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From The CriticsReviewer: Diana J. Moxness, ARNP, MSN (Creighton University School of Nursing)
Description: This textbook provides students with a basic understanding of various medications as well as the nurse's unique role in the administration of these medications.
Purpose: A specific purpose statement is not offered. However, the editors state that "this text provides a systematic framework for evaluating patient responses," based on individual factors. It also "integrates nursing with pharmacology, to help the student apply nursing pharmacology knowledge to practice, safely administer drugs, educate patients...." These objectives reflect what a nursing student needs to know about pharmacology. The editors strive to create a link between the two disciplines of nursing and pharmacology. The systematic framework of this text assists the editors in meeting their stated objectives. Each chapter includes information about "core drug knowledge" and "core patient variables," along with a nursing process plan for managing the care of patients taking a particular medication.
Audience: The target audience is nursing students. I concur that this text is written in accord with a nursing student's level of knowledge and reading comprehension. The editors seem to be credible authorities on this subject matter.
Features: This text covers the majority of medications prescribed to clients in the acute and ambulatory care settings. Each chapter presents important information regarding patient and family education for community-based clients, where a majority of clients are found in today's health arena. Two areas covered well are pathophysiology and patient variables, which may affect a therapeutic drug response. The editors present disease pathophysiology and how the pharmacodynamic and pharmacotherapeutic properties of a drug assist in treating or managing major symptoms of the disease. This type of information is important for a nursing student to better understand why a certain drug is prescribed. Core patient variables, such as age, gender, ethnicity, or cultural practices can have a profound effect as to whether or not the patient will have a therapeutic response to a medication. The editors consistently address these issues in every chapter. The case study and nursing care plan approaches prove to be innovative methods that enhance student learning. The care plans present potential problems and explain how to manage potential adverse effects as well as maximize the chances for a therapeutic medication effect. The case studies serve to enhance a student's problem solving abilities and importantly address common situations in the acute care or community healthcare setting. This text has many unique features. "Memory chips" provide a helpful, brief overview of each drug. The Pharmacology Review Disk included should also prove useful for students to test their comprehension. The chapters on certain alterations in health status (pain, emotions) are also a helpful feature. A problem such as pain can greatly alter a client's therapeutic response to a medication, and I appreciate that the editors did not overlook this issue. One shortcoming identified is the nursing management maps provided in each chapter; I find these difficult to follow and rather unnecessary. I also would have appreciated more color variation in the text.
Assessment: I adopted this textbook for a nursing pharmacology course based on its emphasis on the link between each drug and a pathophysiological disease process as well as the inclusion of information regarding individual patient variables which may alter drug therapy. I have not found another text that addresses these issues in as much depth. I also feel that this textbook is easier for the nursing student to read and comprehend. The previous text used for this course was McKenry's Mosby's Pharmacology in Nursing, 20th Edition (Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1998). That text was difficult to read in part because of repetitious information and the use of many complex terms. Additionally, the primary emphasis was on pharmacology-based facts about each medication rather than on the nurse's unique role in the management of drug therapy.