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Book club: your reviews

All posts from: October 2012

Care Planning in Children and Young People’s Nursing

22 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Care Planning in Children and Young People’s Nursing

Edited by: Doris Corkin, Sonya Clarke, Lorna Liggett

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Reviewer: Alison Taylor, paediatric practice development nurse, Western Sussex Hospitals Trust

What was it like?

As a nurse teacher I find that sometimes there is a poor understanding of the purpose of a care plan and indeed how to write one. This comprehensive textbook provides a great guide to this crucial part of nursing children and young people and discusses it from a wide variety of angles. Written by a large team of expert contributors, this text uses a scenario based approach to illustrate good care planning for a wide variety of conditions seen by childrens’ nurses in both hospital and community settings.


What were the highlights? 

The book is helpfully divided into sections. The first introduces principles of care planning, and clearly explains the need for and implications of care planning from many viewpoints, each with its own chapter. These include safeguarding, law and ethics and long term care. This serves to link theory and practice well.

The second section onwards deals with different illnesses and care needs, organised into groups. Each chapter begins with a case history of a child and 4-5 questions relating to the child’s care. Each question is then answered in turn, continually linking theory drawn from physiology, pathology, core nursing principles and psychosocial considerations with the practical application of care to the child in the scenario. This format really makes theoretical concepts come to life and the text refers throughout to nursing models commonly used in the UK, encouraging a systematic approach to planning care.

Although the chapters are constructed differently and employ several types of introductory questions, each forms an excellent guide and rich source of knowledge for planning the care of a child with the specific condition explored. The text is punctuated by helpful tables, photos, illustrations and activities to aid learning. A comprehensive reference list appears at the end of each chapter and appropriate national clinical guidelines are well used.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The organisation of the book is rather curious. Although it has clearly not intended to cover every condition, I was surprised by the omission of pneumonia and urinary tract infection, two of the commonest acute illnesses in infants and children.

The chapter on sexual health sits incongruously with the introductory principles and perhaps should be with the other clinical chapters later on in the book. Chapters on epilepsy, nut allergy, closed head injury and obesity are oddly grouped together in a section titled “Care of children and young persons with special needs”’.

I would like to have seen a chapter on documentation. Although covered in the first section, more detail and perhaps examples of good and poor written records would have been helpful. I find documentation is a skill that is not often taught but has to develop with experience and poor documentation seems to be at the root of many clinical incidents.

Who should read it?

The book is aimed at undergraduate students, but would serve as an excellent resource for any nurse wanting to improve his or her skills in planning children and young people’s care.

Valuing People with a Learning Disability

19 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Valuing People with a Learning Disability

Author: Steve Mee

Publisher: M&K Publishing

Reviewer: Paul Watson, teacher of secondary mathematics and PSHE coordinator

What was it like?

This hard-hitting look at the day-to-day interactions that occur with and around people with learning disabilities includes many short examples of situations where people have encountered, or been subjected to undesirable behaviors. By reading these snippets, readers are forced to encounter and review their own actions and beliefs, hopefully modifying what they might now be aware of as inappropriate. Each scenario is accompanied by detailed discussions about perceptions and outcomes, often leaving the reader questioning themselves (What would I have done in that situation?).


What were the highlights? 

I really enjoyed reading this book, finding particular interest in the many short stories about given situations. At times I could see where my own behavior has been below par in certain circumstances; at others it made me incensed at the way “We” behave around others, sometimes with a lack of true understanding. I hope that as I have grown and matured I have become far more understanding and tolerant of others and their needs, but will happily pick up this book from time to time to ensure I don’t forget!

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is an easy-to-read book, filled with interesting and poignant stories that capture the emotions and imagination. For this reason, and its clear structure the book becomes difficult to put down once you have started to read. Each chapter introduces a particular area of theory and illustrates it with uniquely powerful, memorable stories from practice as well as examples from recent news and historic accounts. Reading the book will give practitioners new insight, empathy and sensitivity that will make a lasting difference to their practice. It invites practitioners to truly reflect on whether they can claim to value the people they support.

Who should read it?

I would like to think that anyone who is working with or related to any one with a learning disability, would benefit from this book. However, the people who most need to read it and have most to learn from it are probably those who more often than not “miss the point”. It is therefore, crucial that those of us who are willing to assess our own flaws read this book, to assure our own understanding and learning. Hopefully this will help us to instill good behaviors and policy in others.

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care Nursing

18 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Oxford Handbook of Critical Care Nursing

Author:  Sheila Adam and Sue Osborne

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2009 (reprinted 2010)

Reviewer: Rebecca Bailey-McHale, community health nurse, Isle of Man

What was it like?

The Oxford handbook of critical care nursing is a really useful little bit of equipment. It is a neatly packaged A-Z of all things in critical care. The chapters are easy to navigate and the contents list is systematic and precise enabling you to dip in and out of the relevant sections without becoming disorientated or lost in the text. The first three chapters introduce the reader to what is critical care, how to recognise a patient who is becoming critically unwell and what to expect to see in the critical care environment. The subsequent chapters guide you through a methodical tour of each of the human physiological systems and the specific critical care concerns associated with them. The treatments and monitoring required for each problem and handy reminders of how to provide practical care in what can be an exceedingly challenging environment are also discussed.  Chapter four is particularly welcome as it highlights the importance of fundamental basic care skills such as communication, oral hygiene and how to prioritise care. This aspect of critical care can be overlooked in other critical care literature. 


What were the highlights? 

The book succinctly gives clear definitions of all aspects of critical care and takes it back to basics without dumbing down the complexities of care. It covers everything from assessment to evaluating, physiology to drug therapies. This edition starts with an abbreviation and symbols list, which will serve as a handy reminder for anybody not routinely working in critical care but who comes into contact with critical patients and their records.  

Strengths & weaknesses?

It really is difficult to find a weakness in this book. It is dead easy to understand, covers a wide range of topics, and is informative, instructive and interesting to read.  It is an effective memory jogger for all aspects of critical care. The book skilfully cross references other chapters to sign post the reader to pertinent topics. There are a number of useful tables and diagrams to further clarify the topic under discussion.

Who should read it?

This book would be useful for anybody working within an acute inpatient setting as the topics covered are also relevant out of the critical care setting. Those working currently in critical care would find this book a useful aide memoire. The book would be a must for any adult field student nurse and would be useful not only in critical care settings but across a range of practice placements.

Monitoring the Critically Ill Patient (Third Edition)

17 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Monitoring the Critically Ill Patient (Third Edition)

Authors: Philip Jevon, Beverly Ewens

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Reviewer: Joanne Thompson, senior sister in critical care, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

What was it like?

This is a comprehensive guide to monitoring critically ill patients, covering all major body systems. Vitally, there are chapters on recognising and assessing the deteriorating patient, and with the increasing demand on critical care beds, it is essential that ward nurses are able to recognise the deteriorating patient and seek help quickly. It is a small book that can be kept close at hand for times of need, as well as being used as a revision text.


What were the highlights? 

There are five new chapters in this latest edition including monitoring the critically ill child and pregnant patient. Learning objectives are identified at the beginning of each chapter, and useful scenarios help to put the information into context.

Strengths & weaknesses?

The authors of this book are senior and experienced critical care nurses and the language of the book reflects this. However, as the book is useful to nurses outside of critical care in addition to junior critical care nurses, I feel that a glossary of terms would have been helpful to allow the reader to understand the text in its entirety. This has been provided in the respiratory chapter, and could be extended further. The layout is clear and easy to navigate if searching for something in particular. A chapter on record keeping concludes the book, something that is often overlooked in similar texts but is important in monitoring the critically ill patient, as it is the trend of data that gives us the most information, not information in isolation.

Who should read it?

This would be a helpful guide for nurses working in any acute setting; acute wards, coronary care, critical care outreach or the emergency department. It is also a good introductory tool for critical care nurses explaining the principles of assessment, different types of invasive monitoring and waveforms and so on.

(Re)Thinking violence in Health Care settings. A critical approach

16 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: (Re)Thinking violence in Health Care settings.  A critical approach

Edited by: Dave Holmes,Trudy Rudge and Mélie Perron

Publisher: Ashgate 2012

Reviewer: Hannah Marriage, staff nurse, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

 What was it like?

As the title suggests, this book concentrates on re-thinking violence within the workplace, and is divided into three sections.  First up is  the less identifiable form of violence: institutional and managerial violence. Here the editors have put together a selection of research, which highlights how institutional ideas, such as budget cuts, could be considered as violence on the staff who work under the organisation. Secondly they look at a  slightly more but still not overly discussed form of violence, horizontal violence. In this section  the editors focus on research regarding violence on staff by staff.  This includes issues around professional boundaries such as nursing hierarchy and the nurse-doctor relationship, as well as sexism and racism to name a few. Then the authors cover the most common and spoke about form of violence, that from patients to staff. The editors corroborate research on various forms of violence by patients, including verbal and physical in various healthcare settings on staff. This division and the clear chapter titles, allows the reader to find research, which clearly suits their desired needs.


What were the highlights?

This book has done exactly what the title suggests, encouraging the reader to re-think violence within the workplace, especially within the first and some of the second part of this book. The editors have identified through their research selection, specific issues that most people would not consider as “violence” per se, allowing the reader to challenge their own initial view on the topic.

Strengths & Weaknesses:

Each chapter within the sections are individual pieces of research and read well as such. However, as a book, I did not feel it read well going one chapter to the next. The book also covers national ideas on violence as well as all healthcare settings, though the focus tends to be more on mental health, specifically forensic services, and most of the research has come from America or Australia, so does not fully relate to UK workforces and work systems.

Who should read it?

Anyone who works within healthcare who would like to challenge themselves over violence within the workforce.

Comments (1)

Developing Reflective Practice, A guide for Health and Social care, students and practitioners

11 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Developing Reflective Practice, A guide for Health and Social care, students and practitioners

Author: Natius Oelofsen

Publisher: Lantern Publishing Ltd, 2012

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear, 1st year adult student nurse

What was it like?

Developing Reflective Practice is a thorough and concise book enabling students, qualified nurses and any other health professional to become confident reflective practitioners within their own field.

I found this book to be an informative tool for students due to the layout, which includes reflective activities throughout each chapter. This enables the reader to challenge ideas and address them in practice scenarios.


What were the highlights? 

From the beginning it is evident that this book will encourage a student to become used to keeping practice journals or diaries of events. And then the reflective exercises enable you to question whether the concepts and techniques that have been put in place during placements and practicals have been  utilised.

I also enjoyed the chapter “When the going gets tough”. This chapter discusses stress on frontline services and that as a practitioner you will be faced with challenging  and sometimes difficult emotional situations that can affect your own morale and general wellbeing. Here the author discusses strategies to enable you to see signs of stress and even burnout and act upon them. I felt reflective activities would be beneficial here for an individual and also group situations.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Particularly good chapter summaries, which help you identify key points throughout each chapter, enabling you to conclude and reflect well on each area of study. Also there are sections at the end of each chapter for further reading, which are informative, enabling us all to become reflective practitioners and to  be able to deliver high quality care to the service users and also to the colleagues we work with.

Who should read it?

I felt overall this book was a well-written and educational tool particularly for a nursing student and even a social work student. As a student reflection is a key element within nursing studies, I feel this book would most certainly assist a nursing student within this key area.

My Health, My Faith, My Culture: A guide for healthcare practitioners

11 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: My Health, My Faith, My Culture: A guide for healthcare practitioners

Author: Sue Timmins

Publisher: M&K Publishing, 2012

Reviewer: Renée Francis, senior lecturer in learning disability nursing, London South Bank University

What was it like?

In My Health, My Faith, My Culture, Sue Timmins provides a strong argument for the importance of considering patients’ religious beliefs and practices when providing care. The book is divided into two sections. The first provides an introduction and background to the relationship between health, culture and faith and outlines key areas to consider during a healthcare consultation. The second part of the book focuses on major world religions and outlines key areas such as basic principles, diet, potential issues related to clinical interventions and matters surrounding births and deaths. The book has arisen from the author’s original research from 2000, and this perhaps makes some of the background information feel dated. For example, a significant number of sources in the reference list date from before 2000.


What were the highlights? 

The author’s aim in writing the book is to assist healthcare practitioners at all levels to provide services that are sensitive to patients’ cultural and religious needs and wishes. The information about major world religions is presented in a simple and accessible way, which will help healthcare practitioners to access information about unfamiliar faiths quickly. This section could benefit from information about how to address religious leaders if the practitioner needs to contact them. Information about how the various faith groups view health, illness and disability would also be useful. Although understanding views of illness may not impact directly on care in the same way that, for example, knowing after-death rituals would, this understanding can give healthcare practitioners insight as to how the patient and family or carers will interpret their condition and treatment, which may impact upon their management.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Sue Timmins rightly points out that each individual will observe the requirements of their religion in their own way. It is therefore important to be able to discuss any individual wishes with patients. Although the author gives a list of questions to be considered before and during consultations, it would have been helpful to explore in a bit more depth how to have this conversation. While patients would welcome someone taking an interest in their faith, practitioners may be afraid of causing offence.

Who should read it?

My Health, My Faith, My Culture would be useful to nursing students and to any nurse or healthcare assistant who is supporting someone from an unfamiliar faith group for the first time.


The Care of Wounds – a guide for nurses (Fourth Edition)

11 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: The Care of Wounds – a guide for nurses (Fourth Edition)

Author: Carol Dealey

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell, 2012

Reveiwer:  Mark Collier, lead nurse/consultant – tissue viability, United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust

What was it like?

As the title suggests, this well-written book, by a respected author on the subject, has been unashamedly written primarily for nurses. In the opinion of the reviewer, this publication will be of most use to students and newly qualified staff, although it might also be of use to staff “returning to the subject” or to support a course of study.

Given the multidisciplinary nature of wound management, however, it is a shame that this book does not really acknowledge this in any detail.



What were the highlights? 

The text is generally well written, referenced and easy to read/access and the seven chapters overall cover the main aspects of the subject as a whole. The contents include chapters on the physiology of wound healing; the management of patients with wounds; general principles of wound management; wound management products; the management of patients with chronic wounds; the management of patients with acute wounds and the organisation of wound management.

Strengths & weaknesses:

It is a pity, however, that on the first page, given the author’s professional background, that the term pressure sore is identified in the list of definitions associated with wounds, especially as the author states that the book will be of use to those of you providing care to patients with wounds

In fairness, in chapter five the author reverts back to using the more up-to-date and relevant professional terminology/definition – pressure ulcer – as agreed by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel in 1997.

Although this book attempts to cover a large number of related topics relevant to the main subject matter, which could be considered as strength, it could also be considered a weakness of this publication, as as a result, most - not all - topics are dealt with generically, which leaves the readerhaving  to go elsewhere if they want to know more

The highlights of the book are undoubtedly the chapter on general principles of wound management, which is a valuable and informative section that will be of assistance to all readers and the section on pressure ulcer in the chapter on chronic wound management - not surprisingly.

Who should read it?

In summary, this text will prove to be a useful ”dip in” book for those involved with wounds and the reader will be grateful for the inclusion/reference to a large number and range of scoring tools/classification systems and relevant charts all in one place.

Practice in Mental Health-Substance Misuse

8 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Practice in Mental Health-Substance Misuse

Edited By: David B Cooper

Published by: Radcliffe Publishing

Reviewer: Michaela McAndrew, community mental health nurse

What was it like?

This is one of a series of six books that explore the interface between substance misuse and mental health. This particular volume focuses on practice in this field. The first seven chapters concentrate on the substance used and its impact on mental health and how this can be addressed, for example there is a chapter on alcohol, one on nicotine, one on cannabis.The second section of the book focuses on the different types of service user that may present to services and how their life stage or experiences may impact on their mental health and substance use, for example older adults, young adults and people who are experiencing PTSD. The final chapters relate to specific therapeutic approaches. Each chapter includes some information, an explanation about how this affects the individual and some self-assessment and case study work to allow the reader to apply the information to a practical setting.


What were the highlights? 

For me the highlight is the chapter regarding dialectical behaviour therapy and its use in this area as this is still relatively new and while I have heard this is an area under research, it is the first time I have come across it in this type of workbook.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I feel the layout of the book is user friendly, the exercises and case studies are particularly useful and enable an easy application of the theory to settings that are often encountered in practice. The acknowledgement of the interface between substance misuse and mental health services is also refreshing as many textbooks start from the “perfect world” scenario, this one acknowledges the challenges and difficulties. The only weakness I felt was that some of the exercises were possibly below the understanding level of the professionals the book was aimed at.

Who should read it?

The foreword explains that the series of books are written for mental health and substance misuse professionals in an attempt to bridge the gap that exists between these services. While this would be the obvious audience, I feel that this volume in particular would be useful to nurses in primary care settings and also in emergency settings.

Adult Nursing: Acute and Ongoing Care

4 October, 2012 Posted by: -

Title: Adult Nursing: Acute and Ongoing Care

Authors: Priscilla Lemone, Karen Burke, Ian Peate, Muralithan Nair, Laureen Hemming and Karen Wild

Publisher: Pearson 2012

Reviewer: Robert Becker, independent lecturer in palliative care

What was it like?

This is a multi-authored reference book that is competing in perhaps the most competitive area there is for a nursing text book, that is to win the hearts, minds and money of cash-strapped university libraries, get onto module reading lists and more importantly to be seen as a core purchase for the many thousands of student nurses in the UK each year. It’s important to understand that this book is written primarily by British authors for a UK market despite the lead authors being American and as such has a style and relevance that is spot on for the intended audience. In this regards its bang up to date and does its job well indeed with extensive reference to the practice NMC competencies, the use of learning outcomes, reflective points and suggested care plans being good examples of this.    

This is a large book at close to 700 pages and the 17 chapters cover in detail the nursing care of all the most common areas that nurses are likely to encounter in clinical practise. By approaching each chapter via bodily systems rather than medical conditions they have avoided the pitfalls of over medicalisation and kept the accent on nursing. Alongside the well-designed pathophysiology component the emphasis is strongly on careful assessment, the use of recognised evidenced based tools and practical management strategies all presented in a user friendly way that makes this book stand out from the crowd.


What were the highlights? 

The well-laid out text is easy to navigate with extensive use of case studies as an introduction, good-quality diagrams, bullet points and the use of emoticons with small snippets of text in colour coded boxes to help break up the text. Visually this works well and enhances presentation greatly. Some academics may not like this and I have read critical reviews of similar books where authors have been accused of dumbing down the presentation by their use. Clearly they’ve not spoken to many student nurses, because this is just what they find helpful.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Each chapter concludes with a useful summary of the main points, internet resources, a bibliography and some challenging multiple choice tests.

While the book is extensively evidence-based reference to the literature cited is surprisingly sparse in the text and what is perhaps most confusing for the intended UK audience, the reference lists are called the bibliography. Chapter one is the only place where you will find legal and ethical issues discussed, which is a missed opportunity, as awareness of such issues is integral to the complex care management addressed in the book and it deserves to be better integrated. Equally there is scant reference to the spiritual component, the multicultural element and perhaps most surprising of all, communication and the skills needed to build a trusting relationship with the patient feature on just half of one page.   

Who should read it?

Overall, however, this is a high-quality, well-written textbook, which is user friendly, strikes just the right balance of detail and has a good focus on building learning. Well worthy of purchase as it can be used throughout the three-year programme and beyond.    

Comments (1)

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