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Nurse Practitioner-Physician Assistant Faculty Collaborate on New Textbook

November 30, 2020
Mike and Kristine Ruggiero hold copies of their new textbook.
Mike and Kristine Ruggiero hold copies of their new textbook.

MGH Institute faculty members Kristine and Mike Ruggiero had always talked about working together, but it wasn’t until an offhand suggestion from a student that they found a way to do so.

“I've precepted many NP students who were always asking me about a book that they could reference for pediatric primary care,” said Kristine, an assistant professor of nursing. “They wanted something they could have and access while at their pediatric clinical rotation. When I was precepting, one of my students said jokingly that I should write a book.”

Mike, an instructor of physician assistant studies who also works at Partners Urgent Care, had worked in pediatric urgent care during his career, so when Kristine told her husband the story, they quickly realized they had found their project. 

The result is Fast Facts Handbook for Pediatric Primary Care: A Guide for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. Billed as a quick-access reference guide encompassing all key diagnostic and management essentials needed for safe and effective pediatric practice, the textbook incorporates the most current literature and evidence-based practice to explain how to best assess, diagnose, and treat common pediatric disorders in an ambulatory care setting.

Published by Springer Publishing, the book is divided into several sections: “Essentials of Pediatric Primary Care,” “Common Clinical Problems,” and “Point-of-Care Testing.” The couple each wrote several chapters, and Kristine also co-authored one chapter with Josh Merson, an assistant professor of physician assistant studies at the MGH Institute. Other chapters were written by clinicians, including several former IHP faculty, who work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Partners Urgent Care.

Early in the research stage, the Ruggieros discovered something that surprised them. “We realized that there really were no books coauthored by a physician assistant and nurse practitioner,” said Mike. “We felt that this was a good way to not only fulfill one of our scholarly goals but also to show that despite some differences in training, practicing PAs and NPs have the same primary goal: to practice the highest quality of patient care.”

In developing the book, they asked many NPs and PAs about what type of information they wanted. “It is not a ‘textbook’ to help write a dissertation,” the couple write in the preface. “It is a book designed for, and by, busy clinicians in the trenches of ambulatory practice.”

Together, they have several decades of experience treating children. Kristin has extensive clinical experience as both a pediatric nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner in various inpatient and outpatient acute care and primary care settings, and currently practices clinically at Boston Children’s Hospital. Mike has practiced for the last 17 years in the fields of orthopaedic medicine, pediatric, and adult urgent care.

The book, which was published recently, has already garnered multiple 5-star reviews on Amazon, with reviewers calling it a “good resource for new graduates and seasoned NPs and PAs. A useful tool for the clinical toolbox” and “a great comprehensive resource.”