Reviewer: Carol E Agana, MNSc, RNP, APRN (University of Arkansas)
Description: Updated yearly, this drug handbook contains up-to-date information on medications as well as the information needed to safely administer them. It provides an overview of pharmacological principles and the nursing process.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide up-to-date information to nurses and nursing students about medications they will be administering to patients. It is intended as an easy-to-use handbook with accurate information as well as nursing considerations and patient education.
Audience: It meets the needs of the intended audience nurses and nursing students. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant students can benefit from the handbook as well. Keeping a copy in healthcare facilities is useful for quick reference.
Features: This handbook lists hundreds of medications by generic name, trade name, and alternate names to make it easy to look them up. Each medication has a full description and includes adverse effects, interactions, and contraindications, which are most important to nurses. Unique features include nursing considerations and patient education for each medication. The appendixes offer more information about special groups of medications like opioids and topical medications, among others. The book is easy to read and understand and it includes some tables. One shortcoming is that there is no mention of interactions with herbal products; for example, heparin interacts adversely with many OTC herbal supplements. Some of the other handbooks include this information.
Assessment: The justification for yearly updates is that new information becomes available on some medications and there are new medications that are approved for use. However, that said, as we move toward more use of technology, I'm not sure of the need for a print book. The University of Arkansas Nursing School no longer requires a specific drug handbook, and students may obtain any available app. This book is very similar to Mosby's 2018 Nursing Drug Reference, 31st edition (Elsevier, 2018), Saunders Nursing Drug Handbook 2018, Kizior (Elsevier, 2018), Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses, 15th edition, Vallerand (F.A. Davis, 2017), and McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th edition, Schull (McGraw-Hill, 2013). How can students decide which one to get when they are all so similar? (I cannot tell the difference.) That said, the quality of this book is excellent, something that has not really changed for as long as it has been published.