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Editor's note: Welcome to the world of publishing! The Journal for Nurses in Staff Development is looking for nurses to read and review newly authored books. Book reviewing is one of the best ways for a new writer to break into publishing or a seasoned writer to explore new possibilities for future work. You can advance your knowledge from the newest and hottest books available. As a reviewer, you will improve your own writing skills, contribute to evidence-based practice, and enjoy developing your professional career along the way. Accurate book reviews by experienced nurses provide a critical service to healthcare providers, allowing them to quickly grasp the book's content, strengths, weaknesses, format, and interpretations before deciding to invest the time in reading the book themselves. You provide that service every time your reviews are published. Join us now! Become a reviewer! Send your name and areas of expertise to the editor, Belinda E. Puetz, PhD, RN, at bepuetz@aol.com today!

  
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CONCEPT MAPPING: A CRITICAL-THINKING APPROACH TO CARE PLANNING (2nd Ed.)

Pamela McHugh Schuster, Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Company, 2008, paperback, ISBN 978-0-8036-1567-0, 192 pages, $28.95.

 

* Reviewed by:

 

Margaret Anne Gubert, MHSM, BSN, RN

 

Clinical Nurse Educator Community Living Center

 

North Florida/South Georgia VA Health System

 

Gainesville, Florida

 

The purpose of this book was to assist students to organize and analyze patient data. It helps students visualize how medical and nursing diagnoses relate to each other. This book shows how to quickly analyze collected clinical data that are then used to plan patient care. It covers this information gathering in a very detailed, in-depth way.

 

The author describes how to gather and organize clinical data and display it in a care map. She stresses that the concept care map must be based on actual problems that arise from real patient information. There is even an area on the map where information that is collected but not yet understood can be placed. Several patient scenarios are presented that guide the reader where to look for the needed information as well as how to place this information into the care map. For the visual learner, sample maps assist in visualizing the process.

 

The Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice from the American Nurses Association help identify patient outcomes, plan nursing interventions, and evaluate nursing care plans. The standards are identified and then related to the various parts of the care map.

 

The adult teaching and therapeutic communication topics help the new student working with the adult patient not only to teach but also to assess and evaluate the teaching and the patient's understanding.

 

This book is a wonderful initial study guide and also a great reference book for the library of any new nurse or nursing student. One of the book's weaknesses is the use of "do not use" abbreviations throughout the sample scenarios and care plans. These are the abbreviations that The Joint Commission has published; most facilities have policies in place to not use these abbreviations. However, this book does make a contribution to the nursing unit library with this caveat.

 

INTERACTIVE GROUP LEARNING: STRATEGIES FOR NURSE EDUCATORS (2nd Ed.)

Deborah L. Ulrich, Kellie J. Glendon, New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2005, ISBN: 0-8261-3105-0, 153 pages, US $50.00.

 

* Reviewed by:

 

Katherine Redman, MSN, RN

 

Clinical Nurse Educator

 

Malcom Randall VA Medical Center

 

Gainesville, Florida

 

Ulrich and Glendon invite the reader to evaluate traditional methods of teaching and to consider incorporating interactive group learning strategies and methods into classroom and clinical education. The purpose of this book was to stimulate nurse educators to move away from traditional teaching methods. The book is a resource for teaching ideas and techniques to integrate into existing lesson plans or to implement into an entire course. The reader is first introduced to the new "learning paradigm," where students actively construct their own knowledge and the teacher's job is to assist students to discover the material rather than to outline it for them. The text then discusses the Comprehensive Group Learning Model that serves as a "learning umbrella" for the chapters that follow, which include "Cooperative Learning Strategies," "Unfolding Case Models," "Experiential Learning Strategies," and "Writing Exercises."

 

The authors write from experience. Both are accomplished professors of nursing in addition to national speakers on innovative teaching in nursing; they have collectively written journal articles on various interactive teaching strategies. The authors appeal to educators of student nurses in the classroom or the clinical setting and to educators of staff nurses to be creative in selecting methods to best meet learning objectives. The majority of the text provides descriptions and helpful examples of teaching strategies and how each can cultivate various aspects of individual as well as group learning. The chapters would have been enhanced by more professionally generated illustrations.

 

The authors have successfully achieved their stated purpose by providing a useful resource for educators new to interactive group learning and by introducing the possibilities of teaching "outside the box" using the multitude of learning strategies described. Those new to teaching may be overwhelmed by the surplus of techniques discussed, left feeling unsure of where to begin. However, for those educators feeling tired by the traditional exchange of information between teacher and student or challenged by time constraints, large clinical groups, and overworked, deflated nurses, this book can open the door to a rejuvenating approach to both teaching and learning. It is a book to be read cover to cover then kept as a valuable resource when developing lesson plans, clinical conferences, and staff inservice classes. This book is a must-read for every educator seeking a new approach to educating nurses.