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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David A. Nolfi, MLS, AHIP (Duquesne University)
Description: This book examines the research process from beginning to end, covering essential topics such as understanding and searching the medical literature, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and ethical considerations of research. This second edition provides important updates to the 2001 publication, addressing changes in the landscape such as HIPAA laws and practical topics including grant writing and working with Institutional Review Boards.
Purpose: The editor emphasizes the need for physician assistants (PAs) to understand and participate in medical research. As a relatively new profession, PAs are working to define their role in the ranks of healthcare professionals. This book makes a powerful argument that PAs can, and should be, integral participants in the research process.
Audience: According to the editor, the book is "intended as a beginner's or introductory guide" and it can serve "as a textbook to accompany medical research programs in PA programs." He also notes that it can be "a resource, reference, and text for all PAs, whether they are practicing clinicians, educators, or students." Given the breadth of coverage and excellent examples, it serves this audience well and could potentially serve larger audiences of nursing and allied health students and professionals.
Features: The book is organized into three broad sections: "Contemplating Research," "Your Research," and "Research Considerations," teaching essentials such as using literature in clinical practice, research design, evidence-based medicine, and writing research articles. Two chapters focus on theoretical aspects of research ethics as well as practical considerations when dealing with human subjects and protected health information.
Assessment: The editor notes that there are more than 60,000 practicing PAs in the United States and 10,000 students enrolled in 134 educational programs. Nonetheless, there are a relatively small number of books devoted to the physician assistant profession. This edition helps to fill the gap in the literature. By selecting virtually all PA chapter authors and reviewers, the editor not only organizes an excellent text for PA students, but also models what he is teaching: PAs can be effective researchers. This book serves as an excellent reference for practicing PAs, and I strongly recommend it for any library supporting a midlevel practitioner program.