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Book club: your reviews

All posts from: February 2012

Long-term conditions: Nursing care and management

28 February, 2012 Posted by: -


Title: Long-term conditions: Nursing care and management

Authors: Meerabeau L. and Wright K.

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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


What was it like?

The stated aim of this book is to help nurses gain a wide perspective on issues and experiences of people living their life with a long-term condition (LTC). A theme running throughout is the focus on developing partnerships with people who have LTCs, based on empathy and respect. This edition contains a lot of information in less than 300 pages, which only when one starts to read, it does become clear how much information it contains.

The authors argue that due to continuing demographic changes and persistent health inequalities, the UK needs a healthcare system that responds less to episodic relapses/remission of LTCs. They would like to see a system that  moves to one of case finding and case management, in the process becoming more responsive to the precise needs of people with LTCs.


The book deals with various policy developments, offers clinical guidance and concentrates on adults with physical illness. Sociological and psychological insights into the effects of LTC on individuals and families are developed along with some ideas on how counselling skills can help carers to be more responsive to patients’ needs. With this underpinning in place, the book moves to offer specific and useful guidance on the management of symptoms associated with LTC, such as fatigue, depression, stress, breathlessness and pain. There is also a useful section on medicines management. The final three chapters cover in detail the management of heart failure, respiratory disease and diabetes.

What were the highlights?

There is a multi-disciplinary feel to this book having contributors from specialist nurses, pharmacist, consultant anaesthetist and pain specialist, psychology and a counsellor.  Another useful element is the extensive range of helpful reference material at the end of each chapter.

Strengths and weaknesses?

A particular strength of this edition is the chapter on “Tommy’s story”, which uses the notion of the “expert patient” with LTC,   an account by a man who lives with several LTCs. There are valuable insights to be gleaned from this short but compelling section. This is a serious book, which is packed with information and some may choose to use it as a reference source for the extent of its material.

Who should read it?

Any (aspirant) community nurse, manager and policy guru may do well to read this book.  Anyone involved in education, may possibly consider it as course material. Although it may be more useful for students in the later stage of their pre-registration studies, pre-registration nursing students will find sections that will inform them and help develop knowledge, skills and awareness.


The Nightingale Shore Murder: The life and death of a Queen’s Nurse

13 February, 2012 Posted by: -


Title: The Nightingale Shore Murder: The life and death of a Queen’s Nurse

Author: Rosemary Cook

Publisher:Spire Publishing, 2011

Reviewer:Jenni Middleton, Editor, Nursing Times, EMAP


What was it like?

This fascinating murder mystery has it all – intrigue, historical insight about contemporary nursing during the first world war and family drama. No one to this day is exactly sure what happened to Florence Nightingale Shore on her last fateful train journey from London Victoria to Bexhill or who killed her, but Rosemary Cook takes readers through all the options, adding her own shrewd reflections to highlight where evidence contradicts the theories touted at the time.

I frequently travelled on parts of the train journey mentioned in this book when I had a job at Redhill, so the book had an extra appeal to me because I was familiar with the routes and stops mentioned. I also think the stories of nursing during the war were moving and interesting – showing how important nurses were to the safety of the public and the troops, and the high regard in which they were held.

There are mentions of Florence Nightingale Shore’s godmother and namesake, and those too are of interest to those fascinated by nursing’s pedigree and past.

What were the highlights?

Florence’s family are interesting – her father remarried to a much younger woman who didn’t outlive him, her brother led a military life and appeared to be quite vocal about Florence’s close relationship with Mabel (her nurse friend who was the last person to probably see Florence alive and conscious – besides the killer, of course)The book begins with the fateful train journey that was to be Florence’s last, and then tells the story of her life in a number of well-researched chapters. It uses family letters to fill in much of the detail and characterise the key players in Florence’s life.


The mystery surrounding the murder is examined in some detail at the end of the book where in the final chapters, Rosemary Cook unveils the suspects and offers up evidence that supports or counters suggestions of their involvement.

Strengths and weaknesses?

Rosemary Cook is an excellent writer, and the book has an easy to read structure and flow. I was quickly absorbed by the personalities of the story, and found it an accessible historical text, as well as a good story. The unsolved mystery may leave people who want to know what really happened a little unfulfilled, but as this is a true story and the case was always unsolved, you can’t rewrite the history.

Who should read it?

For anyone who loves true life crime and nursing, this is a must read.


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