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Choosing AJN’s Med-Surg Nursing Books of the Year

January 6, 2011


By Julie Zerwic, PhD, RN, interim executive associate dean, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago

The faculty in the department of biobehavioral health science at the University of Illinois College of Nursing looked forward with enthusiasm this fall to our opportunity to pick the AJN medical—surgical book of the year. The range of books that are submitted is outstanding and it was a challenge to find the book that we felt was deserving of the title. In fact, we selected two books. Both selections fill a need, covering material neglected in other works. 

How to Manage Pain in the Elderly, by Yvonne D’Arcy, will be useful for any nurse working with older adults in pain. The book begins by dispelling myths about the experience and treatment of pain in the elderly. The material in each chapter is brought together by text boxes, figures, and rich case studies. The book includes material on the physiology of pain in the elderly, pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches to pain management, issues of multidrug therapy, and palliative care.

I recently watched as my 75-year-old mother experienced a long episode of pain after knee replacement surgery. An infection and then problems with a degenerative spine left her searching for some type of therapy that would relieve the debilitating pain. Many of the concepts that D’Arcy covers in her book were relevent to the situation my mother found herself in. This book will provide a resource as health care providers learn to more effectively manage pain in the elderly.

Acute Stroke Nursing was edited by Jane Williams, Lin Perry, and Carolyn Watkins. Few resources have been available for nurses who work with patients who experience the devastating consequences of stroke. This is a comprehensive resource that covers the complex anatomy of the brain and the pathophysiology of stroke. The chapters cover the many and varied consequences of stroke, including incontinence, nutritional impairments, and physical impairments. Crucially, this book also addresses the changes that can occur to a patient’s mood.

The authors include international resources that may be useful to health care providers as well as to the patient and families. They also remind us that the impact of stroke can be felt by the patient and family long after the initial event; this comprehensive long-term focus is evident throughout the book. Chapters are devoted to assisting the family as well as to palliative care. Key points and case studies also contribute to this book’s usefulness.

(Editor’s note: to see all the books, from a wide variety of categories, selected for the AJN 2010 Book of the Year Awards, click here.)

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