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Book club: your reviews

All posts from: December 2011

Examination of the Newborn

12 December, 2011 Posted by: -


Title: Examination of the Newborn

Author: Edited by Anne Lomax

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011

Reviewer: Dr. Jo Wilson, Senior Research Associate, Newcastle University


What was it like?

The book aims to focus on how good practice set against National Standards can improve consistency and contribute to improved clinical practice.  The book with its 13 chapters, written by experts in their fields, does this in a systematic way throughout the examination of the newborn infant through a very practical approach.  The chapters focus on family centred care with strong parent-child attachment and positive parenting with social and emotional well-being.  This is undertaken through a learning approach through the transition from birth and enhancing parenting skills and bonding.

The chapter on History Taking and the Newborn Examination is very systematic and easy to follow clearly linking the parent and neonatal observation and attachment, including Safeguarding Children.

The approach of clearly describing the development processes of the Heart and Lungs and Transition to Extrauterine Life followed by the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Assessment is excellent and really enhances knowledge and understanding.  Also the chapters covering the Dysplasia of the hip, foot abnormalities and abdomen and genitalia were all systematically well written.


It was great to see the chapter on chromosomal and genetic problems focusing on the fetal and baby development process with good feedback to parents being highlighted. This was followed by an interesting chapter on the Newborn behavioural aspects demonstrating great benefits to parents and practitioners.

I also enjoyed reading the Professional Issues in Practices linked to the newborn assessment reinforcing multidisciplinary working and collaboration in the provision of safe and effective outcomes for mothers and their babies.

What were the highlights?

The authors of the various chapters creatively manage to demonstrate evidence based practice through their systematic approaches which are in line with the Department of Health’s Healthy Child Programme and the UK National Screening Committee’s Newborn and Infant Physical Examination NIPE Standards and Competencies.  The edited chapters do come together well ensuring that the book does flow well without too much overlap.

Strengths and weaknesses?

The book is very well illustrated with tables, graphs, photographs and competencies.  Each chapter starts with key points and the book is well referenced clearly demonstrating the evidence base and areas for further reading including useful website addresses .  There are some areas of potential overlap but the Chapters are clearly cross-referenced and do help to further enhance knowledge.  Particular attention is given to various parts of the neonates body which may be frustrating to some healthcare professionals who use the book when the condition they require is not extensively covered.

Who should read it?

Midwives, Health Visitors, Neonatal Nurses, Junior Doctors and even some parents would benefit from and enjoy reading this book.

Perspectives on Cancer Care

1 December, 2011 Posted by: -

Title: Perspectives on Cancer Care

Author: Josephine (Tonks) N Fawcett and Anne McQueen

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell 2011

Reviewer: Hilary Jefferies, Previously Gynaecology Oncology CNS


What was it like?

‘Perspectives on Cancer Care’ has been described by its editors as a ‘reader’ and aims to inspire, offer insights, enhance knowledge and encourage best practice in the care of patients with cancer. There are 13 chapters and costs £29.99. Each chapter may be read as a ‘stand alone’ chapter for a specific disease site, for example primary malignant brain tumours and the management of rectal cancer  which provides details of the risks, signs and symptoms, primary and secondary treatment. Throughout the book there are useful case studies and mention of websites and additional reading.

What were the highlights?

Both editors are lecturers at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. About half the contributors are in cademia while the remainder work in the health care setting as Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Consultant or Physicians. This book was not written as a comprehensive guide to cancer care, but shares the ‘expert view’ of the contributors with the reader, thus the contents of the book may seem rather arbitrary.  For example the chapters on cancer pain and cancer related fatigue are excellent. They are well referenced and evidence-based. Other chapters contain statements that are not supported by evidence from nursing or medical journals. One view is expressed that in the care of a pregnant woman with cancer, the role of the midwife and the palliative care nurse are broadly similar, without reference to the differences in their knowledge and experience of cancer care.


While details of the Calman- Hine report (1995) are provided, the impact on patient care of the NHS Cancer Plan (2000) and the Cancer Reform Strategy (2007) is not included.

Strengths and weaknesses?

A strength of this book is that it includes the role of cancer genetics in the every day health care setting and the responsibilities of the research nurse in clinical trials. Both chapters provide insight into these nurses’ expertise and will be of great interest to nurses attracted to these roles as a career progression. A weakness is that one author states that there is no effective ovarian cancer screening available. Mention could have been given to the clinical trials using the CA 125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound and the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening study.

The lack of information from the patient’s perspective is a disappointing aspect of this book. Qualitative research and in particularphenomenological studies providing greater insights into the experience of having cancer could have been included, as could topics such as cost dilemmas for chemotherapy drugs, sexuality, spirituality and the use of advanced technology in cancer treatment.


Who should read it?

‘Perspectives on Cancer Care’ has been written to support undergraduate and postgraduate nurses. The chapter on the management of cancer pain will be particularly useful for all nurses caring for patients in hospitals and receiving care in the community.



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