1. Aldridge, Michael D. MSN, RN, CNS, CNE
  2. Cronin, Sherill Nones PhD, RN-BC
  3. Leasure, A. Renee PhD, RN, CCRN

Article Content


D'Arcy Y. ISBN 978-0-8261-0549-3, $45; New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2011.


Yvonne D'Arcy's new text, Compact Clinical Guide to Chronic Pain Management, is targeted toward nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists who care for adult patients with chronic pain. The overall emphasis of the text is the assessment and treatment of chronic pain. D'Arcy has edited a series of 5 pain management texts for various populations and settings, including chronic pain, acute pain, critical care and trauma pain management, geriatric pain management, and pediatric pain management. She is a noted expert on the topic, having published and presented extensively in her work as a palliative care nurse practitioner. The text reflects her expertise well, as you feel like you are getting the benefit of someone with years of expert clinical practice as you read the text.


The book, designed to fit in a laboratory coat pocket compactly, is divided into 5 sections. Section 1 defines chronic pain and discusses the challenges clinicians have to overcome when assessing patients with chronic pain. Many useful tools are described in this section. Section 2 describes options for managing pain, including nonopioid analgesics, opioids, coanalgesics, complementary therapies, and pain clinic referrals. Specific drug dosing is listed, as well as the advantages and disadvantages to each therapy. Section 3 discusses special considerations the clinician must take when treating chronic pain, including the effects of gender and genetics as well as addiction. One of the most useful chapters discusses how to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for patients with chronic pain. Safe prescribing methods as well as examples of tools, such as an opioid treatment agreement, are explained here. Section 4 lists several chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and headaches, and treatment options are discussed. Section 5 explains the management of neuropathic pain syndromes. Diagrams and boxes containing "clinical pearls" help the reader understand the information more easily.


Each chapter contains current references, as well as a case study with discussion questions. A list of Web sites where current pain management guidelines can be located is in an appendix. These extra features could be used by the individual practitioner, or this text could be incorporated into a course about chronic pain management.


In summary, practitioners who oversee the treatment of chronic pain in the adult population will likely find this new reference an invaluable addition to their bookshelf. This text would also be useful to students learning about chronic pain management or to those who want to specialize in palliative care.



Oakes L. ISBN 978-0-8261-0617-9, $45; New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2011.


Linda Oakes' new text, Compact Clinical Guide to Infant and Child Pain Management, is targeted toward nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists who care for pediatric patients with acute and chronic pain. There is also a multitude of information in the text that would be helpful to acute-care nurses as well, as the overall emphasis of the text is the assessment and treatment of pain using a holistic approach. The author is an expert pain management practitioner who currently works as a pain clinical nurse specialist. She has many years of both clinical and research experiences that are reflecting in her writing. Although the book is solidly grounded in evidence, there are many "clinical pearls" that arise from real-life clinical experiences.


The book, designed to fit in a laboratory coat pocket compactly, is divided into 7 sections. Section 1 provides an overview of the physiology of pain in children as well as the challenge of assessing pain accurately. The pros and cons of various pain assessment tools are reviewed as well. Section 2 discusses medications that are used to manage acute and chronic pain, including opioids, nonopioids, and coanalgesics. Dosing, available formulations, and adverse effects are listed. Section 3 describes the use of regional anesthesia, including epidural infusions and peripheral nerve blocks. Adverse effects and complications of these therapies are also explained. Section 4 discusses nonpharmacologic methods of treating pain, such as cognitive-behavioral techniques and physical methods such as massage and acupuncture. Section 5 describes the importance of coordinating a multidisciplinary approach to pain management and emphasizes the role of the parents as well. Several examples of handouts and patient education materials are present in this chapter. Section 6 looks at special considerations involving pain, such as needle-related procedures, critical illness, and terminal illness. These chapters should be required reading for all bedside nurses who work in these settings. The final section examines common pediatric pain conditions, including postoperative pain, sickle cell disease, cancer pain, and chronic pain.


Each chapter contains current references, as well as many tables and figures. The chapters are succinct and easy to read, with generous use of subheadings and bullet points. A list of Web sites where current pain management guidelines and pain scales can be located in an appendix. This text could be used as a bedside reference as well as a reference text in the classroom setting, although the text would be more beneficial in the classroom if it contained case studies or discussion questions.


In summary, practitioners who treat or care for children experiencing pain will likely find this new reference a valuable addition to their bookshelf. This text would also be useful to students learning about pediatric pain management or to those who want to specialize in palliative care.



Landrum MA. ISBN 978-0-8261-0728-2, $30; New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2012.


Michele Angell Landrum's new text presents many of the most critical aspects of critical-care nursing in a format that is easy to read and understand. This text, one of several in a series by this publisher, is designed to fit into a laboratory coat pocket. The book is intended to be used by beginning critical-care nurses who are just learning the specialized aspects of critical-care or veteran nurses who need the occasional quick reference.


The text is divided into 4 parts. Part 1 overviews the foundations of critical care, including documentation, advanced directives, and palliative care. Part 2 discusses the basics of critical-care nursing, such as nutrition, preparation for procedures, isolation precautions, and intravenous access. Part 3 presents critical equipment, including respiratory equipment, arterial lines, dialysis, and cardiac equipment. Part 4 presents information about specialty critical-care units, such as neurological units, transplant units, and burn units.


This book does have some weaknesses worth noting. Although most protocols are current and relevant, some are not well referenced or are based on hospital policies rather than primary sources. At other times, the chapters seem incomplete. For example, the author chose to include a detailed procedure for urinary catheterization, but there is virtually no discussion of nasogastric tubes or management of drains. There is scant coverage of common medications used in the critical-care setting, which would have been beneficial even if presented in an abbreviated table format.


One of the most useful parts of this book is the appendix. Basic electrocardiogram rhythms are presented in an easy-to-read format. There is also a page illustrating where to place the electrodes when doing a 12-lead electrocardiogram, as well as a list of abbreviations commonly encountered in the critical-care setting.


In summary, although this book is not a perfect reference, it could be helpful to some nurses, especially those who are new to the critical-care setting. The book's portability and readability are perhaps its greatest traits.



Studer Q, Robinson BC, Cook K. ISBN 978-0-9828503-0-5, $28; Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing; 2010.


This book, The HCAHPS Handbook: Hardwire Your Hospital for Pay-for-Performance Success, is written by Quint Studer (founder and CEO of Studer Group, a well-known national consulting group), along with 2 of his colleagues from the firm, Brian Robinson and Karen Cook. As they note on the book jacket, Studer Group Partner Hospitals outperform the nation by an average of 20 percentile points across Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) measures. So this suggests that they know something about the topic!


As anyone involved in hospital-based care should know by now, the HCAHPS is a federally mandated and publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services instituted the measure as a way of providing comparable data across hospitals so consumers can make more meaningful decisions about their providers of choice. Because these scores will have an impact on reimbursement, the HCAHPS survey also creates incentives for hospitals to improve their quality of care. As a result, hospitals are working hard to raise their scores, using a variety of tactics. The HCAHPS Handbook is designed to highlight the top tactics that Studer Group hospitals have found to produce positive results consistently over time.


The book opens with an excellent overview of HCAHPS and how it relates to the value-based purchasing initiative that begins in FY 2013. It also includes an introduction to evidence-based leadership, a framework that Studer Group uses to assist partner hospitals with aligning their goals and behaviors in order to ensure consistent achievement of desired outcomes. The next chapter provides information about some foundational tactics that increase the likelihood of creating a culture of excellence. The rest of the book is divided into 8 sections that correspond to each of the HCAHPS composites or questions. Within each section, separate chapters are devoted to each of the survey questions that comprise the composite (eg, nursing communication includes [a] courtesy and respect, [b] careful listening, and [c] understandable explanations), along with detailed strategies for improving scores in that area. The book ends with a chapter about validating whether team members are executing the strategies effectively and consistently.


The book is designed to serve as a user-friendly desk reference for leaders. As such, it provides practical ideas that nurse managers and clinical leaders may use for addressing and improving their HCAHPS scores. However, the authors note that they are not encouraging staff to focus on the scores alone ("teaching to the test" syndrome), but rather to see the meaningfulness of the results and how the suggested tactics can really translate to better patient care. I would strongly concur with this sentiment and hope that readers will always keep in mind the "why" of what they're doing!



Resnick B, Boltz M, Galik E, Pretzer-Abott I. ISBN 978-0-8621-3384-7; E-book ISBN 978-0-8621-3385-4; $55; New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2012.


This book contains 178 pages organized into 8 chapters. The first 2 chapters provide an overview of function-focused care, which is also referred to as restorative care. Chapters 3 through 6 discuss function-focused care in specific settings, whereas chapters 7 and 8 discuss function-focused care in persons with cognitive impairment and ethical issues, respectively. Of particular interest to critical-care nurses is the chapter that focuses on the acute-care setting.


In the forward to this book, Colin Milner states that approximately 83% of the time that older adults are hospitalized is spent in bed. This number significantly underestimates the time critically ill patients spend in bed. The authors of the book discuss the significance early mobility in the intensive care unit has in enhancing transfer as well as safety outcomes. The authors provide examples of successful programs such as the impact of a mobility team (critical-care nurse, nursing assistant, and physical therapist) on patient outcomes.


Each chapter contains a list of helpful Web sites and example programs from NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders). In the "Step It Up a Notch," walks were conducted twice a day with patients walking and dancing to music in the hallway. The authors provide specific suggestions to promote safety including use of gait belts, as well as appropriate chair and bed height.


As our population continues to age, we will be serving increasing numbers of older adults in the intensive care unit. In tandem with this population shift, hospitals are moving sicker patients through the system quicker. This book has a clear writing style, uses liberal use of tables, and contains many examples that interested institutions may implement. Readers will find the discussion supported by numerous empirical studies. Restorative Care Nursing for Older Adults is a timely and comprehensive review of function-focused care across all clinical settings.