What is it about?

A critical review of: Nursing Calculations – 7th Edition by John D. Gatford and Nicole Phillips. 2006. Churchill Livingstone, Edin- burgh, UK. ISBN 139780443102882. 142 pp.

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Why is it important?

For those that ‘struggle’ with both basic and more complex nursing calculations, and for that fact mathe- matics skills, this is an essential text. Its size means that it is portable and, at 162 pages, not too cumbersome to tuck away or ‘hide’ anywhere. This already popular handy pocket- sized book is in its 7th edition now and showing no signs of losing its appeal.

Perspectives

Throughout the book, material is presented in succinct bite-sized pieces which follow a logical and sequential tract. Many examples are offered and each chapter is interspersed with exercises for the reader to conduct – with the answers provided at the back of the book. Chapter 1 has perhaps too many exercises which may put the reader off going through other chapters. This said, the other chapters are mostly much lighter in comparison. All the chapters, apart from the first chapter, also have a revision section at the end – again with answers towards the back of the book. The seven presented chapters are devo- ted to ‘review of basic calculations’, ‘dosages of oral medications’, ‘drug doses for injection’, ‘intravenous infu- sion’ and ‘paediatric doses’, in that order. The paediatric doses chapter may not appeal to those who do not work with children. For those that do though, they may require more detail than this short chapter provides. Chap- ter 6 is not really a chapter. It is, instead, six pages of summary exercises with answers provided later on. Chapter 7, meanwhile, is where all the answers for the exercises, revisions and summary tasks are provided – so also not really a chapter. A useful index concludes this book – and the authors have refrained from calling this a chapter. So, to conclude, this is a very useful book for those who often have to wrestle with the complexities and nuan- ces of drug calculation and administration. It works well as either a ‘dip-in’ reference or as a read through. I would not recommend doing it in one sitting though, as I did, otherwise numbers, facts and figures begin to blur into one.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

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This page is a summary of: Book Review: Edited by Dean Whitehead, Journal of Clinical Nursing, September 2007, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2007.01819.x.
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