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Priorities in Critical Care Nursing (Sixth Edition)

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Title: Priorities in Critical Care Nursing (Sixth Edition)

Authors: Linda D Urden, Kathleen M Stacy, Mary E Lough

Publisher: Elsevier

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

What was it like?

This text covers theory, practical skills and knowledge of critical care nursing. It is written by experts in the field of critical care nursing and the content has also been reviewed by academic and clinical experts. There are nine units, which cover foundations in critical care nursing and itscommon problems as well as the major body system alterations of the critical care patient. These units are evidence based and appropriately referenced. Also included are two appendices, with one being nursing management plans of care and the other physiological formulas for critical care that are a useful reference aid. There is an index for ease of finding topics of interest. The text is reader friendly, presented in a logical manner and accessible with illustrations and tables.


What were the highlights? 

The units include case studies to check understanding and knowledge. It also includes nursing diagnosis priorities, patient safety priorities and priority medications to highlight important areas of practice and knowledge needed. One of the key advantages of this text is the inclusion of history taking and clinical examination skills for each of the body systems, which provides the background knowledge and understanding for patient management and interventions performed.

Strength and weaknesses:

If using this text as a reference for academic work, a note of caution to those UK readers that, at times the doses and drugs quoted are different to those recommended or used in the UK and appear to be US recommendations. This is also the case with guidelines that are quoted and there are some areas where the information and practice recommendations provided are not in line with current European/ UK guidelines and practice. Some units are more comprehensive than others. and in some areas further reading or information would need to be sought to gain a more in depth understanding of the topic, such as the chapters on endocrine and gastrointestinal alterations.

One of the strengths is the inclusion of access to online material with a wealth of information provided on the website. It is easy to register and use and provides resources, for example animations, video clips, chapter summaries, nursing skills procedures and quiz questions. It also provides answers to the case studies in the book. This greatly enhances the text context and I would recommend using this site as an adjunct to the text.

Who should read it?

This book would be useful for nurses and other allied health professionals who are new to the critical care environment or student nurse on placement in a critical care environment.

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