Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Lisa Jung, BA, ADN (University of New Mexico Children's Hospital)
Description: This annually updated oncology drug guide is unique in that it is organized according to the nursing process and written by nurses rather than pharmacists.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide up-to-date, accurate information appropriate for the bedside nurse. The bedside nurse is essential in supporting the oncology patient with accurate assessment, treatment, and education, and this guide strives to continually update pharmacology and newly emerging drug therapies in this rapidly evolving field.
Audience: This handbook targets, and is written by, nursing professionals. The authors are nursing educators specializing in nursing oncology who hold advanced nursing degrees.
Features: The book is organized in three sections. The first focuses on the pharmacology of specific chemotherapy drugs, offering the usual mechanism of action, metabolism, dosage and preparation, administration, interactions, and complications. Toxicities and side effects are uniquely organized according to formal nursing diagnoses. Though this presentation could be quite valuable for nursing students, I found it to be a distraction and prefer the more traditional method of a streamlined listing of toxicities and their nursing implications. The second section focuses on the drugs used in symptom management, a convenient and quite useful inclusion. The third focuses on medications used to manage complications of chemotherapy, again a helpful inclusion. At the beginning of each section, a more academic discussion of chemotherapy and resulting complications provides a nice review and presents up-to-date information on the state-of-the-art and emerging treatment agents. Finally, the appendix presents an excellent overview of occupational exposure and tables presenting grading criteria for adverse events.
Assessment: This guide provides a much more extensive presentation on preventing and managing drug toxicities and side effects for nursing professionals than does the usual drug handbook. Though this in-depth information is quite valuable academically, at the bedside it could prove to be somewhat unwieldy when trying to obtain a quick review of essential points related to administering a particular drug. It is essentially updated yearly to reflect new information on the pharmacology of existing drugs and to include state-of-the-art information on newly FDA-approved or investigational agents.