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Critical care nursing science and practice (second edition)

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Title: Critical care nursing science and practice (second edition)

Authors: Sheila K Adam and Sue Osborne

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Katherine Potts, cardiac specialist nurse, North Bristol NHS Trust


What was it like?

This book covers care of the critically ill patient in a critical care environment, incorporating knowledge and skills needed to look after this group. It is easy to read and set out in a logical sequence with a practical approach to patient care. There are 17 chapters exploring all major body systems including cardiac, renal, neurological and respiratory. There is also coverage of the critical care environment from the perspective of why it is needed and its background, along with the requirements of the critical care unit. The book is written primarily by two nurse consultants in critical care with chapter authors and chapter contributions from other experts in their respective fields.


What were the highlights? 

Each chapter includes anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, specific disease conditions that may be seen and practicalities of patient care using an ABCDE approach. The troubleshooting sections are useful and provide a list of problems and how the problem is manifested along with the causes and the actions that can be taken. The chapter on endocrine, obstetric and drug overdose emergencies was interesting, evidence based and provided practical and theoretical knowledge on these aspects of practice.

Strengths & weaknesses

The book provides a good general overview and a base knowledge of the areas covered but it may be necessary to read or research areas further where more information is required. The text includes pictures, tables and figures to illustrate and highlight key information. However these are all in grey/black and white and it would have benefited at times to have included colour images. The ‘test yourself’ sections at the end of the chapters are useful to check knowledge and understanding with answers provided.  The information is evidence based with a comprehensive reference list and bibliography provided at the end of each chapter. While the care of the dying patient and ethical issues are briefly covered this could have been expanded and explored in more detail.

Who should read it?

Nurses and other allied health professionals new to the critical care environment or undertaking post registration courses.  Also those working in critical care wanting to update on areas of practice, which may not be regularly undertaken.

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