Nursing Health Assessment: A Critical Thinking, Case Studies Approach

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Nursing Health Assessment: A Critical Thinking, Case Studies Approach edited by Patricia M. Dillon, DNSc, MSN, RN; Philadelphia: F.A. Davis, 2003; 969 pages, $69.95

Patricia Dillon's book on nursing health assessment goes beyond the basics to include ease studies and exercises in critical thinking. This very readable, clearly illustrated, multicolored text provides a logical and comprehensive approach to the skills required for assessment and clinical decision making.

The book is divided into four units: Getting Started, Promoting Health, Systems Physical Assessment, and Adapting Assessment to Special Populations. The knowledge gained from each unit builds upon the next, providing an organized application of health assessment principles as they relate to the needs of the whole patient.

In most health assessment textbooks, critical thinking is presented as a separate unit or at the end of a chapter. Dillon identifies the need to integrate critical thinking and clinical decision making and provides a case study at the beginning of each chapter to serve as a guide through the chapter. Each chapter also contains a brief overview that indicates the importance of the subject matter to comprehensive health assessment.

A foundation for health assessment is presented in Units 1 and 2. Unit 3, the major focus of the book, includes a brief, clear review of anatomy and physiology that emphasizes, with the use of diagrams, how each system of the body affects other systems. …