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The Practical Book & Reading List for Student Nurses

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by Clare Bodell.
The Practical Book & Reading List for Student Nurses

The course book or reading list is one of the first things sent to students when successfully being grated a place at university.

Many student nurses complain they spend hundreds of pounds on books that are either available online, in your university library or found to be of no use at all.

We firmly recommend checking out the local library, university library or searching online before you purchase any book from the list. 

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TIP: We also recommend trying to buy books second-hand - try eBay or Amazon. Usually different editions are released with only minor changes but a significant price tag. You should sign up to Amazon Prime Student for £39 a year - not only do you get free delivery on most textbooks you also get access to their streaming services and thousands of digital textbooks. 

TIP: You have a vast array of apps at your fingertips. You should take a look at our recommended apps list for nurses and healthcare professionals.

With this in mind, we have created our practical reading list. A set of practical books that will stand you in good stead for both clinical placement and writing those all-important assignments - some of them are even FREE!

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures has been the number one choice for nurses since it first published, over 30 years ago. One of the world′s most popular books on clinical skills and procedures, it provides detailed procedure guidelines based on the latest research findings and expert clinical advice, enabling nurses and students to deliver clinically effective patient–focused care.

Where to buy it? Currently available on Amazon for £25.

The Code for Nurses and Midwives

The NMC Code of Conduct presents the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold in order to be registered to practise in the UK.

Where to buy it? All of the NMC professional standards are available online for free and you'll need them for every assignment.

British National Formulary (BNF)

The British National Formulary (BNF) is your essential reference book for prescribing, dispensing, and administering medicines.

Where to buy it? You can usually get one second-hand from a Nurse, Pharmacist or GP - they get issued a new one every 6 months. I firmly recommend against buying a copy. 

The Student Nurse Handbook

This convenient Handbook will be invaluable to students starting out on a pre-registration nursing course. Covering a broad range of topics, from helping understand what tutors and mentors expect, how to plan work, and coping with stress, it will support undergraduates across all aspects of student life.

Where to buy it? Some universities give this out for free to students. You can buy a copy on Amazon for £12.

Medical Dictionary

Written by a team of medical experts, all entries have been revised and updated for this new edition to reflect the very latest in medical knowledge and practice. Entries are accessible and jargon-free and are complemented by over 140 illustrations and diagrams.

Where to buy it? You can usually pick these up pretty cheap. You can find it on Amazon for as little as 1p for a physical book but there are multiple online medical dictionaries or even apps that are free to use.

Nursing and Health Survival Guides

These fantastic little guides are perfect to take to placement in your pocket. They come on a variety of topics; Drugs in use, clinical skills, medical abbreviations, wound care, reflective practice and essay writing, clinical assessment, palliative care and many more.

Where to buy it? Currently available on Amazon for £5.99 each.

Are you a student nurse? Do you have any suggestions to add to our practical book list or even a tip? You can post them in the comments section below. 

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Education

NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Student nurses will start to train against the new standards from January 2019.

Last week the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched 'ambitious' new standards of proficiency that set out the skills and knowledge the next generation of nurses need.

Alongside the new proficiencies, the NMC has introduced a more modern and innovative approach to the way universities and their practise partners train nurses and midwives - the NMC claim these changes will allow greater independence of assessment, and greater innovation by placement providers.

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The NMC has also removed its standards for medicines management and instead encourages employers to instigate rigorous medicines management procedures.

Unlimited simulation.

Finally, part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities - despite concerns this could reduce the total amount of time student nurses could spend on placements.

The new standards represent two years’ work and have been developed alongside nurses - as well as students, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Our new standards represent a huge leap forward. They raise the bar for the next generation of nurses and not only match the demands of the role but the ambition of the profession. This is vital as in the coming years many thousands of new professionals will join our register, delivering care to millions of people.

“We’ve also overhauled the way universities train nurses and midwives. They’ll be given more flexibility to harness new ways of working and embrace technology so they can equip the nurses and midwives of tomorrow with the skills they need to deliver world class care for years to come.”

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Education

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

Published on

by Matt Bodell.
Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Some staff feel that sixty seconds can be better spent.

It is well documented that the respiratory rate is the least accurately recorded vital sign but yet it can be the most important.

Reseach suggests that many students and registered nurses believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds.

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The research, completed by Flenady et al, suggests that this debate isn't rooted in laziness but instead staff believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate.

Do I really need to count for a whole minute?

Yes! It is vitally important you count a patients respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds rather than counting for a shorter period and multiplying, or worse, estimating.

Respiration has differing patterns and without observing these for a whole sixty seconds you are unlikely to obtain an accurate measurement.

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

The critically unwell patient also sometimes tend to have apneic episodes and counting for a short period may not reveal these until a patient is in full respiratory arrest.

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

Finally, documenting an inaccurate respiratory rate could, potentially, have legal implications.

How should I count a respiratory rate?

You should count each full cycle of inspiration and expiration for a full sixty seconds.

Anecdotally, it is better to count a patients respiratory rate when a patient when they are not aware you are doing so - this ensures a patient is less conscious about their breathing and thus their respiratory rate is more natural.

Why is respiratory rate important?

Haemostasis and the bodies compensatory mechanisms mean that a change in respiratory rate could be one of the first indicators of deterioration in physiological condition.

Changes to a patients respiratory rate can indicate a number of things such as hypoxia, neurological or metabolic changes.

Picking up on these changes early should lead to earlier medical intervention and therefore better patient outcomes.

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Education

Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

Published on

by James M.
Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

Nursing students will learn how they can work with MPs to promote the nursing profession in a new training session organised by the RCN.

Members of the RCN’s student committee and student information officers - the RCN’s representatives in universities - will learn their way around the UK parliament and the government from the UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service.

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

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The RCN’s public affairs team will talk through the college’s approach to engaging with parliamentarians, especially the crucial role members can play. The team will explain different tactics and approaches students can take as well as what they can ask MPs to do to show their support for nursing staff in their constituencies.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “To work effectively, any union must be able to engage MPs and ministers.

“We know our members make the most powerful advocates for the profession. When frontline nursing staff sit in front of parliamentarians, you can see they listen.

“It’s through the hard work of members that vital issues such as safe staffing, harassment and health policy reach the top of the agenda.

“When nursing faces challenges on every front, the RCN wants to make sure our advocates are fully-equipped.”

Charlotte Hall, chair of the students’ committee, said: “Student nurses represent the future of the profession. Learning to engage with MPs is vital if we are to effectively shape that future and ensure the best possible care for patients.

“With these skills, committee members and student reps will be able to help other nurses make their voices heard on behalf of the profession and patients.”

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