P Harris, S Nagy, N Vardaxis
Elsevier Australia (2005)
ISBN: 0-7295-3754-4 2134 pages
This dictionary had immediate appeal as it has been specifically written for an Australian and New Zealand audience, with the editors using the US published Mosby dictionary as a guide to writing a reference relevant to our region of the world. It is a very user friendly and comprehensive dictionary and would be of use to students, nurses, medical practitioners, allied health professionals and medical secretaries.
The dictionary begins with a colour atlas of human anatomy with each system covered by well-labelled diagrams. The dictionary itself contains extensive information. Alphabetical entries are well identified with each word highlighted in bold text. The description following each word is indented which, again, makes it easy to read the meaning. There are many full colour photographs and diagrams within the text, which enhance and clarify definitions that may not be adequately described by words alone.
As the dictionary targets an Australian and New Zealand audience, it contains spelling familiar to us, but is also cross-referenced to the US spelling that some of us have adapted to over the years. It contains abbreviations of common terms which are also cross-referenced. Other inclusions are tumour markers and their indications, word roots and local pronunciation, useful tips and some historical information.
Common diseases are listed and not only describe the disease, but contain subheadings that include incubation period, observations, interventions and care considerations. Commonly prescribed and over the counter medications are listed generically and include indications, contraindications and adverse effects.
There are 19 appendices and among the inclusions are units of measurement, assessment guides, medical terminology, normal reference values, nutrition, health promotion and immunisation and many more topics.
A section on the use of herbs and alternative medicine includes common herbs and supplements, traditional and popular uses, precautions and contraindications, as well as herb-drug interactions. A CD-ROM which includes a complete collection of all the images within the book and a printable version of the colour atlas of human anatomy accompanies the dictionary. The CD-ROM also contains the full text to accompany the appendix on nursing diagnosis as this only appears as a list in the appendix.
A minor criticism of the dictionary is that the attempt to de-identify individuals is not always successful.
I think the editors have produced a quality dictionary and I would highly recommend it as a valuable resource for all health professionals.