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Judith Wheaton Herrman's Fast Facts on Adolescent Health for Nursing and Health Professionals--A Care Guide in a Nutshell.

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Herrman, J. (2014). Fast facts on adolescent health for nursing and health professionals--A care guide in a nutshell. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Straddled between pediatrics and adult health care, adolescent health may not always get the attention it deserves. In addition, practitioners who do not regularly interact with adolescents may find that their communication skills and clinical acumen are in need of a 'tune up' to be effective with this age group. The distinct emotional, physical, and cognitive traits that define adolescence bear little resemblance to their pediatric or adult counterparts. This gap may result in care that neglects the unique health issues that affect teenagers and young adults. Insufficient adolescent clinical training, coupled with a limited body of research in pediatrics and adolescence, has left clinicians to gain skills in an ad hoc fashion sometimes relying on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence.

Although adolescents are generally a thriving and healthy group, visits to the health care provider are often prompted by injury or acute illness rather than for routine preventive health care. As a result, clinicians who treat adolescents may not have established a trusting relationship with the teen, an essential component for successful adolescent health care. The already anxious and uncomfortable teen may collide with (or ignore) members of the health care team, and the opportunity to engage the individual in a meaningful way may be lost. Using principles of epidemiology and health promotion, practitioners who work with adolescents are positioned to screen, identify, and respond to the physical, psychosocial, and cognitive problems that impact teenagers.

Novice practitioners in the field of adolescent health can benefit from tools to increase confidence and clinical skills particularly in the psychosocial and behavioral domains. In her thoughtful book Fast Facts on Adolescent Health for Nursing and Health Professionals- A Care Guide in a Nutshell, Dr. Judith Wheaton Herrman lays out a blue print for adolescent health care that reflects her deep understanding of the unique characteristics of adolescents. An experienced clinician and researcher with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Herrman's passion is adolescent health and decision making with a research focus on biological brain development and its role in teens having a meaningful role in their health care. This passion is evident throughout this informative guide.

Designed as a quick reference book, the chapters are easy to read and offer far more than a formulaic "how to" approach, emphasizing collaboration and shared decision making with the adolescent. The positive tone and clear explanations offer the tools necessary to provide meaningful and relevant health care. The book is divided into three sections paralleling the framework for pediatric development beginning with normal and ending with complex issues. Each chapter contains objectives, fast facts, and focused interventions that address key issues and strategies. Nearly two-thirds of the book is devoted to six health domains, providing a framework that focuses on the special needs of this age group and offers clinical guidance and evidence based recommendations. No resource on adolescent health would be complete without ample discussion of the critical behavioral and emotional issues that predispose teens to poor decision making, risky behaviors, and ineffective self-care strategies. Therefore, it is refreshing to have three domains dedicated to intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health, underscoring their importance in conducting a holistic evaluation. The author also includes sections about the importance of siblings, technology, and the value of teens in society, emphasizing their critical role in adolescent health. Interspersed throughout the book are useful tables summarizing key points and 'fast facts in a nutshell', which are a hallmark of this book series.

The book excels in its detailed descriptions of neurological and biological nuances that highlight the unique differences in adolescent thought and behavior. This allows the clinician to understand teenagers' behaviors from both a biological and psychological perspective. Dr. Herrman links the role of biological and neurological brain development with the risks of substance abuse and addiction, and provides focused interventions that nurses and other health care providers can implement to prevent or reduce alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse. The final chapter addresses marginalized youth and complex ethical issues, such as consent and refusal of treatment. Dr. Herrman emphasizes the necessity to inform adolescent patients of their rights, to advocate for the rights of those who do not vote, and to promote public health and governmental policies that promote the health and wellness of all individuals in society.

Nurses and other health care professionals looking for a useful adolescent health resource will not be disappointed with Fast Facts on Adolescent Health for Nursing and Health Professionals--A Care Guide in a Nutshell. This is an engaging and informative reference guide that will serve both the novice and seasoned clinician. Packed with concise and relevant information, the book will provide clinical guidance to those who care for youth and young adults across settings. In a nutshell, it's terrific!


Herrman, J. (2014). Fast facts on adolescent health for nursing and health professionals--A care guide in a nutshell. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

If you are an author or publisher interested in submitting review material to the Reading Between the Lines: A Book Review column, please send the appropriate material to: Marcia Gardner, PhD, RN, CPNP, CPN; Pediatric Nursing; East Holly Avenue/Box 56; Pitman, N) 08071 -0056; (856) 256-2300. The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the contributors and do not necessarily

Patricia M. Ruiz, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, is Director of Clinical Affiliations and Career Development, Seton Hall University, College of Nursing, South Orange, NJ.
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Author:Ruiz, Patricia M.
Publication:Pediatric Nursing
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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