1. Pangarakis, Sarah MS, RN, CCNS, CCRN

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Karen K. Carlson, Vicki S. Good, Peggy L. Kirkwood, and Christine Smith Schulman. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders, 2009. $99.95. ISBN 978-1-4160-3219-9. 1597 pp.


AACN Advanced Critical Care Nursing is a comprehensive critical care textbook that focuses on enhancing critical thinking and skill development while incorporating best practice and research utilization. This resource book is an excellent companion to the AACN Procedure Manual for Critical Care because it provides reasoning and background to certain procedures or interventions. Because AACN Advanced Critical Care Nursing focuses on the principles of adult learning theories, building on experiences and current knowledge, this text should be part of any experienced critical or progressive care staff nurse, preceptor, educator, and critical care Advanced Practice Registered Nurses library.


This textbook is well written and organized by many skilled American Association of Critical Care Nurses authors. The content is all-inclusive of the numerous aspects of critical care nursing. Chapters 1 through 9 include innovative content relevant to critical care nurses' environment, practice, and care. Examples of important and timely topics are healthy work environment, comorbid illness scoring systems, pain and sedation, nutrition, family dynamics, and prophylactic care. These issues are pertinent to intensive care unit nurses because they are additional components that accompany any critically ill patient beyond the obvious pathophysiological state. The subsequent chapters consist of critical care diseases, procedures, and interventions correlating to body systems. Special features are presented throughout the text to highlight evolving critical care nursing. Such features include nutrition and research utilization boxes, medication tables, colorful illustration, storyline case studies, and multidisciplinary care plans. One example of a research utilization feature is the "Impact of cerebrospinal fluid drainage on the incidence of spinal cord deficits" within the vascular emergencies chapter.


The reader of this book may use it to understand a patient's illness, in a teaching situation, or as a reference to answering a germane clinical practice question. Although the content is dense, it is easily broken up by bold-titled paragraphs, and the visuals are captivating and explanatory. The user-friendly table of contents and index allow for quick pinpointing of specific topics. Utilization of Advanced Critical Care Nursing, in conjunction with the AACN Procedure Manual, will provide the maximum benefit to the critical care nurse because of the complimentary structure and content of each text.