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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michele A. Kacmarcik, MSN, CRNP (University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing)
Description: This is the fourth edition of a comprehensive, clinically based handbook covering common problems encountered by neonates and their caregivers.
Purpose: The editors set out to provide a handbook with a multidisciplinary approach to neonatal intensive care within a family centered model. Refreshingly, the book includes moral decision making processes and makes note of human foibles and downfalls as well as human strengths.
Audience: The editors describe their audience as neonatal intensive care nurses, nursing and medical students, and pediatric, surgical, and family practice housestaff. NICU nurses and housestaff will find most chapters helpful and understandable, but the book may be too in-depth in some areas for all but the most advanced students. On the other hand, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatal fellows may find some areas too shallow for their purposes.
Features: Tables, charts, and graphs are generally helpful, but some pictures and x-rays are slightly dark. In addition, the technique of printing clinically applicable material in bold typeface becomes less and less useful the more that is highlighted. References were fair for most chapters, but fell short on many. Selected readings offered at the end of many chapters are a nice touch; some chapters offered references for parents, which is a wonderful tool for anyone working in the NICU. Many chapters offered systematic procedure breakdowns that can be helpful to newer practitioners.
Assessment: Material in the handbook is up to current practice, and the book did a good job of debunking commonly held myths such as the need to do rectal temperatures on all neonates. The breastfeeding chapter is particularly thorough, and the multidisciplinary background of the editors and contributors lends a good deal of experience and authority to the book. In addition, the book touches on two very necessary and often overlooked topics — psychosocial aspects of care and the need to have evidence-based practice. Although some aspects of the handbook are disappointing — such as the pharmacology chapter, which focuses mostly on pharmacokinetics, and the case studies, of which there are too few — the overall quality of the book is good. It should serve as a helpful reference in any setting that cares for neonates.