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Book club: your reviews

Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care. A Practical Guide

20 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care. A Practical Guide.

Author: Helen Aveyard

Publisher: Open University Press

Reviewer: Carol Singleton Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside.

What was it like?

This is the third edition of this excellent book first published in 2007 and although I have produced literature reviews for many years, I still found it helpful to be able to follow this well set out process. The chapters start with why you should do a literature review, to which literature will be relevant, how to search, how to critically appraise the literature, how to analyse your findings, how to discuss your findings and make recommendations and finally frequently asked questions.

What were the highlights?

The “Frequently asked Questions” chapter draws together all the other chapters enabling you to present your completed literature review, providing guidance to the contents you should include and detailing what each section should contain. This chapter ends with a list of eleven “top tips”, the final one been, above all, make sure you answer the research question!

Strengths & weaknesses:

There is a glossary, references and an index at the end of the book, each chapter ends with “key points” to remind you of the areas covered in the chapter you have just read, and there are useful examples highlighted in boxes. I found the list of commonly held databases helpful and while not exhaustive, it does cover the ones required by researcher in health and social care. I would have found a list of further reading or websites helpful.

Who should read it?

This book would be invaluable for anybody undertaking a dissertation or research work involving a literature review and also for “old hands” to remind them of the process required to review and appraise evidence in an efficient and understandable manner.


Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care

The Nurses Survival Guide: A Simple ABC

19 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: The Nurses Survival Guide: A Simple ABC

Author: Adam Simon

Publisher: Self published

Reviewer: Jade Day, 1st year adult nursing student at Anglia Ruskin

What was it like

Full of advice for qualified nurses, this book is literally an A-Z of how to keep your job. Covering everything from documentation and shift work to The Mental Capacity Act 2005, each point is centred around how to avoid mistakes and ensure that you will always be considered fit to practise by the NMC. However where this is full of advice on how to keep your job, it is lacking in reminding you why you love your job and ends up just leaving you thinking about everything that can go wrong.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Easy to navigate through, jam packed with advice from an experienced professional.

It has a rather pessimistic view of the world of nursing and leaves you feeling like everyone is out to get you fired or sued. It almost leaves you feeling that it’s inevitable you’ll lose your job eventually and it may not even be your fault as nurses aren’t as protected as everyone else.

Who should read it

I would avoid telling students to read this while at university as it can end up leaving you feeling deflated and lacking your original enthusiasm for the job. Better aimed at qualified nurses that are looking for a bit of advice.

The Nurses Survival Guide: A Simple ABC

Care of People with Diabetes: A Manual of Nursing Practice (third edition)

18 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Care of People with Diabetes: A Manual of Nursing Practice (third edition)

Author: Trisha Dunning

Publisher: Wiley - Blackwell

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

What was it like?

From opening the first page of this book I was delighted to see the many aspects covered from the first page to the last. Firstly the book identifies diagnosis and the classification of diabetes, which may be useful for any healthcare professional as well as patients and their families wanting to learn more about diabetes. Secondly the book looks at appropriate nursing models and methods of assessment as well as monitoring diabetes. In addition the book also looks at physiology and pathophysiology states of diabetes including aspects such as hypoglycaemia. Furthermore at the back of this book is a references section where readers of the book may want to conduct some further reading regarding diabetes. From a student nurses perspective this book is easy to read and uses terminology that explains each aspect of diabetes thoroughly.

What were the highlights? 

As this book looks at diabetes in detail, one major highlight of this book is the list of abbreviations and symbols at the beginning of the book. This may appeal more to a variety of readers such as healthcare professionals, student nurses or service user’s as terminology is appropriately explained. Furthermore another aspect of this book that I enjoyed is the use of tables using a vibrant, blue font as it breaks down the information into more enjoyable reading instead of reading a vast amount of literature.

Strengths & weaknesses:

When opening the first few pages of this book, I noticed that the book covered an immense amount of information. Furthermore from looking at each chapter, the information is consistently broken down with clear rationale behind the organisation of this book. However one weakness that I noticed is the lack of images used throughout this book, which may aid some readers as they may benefit from being a visual learner.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book for anybody with an interest of diabetes, whether it is a patient living with diabetes, families and carers and healthcare professionals. The book is ideal for gaining a knowledge base regarding diabetes with suggested reading throughout the book for further knowledge development of diabetes. From a student nurses perspective this book would be an invaluable learning resource within a university setting or a clinical practice setting.


Care of People with Diabetes

Wongs Nursing Care of Infants and Children. 10th Edition

10 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: “Wong”s Nursing Care of Infants and Children” 10th Edition

Authors: Marilyn J Hockenberry and David Wilson

Publisher: Elsevier Mosby

Reviewer: Dr. Jo Wilson, Senior Research Fellow. (Neonatal Intensive Care and Paediatric Senior Nurse)

What was it like?

A good neonatal and paediatric reference and textbook, which is clearly based on family centred care, minimising risks to children from the provision of physical and psychological care that can be inflicted through illness and health promotion. The emphasis being on providing innovative and excellent paediatric care, through bringing care philosophies into everyday life and measurable quality outcomes.

What were the highlights? 

The textbook is written in 35 chapters with two Bboad parts, which are based on 14 units:

1. Infancy, childhood and adolescence including family centred care and the paediatric nurses role. (Units 1-8).   2. More serious health problems requiring hospitalisation, with medical and body system problems and the impacts and treatments including paediatric nursing interventions. (Units 9 -14).

Strengths & weaknesses:

The key strengths of this textbook are the design and layout of the chapters, which are set out to teach and learn from. Many special features have been used to benefit paediatric nurses, academics and students that assist learning and teaching. These include website support, key points summaries, review questions, research focus, nursing alerts, quality patient outcomes, nursing care plans, critical thinking case studies, evidence based practice, photographs, tables of supportive information and family centred care which highlight the needs and concerns of families. The layout is excellent and easy to follow and it is well referenced throughout. The book has a good index, which makes searching easy and has appendix of blood pressure levels by age and height percentiles.     

Who should read it?

Paediatric nursing students and qualified nurses, nursery nurses, hospital play leaders and hospital teachers, parents, district nurses, health visitors, paediatric social workers, paediatricians and medical staff in training.

Wongs Nursing Care of Infants and Children. 10th Edition


The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

4 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

Authors: Christopher D Saudek, Richard R Rubin, Thomas W Donner

Publisher: John Hopkins Press

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

What was it like?

This is a comprehensive book, which presents in a reader friendly format relevant clinical data relating to the impact of diabetes for those diagnosed with this condition. The authors discuss the psychological, sociological, physical and emotional impacts of diabetes in relation to daily life of an individual with diabetes. 

This book presents up to date information covering initial diagnosis, types of diabetes and various treatment options. The authors go further and explore the impact of genetics along with pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options.

The chapters in this book have been broken down into a reader/user friendly format. It is more than another medical book about diabetes. This edition is an essential guide for individuals who have diabetes or been recently diagnosed. It could be described as a staple part of diabetes understanding and management. It incorporates thoughts and feelings from those who live with diabetes on a daily basis and provides “take home messages” at the conclusion of each chapter, which provides extra support and guidance for the reader to improve their understanding, control and management of their diabetes. This should in turn enable people with diabetes to control their lives instead of diabetes controlling them

What were the highlights? 

The highlights from this book incorporate its user friendly format. The fact that it includes reflective thoughts from those who have diabetes brings the readership of this book to a broader spectrum. As I read through this book one of the highlights and learning points that I benefited from as a registered nurse was the section on living with diabetes and the psychological impact that it may have on both the individual but also for their partner and/or family. It highlights the need for practitioners to have a better understanding of the psychological impact diabetes may have for patients in their care.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is presented in a clear user friendly format with easy to follow diagrams to support the presented facts. It is current and higher relevant in both medical and social fields.

Who should read it?

Since this book incorporates facts from both the medical perspective and that of the individual who has diabetes the potential readership for this book is broad. It should be recommended to the medical and nursing profession since the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise. It could be of benefit to recommend this book to those who work in the social care field as this will aid their understanding of the social and psychological impact of diabetes, especially as their client may also have other comorbidities to content with in their daily lives. For those wanting a better understanding of their own condition and those embarked on the perfect patient programme this book would also be a great resource.

The John Hopkins Guide to Diabetes (second edition)

Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual: The Henry Street Model for Nurses (second edition)

3 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual: The Henry Street Model for Nurses (second edition)

Authors: Carolyn M Garcia, Marjorie A Schaffer and Patricia M Schoon

Publisher: SIGMA Theta Tau International

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development and PSHE, Marshland High School.

What was it like?

A great looking text that has a lot of fantastic evidence and work within it. It is however a US text that I believe was written primarily for the US audience. While much of the content is easily transferable to any country and their public health agenda, there are some areas of the text that are specific to US nursing policies or legislation. Bearing in mind there is at least two faculties of the Sigma Theta Tau International Society in the UK it is a shame that there seems to have been no input from them. Having reviewed the text I believe that the policies and procedures that are being referred to are so similar to the NMC that from a working perspective it makes little difference. The problem will be however, that any student or practitioner in the UK will have to double check these against the NMC to be sure that they are in fact practicing as they should be.

What were the highlights? 

Well written with nice, easy to understand examples of good practice. There is lots of opportunity for a student to pick this book up and be able to see how someone else has previously experienced the same as they are now going through. There are not many, but those graphics that are included are nice looking and useful. There are many opportunities for students to learn through the use of testing and questioning as well as good examples throughout the text.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Lots of good strong data is a huge strength, although for the UK market it is a massive weakness that this data is all US-centric. I am sure that the data is useful but is less use to any student looking to use this as an academic tool, without having to go out and find more comparable UK data.

Who should read it?

At £55.86 for the paperback this is a huge price tag to pay for an US text. I am therefore unsure who in the UK would benefit from this text.

Population-Based Public Health Clinical Manual

Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Radical New Approach to Quitting Smoking

2 March, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Radical New Approach to Quitting Smoking

Author: Nicoventures

Publisher: Nicoventures May 2013

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School.

What was it like?

This booklet was a nicely produced professional document that gave lots of details about the harm that smoking causes, and the importance of stopping. As the title suggests it was looking at a new approach to quitting smoking, although there was no real data or evidence that I could see that suggested that the booklet was offering any suggestions that were not already being used.

What were the highlights? 

This is a nice looking document that has some useful smoking facts in it that can be used to demonstrate to interested parties why not to smoke.

Strengths & weaknesses:

While it is well presented and full of some interesting data I am not convinced that it is able to truly demonstrate the “Radical new approach to quitting smoking”. When I saw the publication it struck me as being a promotional publication wrapped up in a professional cover. As I read it it did not produce any new evidence or data that gave me any idea of what the new approach to quitting was. It was not until I read the chapter “The Future” I was able to put two and two together. It then became apparent that this document was put together to promote the use of inhaled Nicotine Replacement Therapies (I assume e-cigarettes). The assertion throughout the document that it is the smoke in cigarettes that causes cancer and not the nicotine was also a slight clue! If this is the case how can the figures below be explained?

 US Cancer Smokeless Tobacco Statistics :

Cancer statistics that directly correlate with chewing and smokeless tobacco use.

• Total number of cancer causing carcinogens found in smokeless tobacco:28
• Total percent of the increased risk of oral cancer if you use smokeless tobacco:50%
• Your chances of getting Leukplakia if you use chewing tobacco:40%-60%
• If you have Leukplakia, the chances that it will turn into cancer:2%-6%


Who should read it?

It has a use to anyone who wants to know some basic smoking facts. Other than that I am unsure who would read it.


Dementia: The one stop guide

24 February, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Dementia: The one stop guide.

Author: June Andrews

Publisher: Profile Books

Reviewer: Liz Lees, PhD Student, NIHR, University of Manchester and Consultant Nurse, The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham.

What was it like?

This book has 15 chapters in total loaded with practical examples of how to manage the issues surrounding daily life with dementia. I found the book uplifting with a positive emphasis throughout. The book rockets you into the world of people with dementia and those who care for them. It is well written providing clarity on issues in bite sized chunks.

Even with considerable experience of the topic I gained a new perspective about things I had previously considered “learnt”. In many ways this issues faced and ideas countered within this book are reminiscent of with living my Dad, who since a very young age was profoundly deaf, the strategies are undoubtedly similar.

What were the highlights? 

Chapter 9; entitled “the dementia friendly home” and chapter 5, “what are friends for?” with their focus on inclusion, empowerment and personhood - all examples being placed of being in the context of how life is, rather than constructions or stories. An elderly relative of mine caring for his wife with dementia described this book “as clear and very helpful”.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I cannot find anything that I don’t like about this book. I particularly liked the focus on inclusion of the demented person in activities of daily living and of continuing to live with a quality of life not exist. It will make readers take a step back to consider their usual way of doing things and whether a new approach might work better.

Who should read it?

This book is not technical or greatly scientific or academic. It would most benefit anyone a person with a diagnosis of dementia and those intending to work closely with a person with dementia and their family/carers. It is not a book about “how to nurse” or “how to fix problems”. It is about how to understand and work closely with a person with dementia. The sense they will get will be of reality – of being in a demented persons world. Certainly students of social work, nursing, health care assistants and friends or family in a caring role will benefit too. 

Dementia: The one stop guide

Comments (1)

Living with Drugs, seventh edition

12 February, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Living with Drugs, seventh edition

Author: Michael Gossop

Publisher: Ashgate

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School

What was it like?

Living with Drugs claims to be a well-respected and indispensable reference tool, I am sure that this is truly the case for some who pick it up to use. However, I found it rather too wordy to consider it to be a reference tool, but rather a history lesson into the subject of drugs. While I found it well written with great content, I did not find it easy to use as a “tool”. I wasn’t able to just pick it up and thumb to a certain page to give a specific answer to a given question. Even though most of the answers were available, I found myself having to digest vast amounts of text to get to many of the answers I sought. This edition has been updated to take account of new laws and practices that have come in to place since the previous edition, published in 2007, and is written in an accessible style, providing a balanced perspective. It is a text that I will use when teaching in class, but only in support of my lessons. It will however, be a great book to have for any professional who is working in this field, needing answers to questions.

What were the highlights? 

The book is full of great detail on many different aspects of “drugs”, which I am sure will go a long way to assisting many practitioners in their duties.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book describes itself as a “reference tool”, although I struggle to see how this is actually the case. The contents page is only twelve items long and the “list of tables” only has two tables listed in it! Using the index provides quite a good list of items to look up. This then presents the issue that the answer to the question that you are looking for, might be embedded in a chapter of text that does not directly answer the question you have.

I do believe that this is a informative, well written book that will be of use to specialists with an interest in “drugs”. It is not however a reference tool to be used by a practitioner needing an answer to a question to give to a client or student.

Who should read it?

This book is suitable for non-specialists in training, such as student nurses and social workers and for anyone with an interest in this complex, ever-present and emotive issue; those who want to improve their own knowledge over time, not those who need to disseminate new knowledge quickly and simply.


Living with drugs


Dementia and the family

26 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Dementia and the family

Author: Rachel Johnstone

Publisher: Southgate Publishers

Reviewer: Carol Cooper, senior lecturer in mental health nursing, Sheffield Hallam University

What was it like?

This thin book (which is reflected in reasonable price) is aimed at families of people with dementia and in particular the children in these families. It begins with an overview of how to talk to children about this difficult topic and moves on to outline practical advice on how to care for a loved one with dementia. It is designed to be used alongside a website that has been developed to also address this topic. It also goes on to give a list of 160 activities that are suggested for engaging the person with dementia and other members of the family (or carers). It leaves the reader with the sense that despite the problems that invariably dementia brings there are positive ways of engaging with people with memory problems and that this can be fun, leaving happy memories for those who care.

What was it like?

Clear and simple language with practical advice for carers of people with dementia regarding activities. I particularly liked the ideas for how to broach this subject with children.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A simple easy to read book with clear outlines of 160 simple activities for people with dementia. It could be a bit frustrating if you don’t have access to the internet though as in the initial part of the book it frequently directs you to sections of the website to enhance your learning.

Who should read it?

This is a book that is aimed at families although the author does suggest that other carers, either paid or unpaid might also benefit from the ideas contained within it and I have no reason to disagree with this.


Dementia and the family


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