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From The CriticsReviewer: Janice J Hoffman, RN, PhD (Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing)
Description: Divided into five sections, this handbook provides a guide to disorders, treatments, procedures, diagnostic tests, and clinical tools used in the critical care setting. This is one in a series of Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice Pocket Guides.
Purpose: It is intended to provide quick, specific clinical information for practicing critical care nurses. While there is no preface, it is clear that the purpose is to provide an efficient reference for the bedside nurse. With the ever-changing technologies in the intensive care setting, this is a valuable and practical reference.
Audience: This handbook is useful for nursing students, as well as critical care nurses at the bedside. The breadth of content is appropriate to general and specialty critical care units. The consultants and contributors to this text include acute care nurse practitioners, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists, and staff nurses.
Features: The handbook is useful for nursing students as well as critical care nurses at the bedside. The breadth of content is appropriate for general and specialty critical care units. The consultants and contributors include acute care nurse practitioners, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists, and staff nurses. In the first section, on disorders, disease processes are presented including descriptions, pathophysiology, causes, assessment findings, test results, treatments, key patient outcomes, nursing interventions, and expected patient outcomes. The treatments section includes a range of operative procedures and interventions relevant to critically ill patients. This section is organized into description, pathophysiology, patient preparation, procedural steps, and post-procedure care. The procedures section includes descriptions, equipment, essential steps, and nursing considerations related to monitoring interventions used with critically ill patients, including arterial pressure and pulmonary artery catheter monitoring. The diagnostic tests section describes the purpose, patient preparation, procedure, post-procedure care, normal results, and abnormal results for a variety of diagnostic studies frequently ordered for critically ill patients. The last section, clinical tools, includes useful information on a variety of subjects from antidotes for specific drugs and toxins and arterial blood gas analysis to vasoactive infusion charts and explanations of heart murmurs. The disorders section is particularly helpful in presenting a brief, yet descriptive explanation of a wide range of pathophysiologic processes frequently encountered in the critical care population. The charts in the clinical tools are very clear and useful for laboratory value interpretation, drug infusion calculations, and hemodynamic monitoring. Throughout the book, "Alerts" identify critical situations, "Collaboration Boxes" describe when interdisciplinary interventions are needed, "Focus-In" sections describe diseases with illustrations and flowcharts, and "Life-Threatening Disorders" highlight situations requiring an immediate intervention. Only two shortcomings are apparent. First is the lack of preface or overview to assist the novice nurse and student in maximizing the usefulness of this guidebook and, second, there is no table of contents listing the disorders, treatments, procedures, diagnostic tests, and clinical tools.
Assessment: This is a practical, convenient resource that is valuable to novice as well as more experienced nurses who may need a quick bedside reference. Easy to read, the illustrations, particularly of pathophysiology, add to the book's effectiveness.