Becoming a Nurse: A Textbook for Professional Practice

February 25, 2010

Authors: Derek Sellman and Paul Snelling

Edition: First

Publisher: Pearson Education

Pages: 496

Price: £29.99

ISBN 9780132389235

This book is for those preparing for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards of Proficiency, required for Registration since 2004.

Wide in scope, it provides a foundation deep enough to prepare for post-registration practice. More readable than texts on single topics such as ethics or management, it is also a better preparation for the accountability of Registration than clinically oriented books usually are.

The tone would suit those early in their nursing programme, but it is more than just an introductory text. Anyone considering buying the book or putting it on a reading list will wonder how it will fit with the Standards of Proficiency to be published in autumn 2010. Students completing courses designed around the 2004 Standards will find it tailored to their curriculums and this edition will be relevant for a few more years, but a new edition will be needed when the NMC publishes the new Standards.

The editors and many of the contributors are based at the University of the West of England in Bristol or nearby. While this could have been a weakness, the contributors' backgrounds are reassuringly varied across a number of nursing specialties, from law, ethics and philosophy to public health, prescribing and management. One notable gap in their cumulative backgrounds, however, is learning disability.

Each chapter highlights in its introduction the Standards to be covered and the relevant learning outcomes. In comparable books, the latter are often laborious, but here they are clear enough to entice the most fainthearted. Most student nurses would find a single topic book on law indigestible, but the chapter on law, co-written by one of the editors, is a straightforward, jargon-free journey through the minefields, readable in less than an hour.

There are surprisingly few references made to published sources after 2008, but readability for students is enhanced by the confident air of authoritative authors who do not resort to a reference every half-sentence.

It would have been impossible to include comment on the September 2009 NMC publication Guidance on Professional Conduct for Nursing and Midwifery Students. As this is central to the book's contents, either a disk insert or a web-based guide to this document is essential and could act as an advertisement for this useful work.

Who is it for? Designed primarily as comprehensive guidance on the nature of professional practice in nursing for pre-registration nursing students, their lecturers (all four branches of nursing and midwifery) and their clinical mentors. Also invaluable for those returning to nursing after a break, or for overseas nurses on adaptation courses.

Presentation: Contains chapters on 14 topics central to professional nursing practice. The writing style is clear and lighter than single-topic texts. Each chapter could be read and understood at a short sitting with guidance on easily accessible follow-up reading. The text is peppered with short case studies to assist with understanding the implications of the content. The cover is particularly attractive with an oak tree seedling emerging out of what appears to be (for such a plant) the uncharacteristic terrain of pebbled seashore. The meaning of this could be taken to be the importance of considering the potential of the acorn germinating in the current climate of professional practice in the public sector.

Would you recommend it? Resoundingly, yes. It is well worth it, but the price will be off-putting to many students. Definitely worth a browse with a view to buying and worthy of reading lists.

Highly recommended

A Beginner's Guide to Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Social Care

Authors: Helen Aveyard and Pam Sharp

Edition: First

Publisher: Open University Press

Pages: 224

Price: £50.00 and £18.99

ISBN 9780335236022 and 6039

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