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From The CriticsReviewer: Rita A. Emerick, MSN, RN (St. Vincent's Hospital and Health Care Center)
Description: This book on decision making includes theory components, 124 cases, a bibliography at the end of each chapter, and a personal notebook section at the end of each set of cases. A teacher/student guide is provided at the beginning. One improvement over the previous edition (1994) is the incorporation of group problem solving.
Purpose: The purpose is to promote critical thinking in management and support vicarious and inferential learning. The objectives are indeed worthy because they allow for scaffolding, practice, and group processes, as well as personalization of learning. The objectives are met, but not within each chapter. Some of the chapters have cases that increase in complexity using the theories discussed and other chapters only use cases that are similar in complexity. It should be noted that it is difficult to design a case that allows for a vicarious learning experience for a general audience.
Audience: The audience includes faculty, senior nursing students, new managers, and returning students. The focus is nursing management issues.
Features: The illustrations are clear and useful, and many are used to summarize theory in a brief fashion. The overall layout of the book is pleasing to read. It would be helpful to identify in the table of contents where the case studies are located, since not every chapter includes them.
Assessment: I would recommend purchasing this book for entry level discussions regarding nursing management issues. I found the case studies supportive of initial problem solving and critical thinking capabilities of beginning practitioners. The authors provide an analysis of 20 percent of the cases cited to simulate the key thought processes required for problem solving. The authors suggest faculty incorporate a creative teaching methodology when using the book. For instance, the personal notebook is a creative addition to the book, but missing is the literature related to reflective thinking. However, the value of completing the notebook provided and facilitation of reflective thinking is left to the faculty, since the literature related to this subject is missing. Still, the authors' brief review of pertinent theory is supportive of the case studies. The bibliography following each chapter is valuable.