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From The CriticsReviewer: Deborah Jean Baker, BA,BSN,MSN(Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Description: This book is an elaborate assessment and intervention guide for nurses working in "fast track" assessment areas in hospitals. The book's primary usefulness as a quick reference is reinforced by the appropriate use of algorithms, illustrations, and vignettes. In addition, the authors' comprehensive approach, including pathophysiology and extensive references, render it appropriate for use in the curriculum of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
Purpose: The purpose, as outlined by the authors, is two-fold - to be used as a quick reference for nurses working in acute "fast track" areas and as a source for further study and understanding of common acute issues. The book meets this challenge with its consistent organizational style and comprehensive approach. However, the use of bolded areas and icons could better assist the reader in its use as a quick reference in a hospital setting. In its current form it is more accessible to students who have time to read the elaborate descriptions and references.
Audience: The authors' direct this book to staff nurses who need a knowledge base from which to practice. The authors are credible authorities because of their work experience in acute care areas requiring rapid assessment skills as well as the extensive research in preparation of the book. The evidence-based approach renders the book useful in undergraduate and graduate curriculums as well as for nurses working in specialized areas. The writing style is directed towards specialty training for experienced nurses and nurse practitioners working and/or studying in specialty areas. It assumes an inclusive multidisciplinary approach in the care of acutely ill patients.
Features: The organization of the book is logical and easy to follow. It commences with necessary definitions and purpose including a description of the evolution of such medical units in the United Kingdom. The topics covered are common acute medical acute problems beginning with the most acute, sudden death, and ending with more enigmatic presentations, such as abdominal pain. The content holds up to the "quick reference" challenge because of it's recapitulation of the ABCDE approach in resuscitation of like patients in individual chapters as well as the table for normal values, sample EKG strips and algorithms for decision-making. Again the book's strength is in its comprehensive approach and evidence-based referencing for further reading and study. A shortcoming in the presentation is the need for more bolded areas with larger print for quick referencing. It is refreshing that the authors do not try to squeeze content to fit a very concise style, but readers need more esthetic assistance to be drawn to "pearls" within the text. Also, there is limited universality in the legal and diagnostic descriptions for patients who are victims of abuse and are mentally ill as implemented in the United Kingdom. In the U.S., ICD-9 codes for the mentally ill are not as useful as the DSM-V descriptors for diagnoses of mental illness. The legal responsibilities of the medical staff in reporting the treatment of vulnerable patients may vary in different countries.
Assessment: This is a high quality book — well-researched and organized in a useful fashion. It is useful in both clinical and didactic areas for undergraduate and graduate nurses studying in specialty areas. For on-the-job clinical usefulness, it is superior to many pocket guides because of its comprehensive approach. Its concise presentation renders it more accessible to nurses than the two books commonly used in medical units and nurse practitioner programs: Tierney, McPhee and Papadakis, Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2003, 42nd edition (McGraw-Hill, 2003), and Braunwald et al., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 15th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2001). There are few books outside of emergency medicine manuals available for nurses working in this highly specialized and evolving area of acute care medicine.