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Psychiatric Nursing (seventh edition)

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‘This book would be useful for trainee nurses and nurses seeking to practice in the US.’

Title: Psychiatric Nursing (seventh edition)

Edited by: Norman L Keltner & Debbie Steele

Publisher: Elsevier

Reviewer: Paul Veitch, nurse consultant

What was it like?

A multi-authored textbook, presented here in its seventh revision since first publication in 1991, is a longstanding feature of university libraries and bookshelves across the English speaking world. Setting out the central message of the book Keltner describes how therapeutic use of self, the environment and medicines are at the heart of “psychotherapeutic care” and of psychiatric nursing. A series of chapters on some aspects fundamental to care and on the care environment is coupled with a major focus on psychopharmacological treatments and then patient care issues divided by major diagnostic related groups having an onus of psychopathology. An additional section breaks down survivors of violence; children and adolescents; older adults and then armed forces veterans for special attention.

What were the highlights?

The regular appearance of the editor in chief in a “MAD magazine” style, caricature portrait, neatly gives readers a helpful summary of why the chapter is important and how it will aide the readers academic, clinical and professional development.

In the unit dealing with the science fundamental to psychiatric nursing the significant content emphasis on biomedical explanations serves as a detailed introduction to brain biology.  

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is clearly and neatly laid out with multiple figures and tables, learning objectives, clinical examples and boxes summarising key points of learning or related information including “critical thinking” prompts.

The chapter on legal issues is potentially confusing to non-American or novice readers and therefore best avoided. Similarly the medicines chapters, where some medicines are not licensed for UK use and trade names differ. The book lacks an international focus and at times presents opinion as fact, which should be open to more critical analysis or at least prompt such analysis in the reader.

At 538 pages the title includes a detailed glossary, index and as appendices, an overview of the latest revision of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual plus a list of North American Nursing Diagnosis Association diagnoses. Nursing diagnosis as a concept is not widely taught in the UK and without background knowledge of their use, this has limited utility.

The associated online resources, which accompany the book, are appealing and serve as a useful alternative learning resource. However responses to the “critical thinking” boxes throughout the book are at times given less than comprehensive responses and the videos often consist of slides with at times disappointing audio quality.

The onus on medicines delimits the usefulness of this text, overstating the centrality of this to nursing. To focus so much on the importance of medicinal interventions to psychiatric nursing, risks giving the learner nurse an over-simplified and medical model for nursing.

This title will struggle to justify its long term place in UK libraries. More comprehensive alternative titles, better suited to UK nurse education programmes are now available.

Who should read it?

Trainee nurses and nurses seeking to practice in the US.

psychiatric nursing (seventh edition)

psychiatric nursing (seventh edition)

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