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From The CriticsReviewer: Mary P Bennett, RN, DNSc (Indiana State University)
Description: This eighth edition of a classic self-tutorial on fluids and electrolytes provides an easy way to learn information about clinical conditions such as pH imbalance, electrolyte imbalance, and fluid overload or under load. The book is formatted in the classic programmed instruction style, with small bits of information followed by self-testing at the end of each paragraph. The answers are readily available, but can be covered with the cardboard insert which comes in the front cover of the book.
Purpose: The book is designed to help experienced and inexperienced nurses understand the complexity of fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance and the many clinical conditions related to an imbalance. Given that this is an area that even experienced nurses often find intimidating, this is a helpful addition to the field.
Audience: According to the authors, this book is for both experienced and inexperienced nurses. It provides sufficient background information for those who have not had (or don't remember) chemistry basics such as pH, ions, diffusion, and osmosis. It also covers basic physiological mechanisms such as active transport and the actions of the sodium potassium pump, providing sufficient background for the inexperienced nurse or the nurse who has been out of school for some time and does not remember some of the underlying mechanisms. Experienced nurses who frequently work with acid base imbalances and electrolyte imbalances will find the material somewhat elementary.
Features: The book has some nice graphical representations of the important clinical causes and effects of each disorder, such as hypomagnesemia. This makes it easy to quickly review each disorder, while more in-depth explanations of the pathophysiology involved are outlined in the text. In addition, an assessment summary at the end of the book lists common physical assessment findings, then outlines the various fluid and electrolyte imbalances that could cause that particular finding. The main shortcoming of this book is that readers who are more experienced with computer based tutorials may find the classic text and template programmed learning modules somewhat awkward and boring. The self quizzes are almost too easy, with the answer to each question located in the paragraph immediately above it. I found one error or typo in a quiz rationale, but the correct information was given in the text of the chapter.
Assessment: The lightweight, spiral-bound format makes the book easy to carry and use. The detailed index allows the reader to easily find selected information. The book provides information in sequence, building from simple to complex. Key terms are listed at the beginning of each part. Concept Checks are followed by Information Checks throughout the book. At the end of each part, a list of key points is presented, followed by a series of critical thinking questions. All questions have the answers readily available and rationales are provided for the answers to the critical thinking questions. New to this edition are Remember Boxes to emphasize need to know information.