Title:Medicines Management in Children’s Nursing
Author: Karen Blair
Publisher: Learning Matters, 2012
Reviewer: Alison Taylor, paediatric practice development nurse, Western Sussex Hospitals Trust
What was it like?
Children’s medicines management cause much anxiety to nurses owing to the increased risks and potential for harm to this vulnerable group of patients. Almost every part of the practice has different considerations for children than for adults and this outstanding book pretty much covers them all.
Written by an experienced children’s nurse, the book is entirely geared to the increasingly complex field of children’s nursing. No stone is left unturned; issues covered range from the basic safety checks and calculation skills needed in acute settings, to the complexities of managing medical gases in the community and the role of each member of the multidisciplinary team with regard to medicines.
What were the highlights?
I love the layout of this book. The blocks of text broken up by scenarios, questions and exercises, makes it easy to dip in and out. These activities often ask the reader to conduct web research or use resources like the British National Formulary for children to find answers, promoting both critical thinking and application to real life clinical practice. Some of the case studies are challenging, providing a great springboard for reflection and further discussion.
The law relating to medicines is complex, as are regulatory standards, but chapter 2 covers the main issues concisely. I also liked the attention to partnership working and holistic, complementary and alternative treatments. These considerations reflect the reality of caring for families and children whose participation in decision making is pivotal. Families can be well informed by the wealth of information available in the digital age on medicines and other treatments, or disempowered, confused or overwhelmed by the sea of alternative options.
Strengths & weaknesses:
Each chapter follows the same clear format, initially mapping the content to both pre-registration NMC standards and essential skills clusters. An introductory case study illustrates the issues at hand and a chapter summary includes a comprehensive list of further reading and useful websites. Example answers to some of the questions are incredibly detailed and well thought out.
Medicines administration is only broached towards the end of the book, highlighting just how much has to be considered before a drug gets to a child. Pharmacokinetics has its own chapter, with detailed explanations of the many differences in how young bodies metabolise, absorb and excrete medication. A significant community thread considers specific issues such as access to and storage of medicines at school and independent nurse prescribing.
Calculations are naturally given a lot of attention and the worked examples are well presented, using different visual explanations. I would have liked to see more suggested resources to support the development of maths skills; difficulties with these skills are more widespread than is sometimes realised. A variety of web resources exist to provide useful learning and imaginative practice examples using the formula and rules commonly needed in nursing.
Who should read it?
Although aimed at pre-registration students, this book should be essential reading for all children’s nurses. It complements several other books on medicines management in the same transforming nursing practice series.