Reviewer: Candace M. Gortney, BSN, MSN, CFNP (U.S. Navy)
Description: This book is a tool with references for completing a patient history and physical exam (query, performance, and documentation). This third edition contains enhancements in the areas of obstetrics, transcultural concerns, and expanded abnormal findings.
Purpose: The purpose is to prepare nurses to perform history and physical examinations. It has been expanded to include areas missing from prior editions and other texts. These are worthy objectives. The cultural content is excellent. The author's objectives are met, although far more is included than the generic student can incorporate, and it is an insufficient source to be used as a reference by experienced practitioners. The author should focus on what she is trying to do - either provide a nursing text or a physical examination tool. Trying to do both means a less than ideal product for either.
Audience: Written for student nurses, the diagnosis component is too inclusive for BSN student needs. The text is too superficial for advanced practitioners to use as a reference but is excellent for a physical diagnosis assessment course. The author is well known.
Features: Issues related to completing a history, performance and documentation, common physical examination findings, and abnormalities are featured. The presentation is strong on cultural issues, obstetrics and pediatrics, immunization schedules, self-care, and health promotion content. The concept of nursing diagnosis is clearly described in table format. There are excellent tables with the current USPSTF recommendations. Additionally the color plates, pediatric neurological assessment, and transcultural sections are particularly useful. There are some distinct absences (diagnostic maneuvers) and errors (TB cannot be diagnosed by physical exam, for example). Some errors of omission are adult and travel immunizations, physical diagnostic maneuvers (such as knee, shoulder, Weber, and Rinne tests). Examples of abnormal appear to be chosen by whether a photograph was available, rather than on the likelihood of prevalence.
Assessment: I thought the author tried to present a text for all levels of nurses, and her objective suffered because of this. What makes this type of book valuable for novices makes it unnecessary for the expert. By being so broad, it does not include what more experts need and could not be used as a full scope reference. Providing tables of immunization for 1999 dates the book, and only includes information for children. This edition's increase in content makes it more valuable to the nursing student and less valuable as a resource to the experienced practitioner.