calculation Skills for Nurses

 

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