Book Review:

 Emergency Newborn Care - The First Moments of Life

Author: Scott DeBoer, RN MSN CEN CCRN CFRN         
Publisher: Peds-R-Us
Reviewer: Angela Hackenschmidt, RN MS CEN

If you like to judge a book by its cover, you'll want this one! Designed as a "handbook" for emergency personnel who feel anxiety levels rise at the mention of our tiniest patients, this slim book reads like a long conversation with a colleague, which is what it essentially is. Unlike textbook or certification manuals, this book is filled with anecdotal examples and practical tips and tricks for remembering the basics of newborn care.

          This book is not formatted as a reference book, but as a "background" handbook. It doesn't feel like "studying" to read it, as it is quite narrative and informal. As such, I would have liked it just a bit smaller so it could fit in a purse for reading on the bus, etc.  The book is probably best suited for novice emergency clinicians, but could also be helpful for those who are experienced but very uncomfortable caring for newborns. The book is unique in that it is definitely from the pre-hospital/ED perspective. For example, the author gives permission to the readers to focus on the basics with baby and mom, and "worry about the Apgar scores later".

          I love that the chapters are subdivided by highlighted "how-to" questions, which are then answered in the subsequent paragraphs. I would have liked the page headings to include the chapter title at the top, because I would set it down and then forget what chapter I was currently reading. The writing style is immediate, conversational, and personal. It has a touch of that "bravado", familiar to emergency workers, which is balanced by little historical and touching quotes that pepper the pages. I liked the engaging style, but personally found all of the quotes, side-track comments/parentheses, etc., a bit distracting. Pictures are included (black and white), which is great, and helps to break up the text.

          The content is in line with AHA's PALS and AAP's NRP) and medical pediatrics practice guidelines. A few of the author's recommendations are slightly more generalized than scientific reference text criteria, but do fall within the acceptable ranges of practice according to available evidence.

          The scenarios at the end of the book are a great touch. This book achieves its purpose of alleviating anxiety associated with newborn care. The content is not new, but the approach is unique, and I learned a few new helpful ways of remembering or teaching some of the "tricks". The inside of the book is not as "glossy" as the cover, but the price is reasonable.

Sure, I would recommend this book, especially for the novice or nervous!

Date of Review: September 2004 Angela Hackenschmidt, RN MS CEN is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at University of California San Francisco Medical Center

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