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Clinical Wisdom and Interventions in Acute and Critical Care, A thinking-in-action approach, second edition

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Title: Clinical Wisdom and Interventions in Acute and Critical Care, A thinking-in-action approach. Second Edition.

Authors: Patricia Benner, Patricia Hooper Kyriakidis, Daphne Stannard

Publisher: Springer Publishing Company, 2011

Reviewer: Amy Hallport, staff nurse, Accident and Emergency Department, Royal Lancaster Infirmary


What was it like?

This second edition of Clinical Wisdom and Interventions in Acute and Critical Care consists of 13 well-equipped chapters that immerse the reader into the working lives, practices and emotions of experienced nurses. The text is written in short, snappy sentences and appropriately paragraphed, therefore making it accessible to all nursing readers.

The book is focused on providing a theoretical explanation as to why experienced nurses, working in acute and critical environments, are able to work through a systemic process to solve problems and complex scenarios. It provides a rationale for why experiences within such settings enable learning beyond a textbook.

Told through the eyes of expert nursing staff from a range of clinical backgrounds and areas, accounts of real life situations are analysed closely to provide a basis for why experienced nurses are invaluable to patient care, outcomes and experience. The chapters cover a range of nurse/patient interventions from managing near fatal injuries to providing end of life care. As actual interview segments are used within the text the accounts are compelling and heart rendering at times as the humane element of nursing is visited on numerous occasions.


What were the highlights? 

The highlight of the book is the author’s ability to connect with the reader and immerse the audience in a situation that is not too far from usual practice. Benner has been previously commended for her work with providing a theoretical basis for novice to expert nurses, therefore this further addition to her works is a smooth transition and well received by a reader of her previous achievements.

Strengths & weaknesses

There are many strengths to this book as it gives solace to what nurses do each and every day, and by far the weaknesses are insubstantial to what the book achieves overall, but are worth mentioning.  The American terminology and abbreviations are sometimes difficult to incept, although the authors do offer a glossary of some terms to aid the reader throughout. There is substantial focus on paediatric nursing techniques, which may not appear of interest to other nursing professions, but it must be noted that the underlying theory is the emphasis and this can be applied to all areas of care.

Who should read it?

The book would benefit any post-registration nurse wishing to consolidate their nursing practice and experiences. It inevitably provides the reader with the correct tools to embark on becoming an experienced practitioner and the rationale for why such amazing nurses are needed within healthcare today.

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