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Book club: your reviews

Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

11 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

Edited by: Louis Galambos and Jeffrey L Sturchio

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Rebecca Myatt

What was it like?

Chronic and non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, are a rapidly growing contributor to death and disability worldwide. It is estimated that in 2010 alone over 44 million deaths were attributable to these factors, 80% of which were in low and middle income countries. 

This small but powerful book written by the non-communicable disease working group, considers the background behind these stark statistics and offers insight into how the problems can be addressed. Discussion includes how we can learn from the successes of the fight against malaria, HIV and TB in the developing world and the success of local policies such as health initiatives in New York.

The chapters are in the form of essays, which cover areas such as creating a global regulatory framework to improve access to essential medicines and treatment, as well as understanding and overcoming the structural obstacles to this, learning from the success of the campaign for treatment of the HIV epidemic and involving the pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies to help improve patient compliance.

The role of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment in primary care, and the financial constraints on these, is considered in a later chapter along with discussion on the importance of putting political mandates into practical actions.

The burden of non-communicable diseases is staggering, and the final chapter draws together the preceding themes, and considers the implications of improved collaboration and co-ordination to enable policy innovation, for the betterment of all society.

What were the highlights? 

Although this is an academic subject, the book is extremely well presented and straightforward to read. The chapters are structured, leading the reader through the important concepts and offering suggestions for action.  It is well written and accessible to those with an interest in this field.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Data presentation is extremely clear, with graphs, tables and case studies used to highlight important points within the text. Each chapter is has a detailed reference list at the end to enable further reading.

Who should read it?

This book would be relevant to any nurse with an academic interest in global health issues and politics, as well as those with a specific interest in overseas health policy, or those considering work in developing countries.

 

Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

Engaging People in Service Development

10 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Engaging People in Service Development

Author: Brian Dolan

Publisher: Fink in Organisations

Reviewer: Anne Olaitan, community matron, South East London

What was it like?

FINK  is a  publication, which is aimed at supporting service employers with effective communication. The authors have backgrounds in life coaching, yet the topics and strategies around communication can be applied to any service setting. The content is presented on a series of cards that are colour coded according to the area of communication being explored. Each card has a statement about effective working from either a personal or service perspective. The first three cards offer tips on how to use the framework. 

What were the highlights?

The pack covers the following areas: Patient Safety, Improving Patient Experience, Skills Prompt, Staff Well-being and  Efficiency and Effectiveness.  All of these areas appear to match the philosophy of NHS initiatives, such as benchmarking and patient experience. I found this format a manageable read as it condenses large chunks of information into bite-size pieces and is portable and versatile which allows choice on whether to cover an area or a single quote.

However, the section on skills prompt is brief in comparison to the other sections. Yet the focus on how to overcome barriers in communication and detailed examples can add to a person’s existing knowledge around this subject. The pack contains tools on common mistakes, which are found to be made during 1-1 interactions, can help to place emphasis on continued reflection on one’s own communication style.

A particular highlight was the Improving staff and well-being section, a useful and relevant source of information for today’s challenging work environments.  I thought this section instilled a sense of personal responsibility which added credence to the  term ‘everybody counts’ and links any changes to positive patient outcomes.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A Strength is that this format encourages someone to use a spontaneous approach without the need for an index. The advantages are the durability of the cards as opposed to paper, very clear colourful graphics and information.

Who should read it?

As all service employers are responsible for quality and outcomes within the NHS, I would recommend these cards to every person who works for the NHS, such as administration and reception staff, students, medical staff and all nursing staff. Furthermore the cards can service as format for team building exercises.

Engaging People in Service Development

End of Life Care a Guide for Therapists, Artists and Art Therapists

5 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: End of Life Care a Guide for Therapists, Artists and Art Therapists

Authors: Nigel Hartley

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 2014

Reviewer: Robert Becker, independent lecturer in Palliative Care

What was it like?

This is a book that focuses on the creative arts and their use in multiple end of life care settings. It offers a comprehensive guide to the many current challenges of providing a service in this much undervalued area of care and along the way dispels many of the stereotypes and misconceptions often held by other professionals about what it is that Art Therapists actually do. It is divided into three parts with part one examining the current political and economic climate, with parts two and three looking at teamwork and communication and the use of research and personal professional development.

What were the highlights?

I particularly liked part one and for those of us with little or no knowledge of the background to palliative care development in the UK and beyond it offers a succinct and well written account. It’s a challenging text and rightly so, pulling no punches with regard to the testing professional climate we all work in, yet is written in a fluent accessible style with real compassion and a sensitive insight into the personal nature of the work itself. 

There are multiple short case studies used throughout the text to good effect with a sparing use of graphics and references are cited at the end of each chapter. The author also brings in the lived experience of a number of therapists to the text which gives it a credibility and realism that other more academic books often lack.  

I’m a big fan of the use of the creative arts and have witnessed many times a skilled therapist facilitating the highly personal story telling that is such a core part of so much of what good palliative care is all about. The need to tell our story in whatever way we can is part of being human and Nigel Hartley demonstrates with great wisdom, sometimes humour and always respect and dignity, just how powerful and important this role is.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There are no real weaknesses in this book per se and it does exactly as it sets out to do with no pretentions. Perhaps a note of caution here is warranted for some readers. This is not a “how to do it” book for amateur therapists who may think that facilitating such work is straightforward and can be done on the cheap by any aspiring professional with a musical or artistic flair. This book sets the case, quite rightly for a well funded and professional service that is integral to end of life care wherever it takes place and is a valuable addition to limited literature available in this area.

Who should read it?

In truth this is not a book that nurses will potentially read as it is aimed squarely at existing therapists and those wanting to enter the field. In that regard it does an excellent job and is to be recommended.

End of life care

All patients great and small. Tales of a rural district nurse

4 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: All patients great and small. Tales of a rural district nurse

 Author: Zoe C Lloyd

 Publisher: Balboa Press. A division of Ha House.

 Reviewer: Helen Reeves. clinical nurse manager. St Giles Walsall Hospice

What was it like?

All patients great and small, tales of a rural district nurse is a biography that looks at the tales of modern life district nurse. The book looks at the tales of 13 patients that the author has encountered and what each patient has taught her. 

What were the highlights?

The honest nature of this book and the storytelling of the author enthrall the reader in wanting to know more. It highlights the complex and often challenging circumstances that district nurses work under and the different patients that they encounter on a day to day basis. The vast array of patients documented and the stories that they have to tell are a joy to read and remind us how unique each and every person is and how important it is to treat each person individually. The book also highlights beautifully the sometimes not so pleasant nature of a nurses job, when faced with prejudice or with patients who are less than welcoming. Zoe approaches these issues with tact and demonstrates how each situation was handled.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Each patient story transports you into the day to day life of a district nurse. The honest, funny and sometimes upsetting accounts make you appreciate that nursing is not always about what we have trained for but sometimes the unexpected, the herding in of sheep after breaking the news that a relative has suddenly died. It highlights beautifully the challenges that district nurses encounter and the unpredictable nature of their jobs and the patients that they care for. The relaxed writing style and reflective accounts make you feel that you know each patient.

Who should read it?

This book would be good for nurses considering a change into district nursing. While this is a book that looks at the modern day life as district nurse this book would be appropriate for anyone. It is a great read that reminds us all of the unique nature of life and the people that we encounter on a day to day basis and the stories that they have to share. 

 

All patients great and small. Tales of a rural district nurse

 

 

Heroic Measures

23 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Heroic Measures

Author: Jo-Ann Power

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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

What was it like?

Jo-Ann Power has written a book of fiction honouring those who have served their country in war. She concentrates on a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured. We are told the story of nurse Gwen Spencer, an orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt. We learn that Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making. Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos we hear how she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with. But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

What were the highlights? 

I have to confess that I was not able to get past the first chapter. I am not a great fan of fiction and certainly not this type of book. I did however pass it on to my wife who picked it up and read the lot. The review that I now give is as a response to her comments and thoughts about the book; “The story was interesting and exciting with twists and plots that kept the attention. A romantic story that developed from a situation, like many other young people’s lives. This story takes and exciting ride, however, when Gwen bravely pushes up to the front line and falls in love. A good read” (so my wife said).

Strengths & weaknesses:

I struggled to get going at all and had to put it down. The sentence construction was poor and the plot was slow to get going. The overall story was not one that could hold my attention and this was not helped, in my opinion, by the disjointed construction and lack of connectives. My wife, on the other hand, highlighted that the further in to the book she got the better all of this became, with the fluidity of the book becoming much more harmonious with the increasingly exciting story line.

Who should read it?

If you are a fan of “Chick Flicks” or “Romance Novels” then this is for you. I am a man about to turn 40 and was not able to get into this book, my 16yr old daughter was utterly frustrated by the beginning of the book, with characters and details that just managed to confuse. My wife though, thought that this was an interesting read, and as such has now taken ownership of the book. I am sure that there are many well discerning women (and men) like my wife who will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Story Within

23 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: The Story Within  

Author: Amy Boesky 

Publisher: John Hopkins University Press

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

What was it like?

The author has compiled a group of essays about genetic disorders from around fifteen different contributors, all dealing with issues such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, deafness and schizophrenia as examples. It shows just how complex this is. It makes genetics more human.

I found this thought provoking, moving and extremely interesting.

What were the highlights? 

I found this extremely interesting to read from an individual prospective. “The Long Arm” by Clare Dunsford was fascinating in telling how Fragile X Syndrome affects not only the child or adult with it, but previous generations.

The authors have put a personal touch to this, rather than just a book about genetic disorders.

I grew up in a time when genetics was not talked about and people were labelled with their disorders and we grew up in fear rather than understanding. Since reading this book I have a better understanding and empathy. 

It is thought provoking and testing for the reader to decide whether to have tests, to have children or to speak to members of their families.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The authors cover a variety of stories concerning genetic circumstances and theses are both moving and at times quite emotional for the reader. This is real life and complicated. It helps the reader to empathise and more importantly to understand.

I found that reading this from sixteen authors gave this a varied approach to the subjects.

The notes section was extremely valuable as it listed each of the stories and gave valuable further information and references.

One aspect I felt was not a true reflection was concerning True Stories About How We Die, the view of hospitals not being as good as hospices. I felt this was unsubstantiated as there are excellent hospitals that are committed to patients being cared for properly at the end of life.

Who should read it?

As this book explores complex issues surrounding genetic identity this is applicable for all healthcare professionals who care for patients and the need for great understanding of genetics.

 

The Story Within

Mastering Simulation

17 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Mastering Simulation  

Authors:  Beth Ulrich and Beth Mancini

Publisher: Sigma Theta Tau International, 2014

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

What was it like?

This book is primarily for practitioners who are involved or are designing training simulation sessions.

It describes the use of simulation in various clinical settings from the beginning through to future resources and creativeness. It contains some excellent examples of simulated experiences and an easy to read guide for developing a simulation plan.

Being able to evidence competencies is a requirement through NMC and other regulatory bodies. As stated by the authors both technology and techniques change so quickly simulation is an important part of being competent and being able to care for patients effectively.

What were the highlights? 

This has an easy to read guide for developing a simulation plan. Although written in the US this is an excellent and practical guide to the development of simulated experiences. I found that the authors explore scenario development for a lot of requirements including risk management and quality improvement in both the nurse academic setting and hospital environments. They discuss evaluation and debriefing, as well as the future of simulation.

The book highlights processes for development and use in many areas.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a user friendly handbook, with well set out scenarios and the authors have provided comprehensible and succinct examples that could be easily adapted to a variety of healthcare settings.

This has been well researched with a host of authors with differing backgrounds who have come together with their knowledge and expertise to write this textbook. Although written for professionals working in the US, it is just as apt and relevant to the UK.

I found no weaknesses.

Who should read it?

This is a specialist textbook and would be useful to a nurse educator/practitioner on the unit/ward/training department/school, to other professional such as theatre and ITU professionals, who are interested in working with simulated experiences.

 

Mastering Simulation

Renal Nursing, fourth edition

16 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Renal Nursing, fourth edition   

Edited by: Nicola Thomas

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

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

What was it like?

This is a concise evidence based text book for all nurses working in renal nursing. This has been updated and is now in its fourth edition. This is a comprehensive book covering all aspects of kidney and renal disorders. It provides the skills and knowledge to give support, treatment and high standard of care.

What were the highlights?

This book has been updated and if I were working in this speciality, this would be my bible. The anatomy and physiology sections are in-depth, written well and flows easily to be easily understood by the reader. The diagrams are well set out.

In each chapter there are learning outcomes, which sets the reader onto the right path immediately. I found the history of dialysis and transplantation a fascinating and enlightening read.

The section on patient and carer involvement was an interesting read, including case studies and the use of support groups on social media.

I found the chapter on quality improvement and patient safety a welcome part of the whole process not only acknowledging the patient but safety and best practice.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is written by a renal nursing consultant and senior lecturer in the UK. It is written for the UK health care setting.

This book equips the nurse working in a renal environment to use this as a tool to provide the practical care of their patients.

It is well written and has up to date referencing. Reading though the book there are no weaknesses this covers every aspect of renal nursing – even exploring the illegal aspects of people selling their organs.

Who should read it?

This book is for all nursing staff including student nurses caring for the renal patient. This would be valuable for allied health professionals such as specialist pharmacists and renal dietitians. It would also be apt for a junior doctor requiring further information.

This book needs to be on every renal department shelf so that staff can ensure the highest standards for their patients.

Renal Nursing, fourth edition

Managing Minor Musculoskeletal Injuries and Conditions

16 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Managing Minor Musculoskeletal Injuries and Conditions

Author: David Bradley

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

Reviewer: Anne Duell, registered general nurse, Birmingham Community NHS Trust

What was it like?

This book presents a learning experience encompassing a variety of musculoskeletal injuries; it covers from anatomy and physiology, history taking and examination through to documentation, x-ray interpretation and the legal and ethical issues. Incorporated into this is an overview about a number of minor musculoskeletal conditions and injuries we may be presented with.

It is written in a manner, which facilitates a distance learning approach and supports independent learning. 

What were the highlights? 

The highlights to this book are the additional resources available free on-line, which work in conjunction with the book to support learning at one’s own pace. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book is its ability to work at a variety of levels. It can be employed by an individual learner or by a lecturer employing it as a text to support academic learning of students. The book provides the basics which encourages its readers to access further information on-line to enhance their clinical learning skills.  This book is a long term resource and is not designed to be a quick read but it designed to be a learning tool.

Who should read it?

It should be read by all who work in minor injury units or desire to learn more about minor injuries, which may be presented in their area of work. Academic tutors who teach within an emergency care course would be recommended to review this text to consider it to either supplement their modules or to refer to their students as an additional learning resource that may work alongside some of their taught modules. 

Managing minor musculoskeletal injuries

Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process: Lessons And Experiences From Around The World

8 October, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process: Lessons And Experiences From Around The World.

Edited by : Monica O’Mullane

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Rebecca Bailey-McHale, lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester.

What was it like?

This is the first book of its kind to share global experiences of how Health Impact Assessment can be integrated into policy processes. The contents clearly set out the array of topics covered and the global contributors who range from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia to name a few. Chapters 4-17 share the global experiences with examples vary and include such discussions as assessing the impact of health impact assessment in policy making by analysing the differences between two health impact assessments conducted in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some of the chapters e.g. chapter 8 utilise case studies to demonstrate how health impact assessment occurs in relation to the major actors in key institutions involved with health impact assessment. Chapter 14 is particularly interesting as it looks at the history of health impact assessment in Africa and examines previous projects that have impacted negatively on health and moves on to look at how there is a movement of change in health impact assessment  currently. Each chapter has a similar template; it begins with a chapter introduction followed by the main body of the discussion. Each chapter ends with a conclusion and a specific chapter bibliography. There is a good use of tables and graphics. The book is easy to read and can be dipped into for relevant chapters as independent pieces without needing to read the whole book in entirety. However chapters two and three are important to read as they remind you of the fundamental issues relating to health impact assessment e.g. the determinants of health and what health impact assessment actually means in realistic terms. Some chapters offer ideas and practical solutions, others offer research recommendations for future practice. Some chapters also offer a generic learning section, keenly displayed in bulleted lists.

While this book may be viewed as a bit heavy going its practical use of real life studies, health impact assessments and their application, actually make it a really quite interesting read.

What were the highlights? 

The concept of this book offers new perspectives in bringing global examples together in one book. It uses a good range of global resources from 1st world examples to 3rd world examples. The book is awarded three forewords from key people from Spain, Thailand and the U.K, all who have experience in working in health and health impact assessment and now work for their respective governments.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book’s contributors are from mixed professional backgrounds ranging from research scientists, lecturers, health promotion managers and directors of public health, to name a few. This book makes the practical examples appealing to more than nursing professionals. At the beginning of the book there is a concise abbreviation list, however the chapters contain a lot of abbreviations so at times it is tricky to remember what they all are and so have to keep referring back to that list. The reader is offered use of a thorough index and chapter bibliographies.

Who should read it?

A whole range of professionals would find this book interesting including student nurses, public health nurses, and academics teaching public health, public health managers and policy makers.

Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process

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