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Ward-Based Critical Care – A guide for health Professionals

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’It will certainly compliment existing texts for nurses who are new to an acute role, in admitting areas, such as, acute medicine or acute surgical admission units.’

Title: Ward-Based Critical Care – A guide for health Professionals

Editors: Ann Price, Sally Smith and Alistair Challiner

Publisher: M&K Publishing

Reviewer: Liz Deutsch (nee Lees), consultant nurse (Acute Medicine), Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham & Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship with NIHR

What was it like?

This book offers 49 short ”topic focused” chapters, with 27 contributors representing their expertise from a variety of different professions. It takes the reader on a trip through ABCDE (Airway, Breathing, Cardiovascular, Disability and Exposure) and Psychological aspects of acute illness. It is primarily a skills based book with technical guidance within each chapter. I concluded it was rather like a mini ”Marsden” reference manual, but with a specific focus, namely, ward based critical care. It certainly includes all contemporary aspects of skilled nursing care (NIV and Sepsis, to name, just two) that have gradually migrated from ITU to acute wards. Hence, it would be extremely valuable for quick reference, in emergency situations.

What were the highlights?

This book is well organised and the various topics flow well. There is just enough information and a good balance of technical input. There are many excellent chapters but two that have particular importance because they commonly create confusion regarding their management; chapter 7, ”Management of Tracheostomies” and Chapter 11 ”Oxygen Therapy”. The pictures and examples within each are superb.

Strengths & Weaknesses?

The strength of this book is in the topic scope and the appropriate ”level” of each chapter; it is not too technical - it tackles each topic at the depth needed in a ward. The weakness of the book is that critical care on the ward (in general) is vastly expanding and I feel an important omission is ”safe transfer and safe discharge from acute settings”. Elements of “transfer” are included (SBAR) in ”Chapter 47, Communication” but not adequately for large group of patients represented. This said, I fully appreciate the scope could expand ad infinitum!

A useful addition, perhaps for a future book – would be many more worked examples and MCQs; enabling this to become a series of working texts for most skills-based acute care courses.

Who should read it?

In addition to those identified by the editors, this book will also appeal to practitioners in allied new or evolving roles, such as physician assistants, advanced nurse practitioners and acute care practitioners. It will certainly compliment existing texts for nurses who are new to an acute role, in admitting areas, such as, acute medicine or acute surgical admission units. To this end, I recommend it an essential purchase, as a ”ward resource” in those areas.

ward based critical care

ward based critical care

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