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Book club: your reviews

Clinical Governance - Improving the Quality of Healthcare for Patients and Service Users

20 May, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Clinical Governance Improving the Quality of Healthcare for Patients and Service Users

Authors: Mary Gottwald and Gail E Lansdown

Publisher: Open University Press

Reviewer: Dr Jo Wilson, Governance, Risk, Quality and Integrated Care Facilitator

What was it like?

This textbook explores Clinical Governance from many aspects from the interception, the application and utilisation into clinical practice and includes recent high profile incidents such as Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and Mid Staffordshire NHS Trusts. The book has eight chapters, which discuss the context of Clinical Governance (Chapter 1); the key quality issues of incidence, mortality and morbidity and impact on patients (Chapter 2); exploring quality failings using tools to manage quality and analyse poor care quality (Chapter 3); using change management to develop clinical governance strategies (Chapter 4); implementing the strategies through education and training (Chapter 5); supporting clinical governance through evidence based practice (Chapter 6); utilising risks and complaints to implement clinical governance (Chapter 7); and utilising audit to evaluate quality of care and the implications for clinical practice (Chapter 8). There are clinical governance themes running through the book with practical use of tools and processes that can be used in different setting to improve the quality of patient/client care and safety.  

What were the highlights? 

The highlight of the book is the practical application, which should support practitioners and service users to understand, apply and see improvements in quality of care. The book highlights that Clinical Governance is every bodies’ responsibility and outlines different ways, tools and techniques for implementation.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The key strength of this book is the application of the knowledge and the guidance of readers to participate in Clinical Governance.  Each Chapter outlines its contents, introduction and learning objectives. Towards the end of each chapter is a Key Point Summary, Implications for practice, end-of-chapter questions (with suggested answers in the Appendix) and References.  There are also some resources with web links for further reading and worked examples in usage of tools. One weakness is the flow linking the chapters to clearly demonstrate the practical application of Clinical Governance with examples of quality improvements and service users experiences.

Who should read it?

Health and social care professionals, students, service users, academics working in the healthcare field.

Clinical Governance Improving the Quality of Healthcare for Patients and Service Users


Pharaoh's Midwives. A Retelling of the Nurse Midwives in Exodus

8 May, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Pharaoh’s Midwives. A Retelling of the Nurse Midwives in Exodus

Author: Mark Darby RN

Publisher: Surprise Publishing at Smashwords

Reviewer: Elisabeth McNair-Johnston, RN RM (former project midwife)

What was it like?

This is a thought provoking story. We live in a world of diversity, different cultures, religions, political beliefs and yet to be cured diseases. Midwives, nurses, doctors as well as other healthcare workers increasingly face obstacles in the course of their work that cause them to reflect on their ethical perspective and moral convictions.

The first verses of the book of Exodus in the Bible tell a story about nurse midwives. They had been instructed to kill all male children due to the ruler, his politics and culture of the day. Mark Darby’s novel recounts the story of how these nurse midwives did not kill the male children as a result of their enlightenment, religious and moral convictions. He highlights the ethics of political and religious differences and the pressures faced not just by midwives but those who providing healthcare generally thousands of years ago. Surprisingly it’s a situation not so dissimilar from today in some parts of the world

In the present day midwives, nurses and others in healthcare continue to face similar issues in their practice and effort help people in places ravaged by war and pandemics. In the UK the consequences of FGM is still being addressed, a dreadful and extremely ethical issue. Ethical conundrums arise throughout the world brought about by war, politics, culture and diseases like Ebola.

Thousands of years ago in the Pharaonic era medical ethics didn’t exist, however in ancient Greece around 5BC the Hippocratic Oath was embraced by physicians. It highlighted the need for them not to harm those in their care.  While this was more to prevent the “God Complex” amongst doctors, it has served to prompt ethical and reflective practice in other healthcare practitioners.

What were the highlights? 

The novel focuses on the historical influences of culture and society faced by nurse midwives in the time of the Pharaohs over 3000 years ago. The characters are followed as they face seemingly insurmountable difficulties but manage hold true to their convictions and in doing so prevent a degree of genocide.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Pharaoh’s Midwives is timely in a world where division and derision make the provision of healthcare difficult, whether delivering babies, saving lives or both. Not just midwives but organisations like WHO, Medecins sans Frontieres and others, increasingly face obstacles when trying to help humanity.

While it is not referenced or particularly academic, the book is on a topic that has rarely been written about in this context.

Who should read it?

This book should draw a broad readership. Midwives and those in other areas of healthcare would find it most interesting.

Pharaoh's midwifes

Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice

7 May, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice

Authors: Sally Candling and Peter Roger

Publisher: Equinox Publishing

Reviewer: Jade Day, student nurse at Anglia Ruskin

What was it like?

This book contains a lot of great information in a small space. Not too big to prove daunting to read but really helpful all the same. It contains a lot of scripts showing examples of the type of communication it’s referring to, which are easy to read and really handy. Quite a few diagrams are contained too for the more visual learner.

What were the highlights?

It covers a lot regarding communication mostly interprofessionally but it has great section on delivering bad news to patients included. Some areas covered include communication frameworks, reflection, the difference between submissive, assertive and aggressiveness, leadership and developing expertise.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The scripts included in each section are fantastic because they give you a real insight into conversations that can be had in a healthcare setting, and they give you a variety of endings so you can see differences in the best way to handle these situations.

Who should read it?

As a student I found this quite helpful as going into a healthcare setting can be daunting and you want to make sure you can communicate effectively and professionally, so this book is great for that. I would say anyone in the healthcare profession that is looking to improve their communication skills or is interested in this area would be worth giving this a read.

Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice

Critical Conversations in Healthcare

5 May, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Critical Conversations in Healthcare

Author: Cheri Clancy

Publisher: Sigma Theta Tau International

Reviewer: Jade Day, student nurse at Anglia Ruskin

What was it like?

Written in the first person from a personal point of view, the author shares her knowledge and experience of how to communicate effectively with patients and other professionals alike. Due to its first person narrative this is extremely easy to read as it’s if the author is having a chat with you.

What were the highlights? 

It covers a lot regarding communication including body language, emotional intelligence, patient and interprofessional communication, among others. It has a lot of acronyms included meant to help you remember the steps to follow in situations described. It also includes blue coloured sections containing scripts showing examples of how to use these acronyms.

Strengths and weaknesses:

I like the first person style as it makes it easy to read and the scripts are great with examples, however there are quite a lot of acronyms included so it’s unlikely you will be able to make use of them all effectively. It would be better to pick an area and concentrate on just one or two.

Who should read it:

Any healthcare professional who is looking to learn or brush up on important communication techniques or ideas on how to deal with more difficult conversations. Any healthcare student would also find this helpful.


Critical Conversations in Healthcare

Person and Family Centred Care

1 May, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Person and Family Centred Care

Authors: Jane Barnsteiner, Joanne Disch, Mary K Walton

Publisher: Sigma Theta Tau International

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

What was it like?

Fundamentally, this book would be ideal for any healthcare professional or service user wanting to increase their knowledge base regarding person centred care. Person centred care is forever growing within our nursing culture, which is why this book would be beneficial to anybody interested in providing excellent person centred care. When I was flicking through each chapter I noticed that the book was cleverly organised with a clear rationale for the organisation of the chapters. Firstly, the book discusses the definition of person and family centred care which would be beneficial to any healthcare professional from all fields of practice. The book continues to discuss the historical context of person centred care as well as a viewing person centred care from a patient’s perspective.

What were the highlights? 

The highlight is the brief background of each author at the beginning of the book. Knowing that this book has been written by a variety of healthcare professionals provided me with a feeling of reassurance, knowing that the literature was sourced from evidence based practice. Furthermore, I also enjoyed the references section at the end of each chapter where further reading may be sought. In addition the front cover of this book uses bright, attractive colours so it would never get lost on your bookshelf.

Strengths & weaknesses:

One of the major highlights of this book is the sheer amount of evidence based and referenced literature regarding person and family centred care. The book also contains reflection activities, which allows the reader to reflect on their own personal feelings and collate information regarding person centred care. From my personal opinion I cannot fault this book as the literature presented has been thoughtfully collated and is relevant to the subject area.

Who should read it?

From a student nurses perspective this book would be beneficial to any student nurse regardless of their field of practice. In addition this book would also benefit other healthcare professionals and service users who are interested in person centred care. Furthermore this may be a valuable learning source for students within a university setting to gain in depth knowledge regarding person centred care.

Person and family centred care

Community and Public Health Nursing. 5th Edition

24 April, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Community and Public Health Nursing 5th Edition

Authors: D Sines, S Aldridge-Bent, A Fanning et al

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear Student Nurse 3rd Year

What was it like?

Public health is on every ones lips at the moment, with obesity and diabetes just two of the factors contributing to a rise in the decline of the public’s health. As health care professionals we are all influential in promoting health for our patients, and making every contact count. This book is a great tool to assist with understanding the determinants of the public’s health and how we can support and encourage lifestyle change.

What were the highlights?

As a student nurse, we cover public health nursing in all of our three years of training. This book covers all aspects of nursing, learning disability, mental health, children’s nursing and the adult field as well.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I appreciated how the chapters where clear and covered only the content of each title, such as adult vulnerability in the community. This chapter I personally found the most interesting, it covers safeguarding, the mental capacity act and even domestic violence. These areas I did not feel would be covered in a public health nursing book, but they are discussed in depth but not to the point that it becomes overwhelming.

There are many links to government documents throughout the book such as the Marmot review, The Francis report and many more, this ensured me that it was an up to date text which I could utilize within my studies.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book to student nurses, community and district nurses and anybody with a passion for public health nursing. Clear, concise and structured it is a book I have found beneficial for my own learning.

Community and public health nursing

Harvard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs, 9th Edition

16 April, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Harvard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs, 9th Edition

Authors:  Adriana Tiziani

Publisher: Mosby Elsevier

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear, 3rd year adult student nurse

What was it like?

As a student Nurse Drug administration can be a mine field, this book has been a great addition to my collection of drug guides. One of the more comprehensive books I have looked at, Harvard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs is a well laid out and through book, enabling even a novice to find the medication they are looking for quickly and efficiently.

What were the highlights? 

The contents pages are split into therapeutic class and also body system class, this enables me to find a vasoconstrictor, knowing that this would be in the therapeutic section or if I was unsure of this then look under the body system section.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There is a nice introduction section, which clearly states the nurse’s role in the administration of drugs, and also storage of drugs, Pharmokinetics and safe administration of medications to name a few.

There are clear symbols indicating what drugs cannot be used in pregnancy and banned in sports. I also enjoyed that there are sections within each chapter that enables you to give patient advice, such as not to operate machinery or drive and so forth.

There is also a small flash card that can be carried around with common abbreviations and drug dose rates, handy for any student nurse’s uniform pocket!

Who should read it?

The only negative with this book is that it is Australian, and does refer to legal aspects of Australian law, and some drug administration methods. However as an added extra to a BNF it is a great book, versatile and I would recommend this to any nurse, student nurse or even student doctor.

Harvard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs

Aging and Critical Care

7 April, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Aging and Critical Care 

Author: Sonya R Hardin 

Publisher: Elsevier

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

What was it like?

This is one of the Clinics Review Articles, published from the Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. This is written specifically for the older patient. We are facing an ever increasing aging population in the world today. These patients have complex co morbidities and a have greater mortality risk over 75 years old especially in the critical care unit.These are a important group of patients, that at times conditions can be overlooked or readmitted when this could have been preventable.

Published four times a year, each issue focuses on a single topic in the field of critical care nursing.

The topics covered in this edition include the impact of aging, sepsis, nutrition and hydration, and renal issues to name but a few of the important chapters.

What were the highlights? 

This is an excellent guide for the critical care nurse or Intensivist. Although written in North America, this is just as apt for the elderly patient in the UK.

The book is well written and easy to read. The authors in each section have spent a great deal of time researching the topics. 

The key points at the beginning of each chapter and the acknowledgement that the older patient is at risk of prolonged hospitilation and that plans need to be in place at the beginning.

These are complex patients and are extremely vulnerable and a thorough physical examination with tests to accurately diagnose the condition.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I found no weaknesses in this book. The strengths are: - this book sets out to guide the clinician and the nursing team to treat the older person with complex conditions, but to ensure that conditions are identified early and treatment plans are in place. 

The chapters address each complex issue in detail, and set out effectively to enable the reader to pull out the salient points.

Who should read it?

All clinical staff working in the critical care setting and would also be useful in the emergency departments where the first hour can be crucial for diagnosing these important but complex patients.


Aging and Critical Care 

Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing 7th Edition

31 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing, 7th Edition

Authors: Leifer, G

Publisher: Elsevier

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 maternal-child nursing in health and illness. It provides clinical information and insights in a concise, structured and informative way that encourages critical thinking. Case studies and nursing tips are used throughout the chapters to integrate theory and practice. Nursing care plans provide expected outcomes, interventions and rationales to aid and explore decision making.

This combined maternity and paediatric text highlights the ways in which infants, children and adults differ and that due to these differences care varies. A central focus is the process of growth and development from conception to adulthood and the text has sections relating to the growing child and family (for example The Preschooler, The Toddler etc). It utilises a systems approach throughout and there is family-centred care focus throughout and highlights skills unique to maternity and paediatric nursing covering a wide range of nursing interventions.

What were the highlights? 

The main highlight of this text is it value as a teaching tool that it discusses the core principles of practicing maternal-child care alongside the practical application of these broad theories and concepts. Case study and nursing care plan examples and insights are presented in an informative way to assist and support the reader so as to improve the care experience of nursing mothers, children and families. There is a full website attached to this book with instructor resources and student resources to support learning further

Strengths & weaknesses:

The major strengths of this book is that it is well written and structured systematically and clearly with objectives, key terms and key points with critical thinking questions per chapter providing a framework for the content and structure of teaching sessions

Clinical case studies and care plans illustrate use in practice, helping to bridge the gap between concepts and their practical application. Additionally, it is visually appealing using colour, illustrations to good effect.

Who should read it?

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

Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing 7th Edition

The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey

23 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey

Author: Nancy L Kriseman

Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield

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

What was it like?

This is an informative book using mindfulness and self awareness to ease the caregiver’s journey. Presented in an easy and insightful reading style, the book, in my mind, is split into two. Chapters one to four include headings such as caregiver role, realistic expectations, self care matters and incorporating mindfulness into self-care, are all about setting the scene and allowing the reader periods of reflection and introspection, which some readers of the book may find difficult. Chapters five to eight include titles such as engagement, professional resources, being a partner and finishing well. They contain more in the way of resources and support for caregivers. The use of case studies throughout the book present pertinent issues, ideas and strategies but they do also help negate the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

What were the highlights? 

The introduction is logical, positive and non-judgemental, a great start to the book ending with reinforcing “You Matter”. This is an important message reinforced throughout the books chapters, with additional words such as recognition, appreciation and validating your role as a caregiver and makes the valid point of providing plenty of focus on replenishing the caregiver and ensuring this is not forgotten by the reader. Kriseman also talks about a listening heart and the importance of a quieting of the mind. By listening from the heart we listen and create stillness within, in order to hear the inner rhythms of what our body is saying in mind, body and spirit.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I believe a caregiver reading this would find their spirits lifted and find their personal fear and guilt subsiding, for these reasons alone the book is worth reading. The chapter on self care asks the caregiver to be compassionate with themselves, and to learn how to give personal self care messages with belief and feelings. Another important message within the book is for the reader to understand the caregiver role, using all means possible to appreciate role changes and continue with therapeutic living – this may involve reading such books but also support groups, internet resources or social media. While the book is uplifting and positive it doesn’t shirk from the realistic and in places honest picture of what it means to be a caregiver. 

My only criticisms would be the book is hardback and too large to easily carry around. The more portable perhaps the more readable? The resources, appendices and bibliography have a US bias, however, they are comprehensive and provide the reader with a starting point and include an excellent appendix on how to evaluate a website.

Who should read it?

Not the best book on mindfulness for a professional caregiver (in my humble opinion), although an excellent resource for carers. Its open writing style presents a non judgemental uplifting read with no expectations placed upon the reader. It can be read from cover to cover but provides useful chapters to dip back into at a later day or if requiring a therapeutic pick-me-up.

The mindful caregiver

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