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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carole A. Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN (Council of International Neonatal Nurses)
Description: This clinical pocket guide provides the student or practicing nurse with a quick reference for health assessment. It starts the assessment from a systems perspective, then goes to special populations, and finally special considerations.
Purpose: The purpose is to bridge the gap between the classroom and the clinical setting. The format guides the student from the system's function, to key elements of the examination including developmental and cultural considerations, positioning, tools, and helpful hints for obtaining accurate results. These worthy objectives for the most part are met.
Audience: The audience is the nursing student and it could be used by practicing nurses who are not familiar with certain populations or need a refresher. The author is a credible authority.
Features: The book starts with a systems approach to the assessment. In each of these chapters developmental and cultural considerations are included. Illustrations are included to show abnormal findings. Medications that may adversely affect a system or the nurse's observations are discussed. The next section is population based with chapters on infants and toddlers, adolescents, older adults, mothers to be. The last section identifies special topics such as spirituality and culture. The shortcomings of the text are the lack of inclusion of genetic implication in taking a family history, genetic variations found during examination or as considerations. Cultural aspects of the assessment do not give examples of what to do or not to do with certain cultures - the approach should be based on culture. In addition there is no real material on the premature infant or variations in the physical assessment or for that matter consideration of the family in terms of assessment.
Assessment: The book is handy in size and attractive from the standpoint of illustrations and tables. Potter et al's Pocket Guide to Health Assessment, 5th edition (Elsevier, 2003). The Potter book includes more aspects of the nursing process and employs critical thinking. It also contains aspects of delegation that this book does not. However, this is a good book and would be easy to use in a clinical setting.