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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carole Ann Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN (The College of New Jersey)
Description: This book is a quick reference to the most common elements of health assessment across the lifespan.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an easy-to-use format for health assessment information that can be applied to any clinical setting. It is small enough to be taken to the client's bedside. These worthy objectives are generally met.
Audience: The book is aimed at student nurses and practicing nurses. The authors are credible authorities in this area.
Features: The content reflects the traditional areas of health assessment beginning with an overview of the nursing process, moving on to health history and then into the actual physical assessment. A systems approach to the core assessments comprises the bulk of the book. It contains many of the more common assessment tools in the appendixes such as the Apgar Scoring System and the Glasgow Coma Scale. The book does not seem to address genetics or the need for a family history addressing genetics. It does not cover variations with the premature infant and how to adapt the assessment. Nor does the book appear to address use of electronic medical records and how the documentation of the assessment might need to be adapted to such a system.
Assessment: This fourth edition that represents new areas such as use of alternative and complementary therapies, antepartum and intrapartum assessment, communication skills especially need for adaptation with different cultures and ages, family communication patterns and how to assess, and variations in normal health assessment findings according to ethnic and cultural influences. These are all wonderful and needed additions. In other respects the book is very typical of other health assessment books. This book is easy to use and, while not significantly different from others, certainly is a useful reference for those in need of health assessment tips. Weber's Nurses' Handbook of Health Assessment, 4th edition (Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2001) is very similar. Other books like Jarvis's Physical Examination and Health Assessment, 4th edition (Elsevier, 2004) focus more on physical assessment than the more inclusive health assessment.