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From The CriticsReviewer: Filissa Marie Caserta, MSN (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Description: This is a general overview of the main issues and diseases critical care nurses face.
Purpose: The purpose is to take the complicated realm of critical care nursing and make it understandable. Although the objectives are worthy, they are not fully met. In order to make the concepts simple, some very important pathology and treatment elements are omitted.
Audience: The book is intended for all critical care nurses. However, parts of it (the cartoons) are written in such a simple fashion to be construed as condescending to nurses at almost any level. It would not be appropriate for nursing students, either, as it does not delve deeply enough into the topics. Using the anatomy and assessment portions only could be beneficial as a quick review for experienced critical care nurses.
Features: The organization of the book as far as major body systems is very good. The use of high-quality illustrations and basic explanations for complicated equipment such as PA catheters, balloon pumps, and ventricular assist devices are beneficial. The original anatomy illustrations are also of very good quality. The succinct sections on quick anatomy review and assessment are excellent. The book uses icons to address specific issues, such as "senior moments," for example, which cover the special needs of the geriatric population. It is important when creating a book in this Made Incredibly Easy series to avoid insulting the readers' intelligence. Unfortunately, sections of this book seem to do just that. The cartoons include depictions of a female nurse in various costumes reiterating what was stated in the text. These are unnecessary and they do not add any new information nor do they help advance the image of nursing. Another concern is that when describing the nurse's role, the female pronoun is used. The organization of the book is poor, as treatment discussions precede discussions of disorders. Some key diseases commonly seen in critical care are not discussed at all, such as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Although the book states that it is evidence-based, it does not include any discussion of ARDSnet, surviving sepsis, stroke, TBI, or SCI guidelines. There is actually a treatment listed for traumatic brain injury that has been explicitly noted as possibly harmful to patients in the TBI guidelines (steroid use).
Assessment: This book needs to be updated to include the current, available guidelines for all of the critical care conditions. I would suggest removing the cartoons. If these and other suggested changes are made, this could be a good adjunct to critical care texts as a quick and easy reference.