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Mental Health Nursing at a Glance (At a Glance (Nursing and Healthcare)) Paperback – 14 Nov 2014
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The book has 3 main sections each of which is colour coded:
- essential skills (burgundy)
- nursing individuals with mental health needs
- leadership skills
The Bad Bit(s):
As a Forensic and Criminal Psychologist I was a little shocked at the lack of thickness of this volume – it is one of the thinnest volumes I have come across in the “At A Glance” series. The actual mental health section is only 87 pages long and I know from my years of training that 87 pages in no way comes near to touching the subject of treating mental health … however, as a revision text or a pre-class reading this would be a great help.
I have noticed that some of the terms used are prone to swapping and changing – for example:
I love the use of the “Practice Tree”, but in some areas it is called the “Nursing Practice Tree” and in others just the “Practice Tree”. Surely it would have been better to stick to one rather than change it randomly. Ok, that one is me being pedantic.
The Good Bit(s):
As I said I love the use of the “Practice Tree” it shows that there are a number of facets to be taken into consideration and a number of grades of mental health issues.
I would also have highlighted the words in the Essential Skills in section 2 “Building therapeutic relationships” under the subheading “Professional boundaries” regarding self-disclosure.
It is always important to have “relationship” with your patient but you need to be very careful when dealing with people with mental health problems – some are vulnerable and will grasp onto anything that they can to try to form a deeper “connection”; however, there are those who will look for the smallest mention of information (even in overheard conversations between staff members) can be picked up, stored and then used – especially for shock effect. Just a simple mention of “so you’re allergic to abc” or “you support xyz” or “how’s you son/daughter, have they got over the sniffles” can leave you temporarily reeling, wondering how they found that out when you know you never said anything to them. That moment, no matter how fleeting, can give them enough of an opening and they are in.
It should be emphasised that this isn’t just about professional boundaries but about safety too.
Finally I would have liked it to be pointed out that the nursing staff should be a great source of information for the psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as the main face of the profession for the patients, but they are not trained psychologists or psychiatrists and diagnosis should be left to those with the extra in depth training – this is not to try to denigrate their job or position but to point out that they cannot and should not think they can diagnose or can order a drug and therapy regime off their own backs.
As a Mental Health professional myself I would like to think that my colleagues would do what I try to and read books like this to understand what colleagues on the nursing side have to do (which includes more professional contact with the patient than I would ever have). If only to try to ensure that we too know our boundaries and can respect what they do too.
All too often my colleagues (and, sadly, I admit I myself) tend to forget that they are at the sharp end believing that our need for fast and accurate information is more important than anything else. There are even those in the profession that will treat nurses like “underlings” to get a pen or a cup of coffee (I am ashamed to say that my HoD once did the awful “get me a cup of tea dear, 2 sugars” to a ward sister of some note).
Some people still think it is the 1950s and that nurses are there to serve the doctors not to care for the patients.
The Chapters are short 2 or 3 pages in length and are split into paragraphs which cover important sub-sections. The language used is clear as are the images.
As I said earlier it is a good book if you are looking for a revision text or for pre-class reading material.
It uses a labelled diagram called 'the Practice Tree' to visually illustrate the hierarchy and complexity of all the aspects of the nursing role and the issues they might need to deal with - from care, compassion and communication at the roots - to the various mental health conditions at the top. It is quite an effective way of illustrating each part of the work, and where it fits in the nursing role structure, as the relevant issues are highlighted in each chapter. For instance, the Practice Tree for Bipolar Disorder highlights the labels: Care, compassion and communication, Building therapeutic relationships, Physical wellbeing, Classification, Psychological interventions, Medication and ECT, Bipolar affective disorder. So it is an extra, and visual, aid to remembering the important aspects.
The book is in three parts, beginning with Essential skills - which is an overview of basic nursing skills. It covers: Care, compassion and communication,Therapeutic relationships, Values, Risk management, Infection control, Nutrition, Elimination, Clinical observation, Documentation and Medicines management.
The second part is Nursing individuals with mental health needs. This covers: Assessment, Risk, Classification, Psychological interventions, Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Eating disorders, Personality disorders, Learning disabilities and mental health, Functional disorders in older adults, Dementia, Acute confusional states, Drug and alcohol misuse, CAMHS, Recovery, Physical Wellbeing, Mental health law (UK so it is relevant), Medication and ECT.
The third part is Leadership Skills. This covers: Organising care, Leadership, Managing people, Time management, Decision-making, Utilising research, Reflection, Lifelong learning.
And, at the back, it has a small Appendix, with diagrams and detailed instructions - of basic clinical procedures: taking pulse, blood pressure, measuring respirations, measuring peak flow, taking temperature, dipstick urinalysis and measuring blood glucose. And also a reading list and glossary.
Like all the Wiley medical / health texts, this has an accompanying website which provides extra resources - multiple choice questions and case studies - relating to the subject area within each chapter.
It is quite basic, but that is no criticism - it would be an excellent overview text book and study guide for a new student. And the focus on care, compassion and communication is very refreshing.
Although undoubtedly written for pre-reg students, this is book would be of use to anyone needing a quick revision of some part of mental health care. Even if this guide doesn't have the information, it will have enough to point you in the right direction to acquire it.
Overall this is a very good modern take on revision, and would be a great help to anyone wanting to enter Mental Health Nursing.
It explores the clinical skills required by nurses using the NMC' s Essential Skills Clusters as a framework.
It includes a comprehensive overview of common mental health disorders, and looks at mental health nursing in a variety of settings, including acute care & community care.
The book links closely with NMC standards & guidance ; and once again Wiley scores hugely as a publisher of nursing and medical textbooks, as access to their website is included in the cost of the book, and case studies, & multiple choice questions are available for further study & revision practice.
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