Textbook of Intensive Care

Textbook of Intensive Care

International Journal of Nursing Studies 37 (2000) 555±556 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijnurstu Book reviews Fundamentals of Pharmacology: A Text For Nu...

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International Journal of Nursing Studies 37 (2000) 555±556


Book reviews Fundamentals of Pharmacology: A Text For Nurses and Health Professionals by Azan Galwraith, Shan Bullock, Elizabeth Manias, Barry Hunt & Ann Richards; Addison, Wesley, Longman, UK, 1999, 772 pp., £21.99. Fundamentals of Pharmacology in many ways presents itself as the complete textbook for nurses on this subject. It has been written by four lecturers in nursing and health studies and another in information technology. It is therefore particularly focussed on the needs of nurses and I am not sure that other health professionals, particularly pharmacists and physicians, would ®nd the material o€ers much advantage over the classic textbooks in clinical pharmacology. The book is divided into 13 sections; the ®rst two examining pharmacology in a social and professional context, the third on aspects such as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, the fourth on toxicology and the remainder dealing with drugs groups classi®ed by actions on various body systems or clinical use. In fact nearly every category of drug in the British National Formulary is covered by this textbook. A particular novel feature is the complementary Web site that contains further exercises and answers to the questions presented in the book. The chapters that cover the various groups of drugs are dealt with in a user friendly and standardised manner. In every chapter learning objectives are clearly stated and a very complete table is presented giving generic and trade names of each drug together with what is felt by the authors to be the most important

considerations associated with its use. Questions and further reading are also provided after each chapter, with a good number of case studies to illustrate important points. Also a very useful feature is provided at the end of each chapter where sections have been written to highlight the clinical management of patients using the drug group as well as points to be raised in client teaching. In some respects I feel that this book has not been well titled. From an academic standpoint the fundamentals of pharmacology would focus more on the modes of action of drugs. Perhaps a better title would be clinical pharmacology and therapeutics for nurses. As the book attempts to be both a practical source of reference and also a textbook for teaching basic principles I found that many important learning points tended to become lost. In particular a clearer overview of the ways that drugs act could have been presented earlier in the text, although the information is certainly present. Also some areas of oversimpli®cation in certain aspects of pharmacology results in a less than complete explanation being given, but usually sucient for the purposes in which the text was written. Fundamentals of Pharmacology is an important learning tool for both quali®ed and student nurses. Those new to pharmacology may wish to start with a more digestible text.

L. Goodyer King's College, London, UK

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Textbook of Intensive Care Edited by David Goldhill and Stuart Withington; Chapman and Hall Medical, Oxford, UK, 1997, 894 pp., £49.50 (paperback), £99.00 (hardback).

A well-written and presented textbook, which covers all aspects of Intensive Care. The book aims to provide an easily accessible overview of the knowledge, skills and ideas required for Intensive Care practice. The


Book reviews / International Journal of Nursing Studies 37 (2000) 555±556

book has largely achieved these aims, and will no doubt be an extremely valuable resource for practitioners working in this area of practice. The book is arranged into six main sections, each containing a variety of chapters. The wide range of national and international contributors makes this an excellent general reference for all members of the interdisciplinary team, including doctors, nurses and other related disciplines. However, although many aspects of Intensive Care are incorporated, including resource allocation, ethics and other management issues, the book is very medically focused. Chapters in the ®rst section include Advanced life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, Paediatric and Neonatal Resuscitation. For consistency it would have been useful to make some reference to Adult Basic Life Support, as this was included for children and neonates but not for adults. The chapters on Haemorrhage, Transportation and Major Incidents are especially useful, as these issues are not often incorporated in texts such as this. There are a number of valuable chapters within the second section, some of which focus on the nurse's role. However, Nursing in Intensive Care is a somewhat short chapter that could perhaps have received a higher pro®le. A number of omissions are also evident, as it would have been useful to discuss the importance of promoting sleep and rest, controlling noise levels and preventing sensory deprivation or overload. The bene®ts of therapeutic touch and music therapy in Intensive Care have also been documented. Intensive Care Radiology is an essential chapter that is full of illustrations, including normal and abnormal X-rays. This will be a useful resource for nurses and junior doctors. There is obvious consistency in the format of the PII: S 0 0 2 0 - 7 4 8 9 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 3 7 - 7

remaining sections, which are focused around the body systems. Each chapter starts with an overview of normal physiology, followed by appropriate pharmacological agents and an assessment of organ function. This is essential, as interventions should always be preceded by assessment. The chapter on Assessment and Monitoring of Respiratory Function is especially useful, as the limitations of the assessment tools were acknowledged. The chapters relating to assessment are mostly followed by chapters on organ failure and other related conditions. Relevant management interventions were mostly discussed. Very useful chapters are found towards the end of the book. These focus on the organisational and design aspects of Intensive Care, and ethical dilemmas. It is extremely pertinent to include details of cost and resource allocation in a text such as this. Overall, this is a very useful textbook of Intensive Care. This should become a valuable resource for many practitioners working within all areas of critical care practice. Some chapters are easier to follow than others and, whilst this is inevitable, some require a basic understanding of the key concepts beforehand. I would therefore not necessarily recommend this as an introductory text for nurses who are new to Intensive Care nursing. However, the text is highly recommended for the more experienced nurse or those who are undertaking Clinical Awards such as the E.N.B. 100 in General Intensive Care Nursing, or Master's level programmes in Critical Care Nursing. Tina Day Programme Leader, Critical Care, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College, London, UK