Stack of books with a stethoscope draped on top

35 Books Every Nurse Should Read

Enrich your practice, leadership, and understanding at every stage of your nursing career.

Stack of books with a stethoscope draped on top

Reading plays a crucial role in the nursing profession, serving as a cornerstone for continuous learning and professional development. The ever-evolving nature of healthcare demands that nurses stay on top of the latest medical research, treatment protocols, and healthcare trends to provide the best possible care to their patients. Reading medical journals, research papers, and healthcare literature not only enhances a nurse’s knowledge but also ensures they are up to date with the current best practices and new healthcare developments.

According to the NIH, continuous professional development (CPD) is integral to the nursing profession. It improves the quality of nursing care, patients’ safety, nurses’ satisfaction and healthcare costs. Engaging in regular reading and education enables nurses to expand their skill set, adapt to changes in healthcare technology, and understand complex patient care needs more effectively. This commitment to lifelong learning is not only beneficial for career advancement but is also essential for maintaining professional licensing requirements. Nurses who dedicate time to reading and learning can find themselves better equipped to handle the challenges of the healthcare environment, leading to improved patient outcomes and higher levels of job satisfaction. However, it’s also important for clinical environments to support a nurses’ ability to pursue continuous professional development, as nurses have different needs depending on where they are in their career journey.

But it’s not all science and symptoms. Reading can significantly enhance a nurse’s empathy and understanding of patients’ experiences. Stories that explore patient experiences, ethical dilemmas, and the human side of healthcare can provide valuable insights into the emotional and psychological aspects of patience care, which is an incredibly important part of the profession.

For those considering a career in nursing, understanding how to become a Registered Nurse is the first step. This involves not only formal education and training but also an ongoing commitment to reading and learning throughout one’s career.

Educational Resources

For nursing students and professionals looking to enhance their knowledge in foundational areas such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing theories, there are several key textbooks and resources that stand out.

  1. Human Anatomy & Physiology (11th Edition) by Elaine Marieb: This textbook is known for its high-quality images, informative descriptions, and structured content, making it a go-to resource for understanding the intricacies of human anatomy and physiology.
  2. Moore Clinically Oriented Anatomy (8th Edition): This book is favored for its clinical relevance, with updates reflecting new findings in the application of anatomy and physiology in medical and nursing fields.
  3. Katzung’s Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (16th Edition): The most comprehensive and authoritative pharmacology text updated to reflect the latest research, this sixteenth edition features a new chapter on cannabinoids, USMLE-style questions, new drug tables, and more.
  4. Fundamentals of Nursing by Patricia A. Potter and Anne Griffin Perry: This comprehensive guide to nursing fundamentals features case studies and practice exercises to help students understand and apply nursing concepts to real-life scenarios. It also includes a glossary of nursing terms and a comprehensive index, making it an excellent reference guide for nursing students.
  5. Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning by Pearson Education: This nursing textbook covers essential concepts like safety, comfort, and critical thinking skills, featuring a variety of case studies, practice exercises, and review questions, making learning more interactive and engaging.

Clinical Practice Guides

These titles delve into various aspects of nursing, focusing specifically on nursing procedures, patient care, and the application of evidence-based practice. Each book has been chosen for its depth of information and relevance to contemporary nursing challenges.

  1. Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care (10th Edition) by Carol Taylor, Pamela Lynn, and Jennifer Bartlett: This book provides comprehensive coverage of fundamental nursing concepts, skills, and standards of practice. It’s a go-to resource for evidence-based nursing practice and excellent patient care.
  2. Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare: A Guide to Best Practice (2nd Edition) by Bernadette Melnyk and Ellen Fineout-Overholt: This book is an excellent resource for understanding and applying evidence-based practice. It offers practical strategies for incorporating evidence-based practice into everyday care.
  3. Clinical Nursing Skills and Techniques (10th Edition) by Anne Griffin Perry, Patricia A. Potter, and Wendy Ostendorf: This text provides detailed descriptions and visual aids for various nursing skills. It’s a great resource for students and practicing nurses to refine their clinical skills.
  4. Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care (11th Edition) by Betty J. Ackley and Gail B. Ladwig: This handbook helps nurses make accurate diagnoses and create effective care plans. It’s a valuable tool for ensuring patient-centered care.
  5. Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice (11th Edition) by Sandra M. Nettina: A comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of nursing care. The book is widely used for its clear guidelines and practical approach to patient care.

African-American nurse looking at rows of books in a library

Professional Development

These carefully chosen titles encompass a range of topics, including nursing management, leadership strategies, and keeping abreast of current healthcare trends. Each book offers unique insights and practical advice, aimed at empowering nurses to excel in leadership roles and navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.

  1. Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application by Bessie L. Marquis and Carol J. Huston: This book offers a comprehensive look at leadership and management principles in nursing, providing practical strategies and tools for nurse leaders.
  2. Quantum Leadership: Creating Sustainable Value in Health Care by Tim Porter-O’Grady and Kathy Malloch: This book discusses innovative leadership strategies for adapting to the rapidly changing landscape in healthcare. It focuses on creating sustainable value in healthcare organizations.
  3. Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge by Dee McGonigle and Kathleen Mastrian: This book provides a comprehensive overview of nursing informatics and its role in managing healthcare data, enhancing patient care, and staying abreast of healthcare technology trends.
  4. Effective Leadership and Management in Nursing by Eleanor J. Sullivan and Phillip J. Decker: This book is designed to help nurses develop the leadership and management skills necessary to thrive in today’s healthcare environment.
  5. The Nurse Manager’s Guide to Hiring, Firing & Inspiring by Vicki Hess: This book offers practical advice for nurse managers on hiring the right staff, managing team dynamics, and creating an inspiring work environment.

Inspiration and Motivation

These books not only provide inspiration and motivation but also offer a deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs in the nursing profession and include personal stories and memoirs of nurses who have made significant impacts in their field.

  1. The Nurse’s Story by Carol Gino: This book is a heartfelt and honest account of a nurse’s journey in the medical field. It delves into the emotional and physical challenges nurses face and the profound impact they have on their patients’ lives.
  2. Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not by Florence Nightingale: This classic book by the founder of modern nursing offers timeless insights into the principles and practices of nursing. Nightingale’s experiences and observations remain relevant and inspiring to nurses today.
  3. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir by Carol Karels: This memoir recounts the author’s experiences as a nurse in inner-city Chicago, dealing with a wide array of challenges. It’s an inspiring story of resilience, compassion, and commitment to patient care.
  4. When Nurses Hurt Nurses: Recognizing and Overcoming the Cycle of Nurse Bullying by Cheryl Dellasega: This book addresses the often-taboo subject of nurse bullying. It offers valuable insights and strategies for creating a more supportive and positive work environment in nursing.
  5. Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Care for Your Patients and Yourself by Kati Kleber, BSN, RN: This book is an honest and humorous account of a nurse’s first years on the job. It provides practical advice and emotional support for new nurses.

Female Asian patient smiling in a hospital bed

Patient-Centered Perspectives

Each of these books offers a profound and often deeply personal view of what it’s like to be a patient, offering valuable insights for healthcare professionals and anyone interested in understanding the patient’s perspective.

  1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman: This book delves into the clash of cultures in the healthcare system. It tells the story of a Hmong child with severe epilepsy and her American doctors, highlighting the importance of cultural competence in patient care.
  2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: Written by a neurosurgeon who faced terminal cancer, this memoir offers a unique perspective on facing death and understanding the true value of life. It’s a poignant exploration of the patient experience in facing life-threatening illness.
  3. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande: This book explores the goals of medicine in relation to the realities of aging and dying. Gawande, a surgeon, addresses how the medical profession can improve life and the process of its ending with dignity.
  4. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee: This is a “biography” of cancer, providing a historical perspective on the disease and recounting stories of patients and their journey through diagnosis, treatment, and the emotional battles that accompany cancer.
  5. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan: This memoir narrates the author’s struggle with a rare autoimmune disease that affected her brain. It provides an intense and personal insight into the experiences of a patient navigating a mysterious illness and the healthcare system.

Mental Health and Well-being

It’s essential for nurses to have access to resources that support their mental health, given the demanding nature of their profession. Here are some books that focus on the mental health and well-being of nurses, offering coping mechanisms, stress management techniques, and strategies for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

  1. Nurse Burnout: Overcoming Stress in Nursing by Suzanne Waddill-Goad: This book provides insights into the causes and symptoms of nurse burnout. It offers practical strategies for stress management, resilience building, and finding balance in the nursing profession.
  2. The Resilient Nurse: Empowering Your Practice by Margaret McAllister and John Lowe: This book is an excellent resource for nurses looking to build resilience in their professional and personal lives. It covers techniques for coping with the challenges of the healthcare environment and enhancing well-being.
  3. Self-Care for Nurses: A Guide to Mental and Physical Well-Being by Dorrie K. Fontaine and Elaine Sorensen Marshall: This guide emphasizes the importance of self-care for nurses. It includes strategies for maintaining physical health, managing stress, and fostering emotional well-being.
  4. From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide for Beginning Nurses by Judy Boychuk Duchscher: While focusing on the transition from student to professional nurse, this book offers valuable insights into managing stress, dealing with the emotional aspects of nursing, and achieving a work-life balance.
  5. Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families by Kevin M. Gilmartin: Although this book is geared towards law enforcement officers, its principles on managing job-related stress, emotional well-being, and maintaining personal relationships are highly applicable to nurses.

Community and Global Health

Here are some books that address public health, global healthcare challenges, and community-based nursing, offering valuable insights and knowledge for nurses aiming to enhance their understanding and practice in community and global health.

  1. Global Health 101 by Richard Skolnik: This book is an essential resource for understanding the complexities and breadth of global health. It covers key issues, policies, and practices, and is ideal for nurses looking to expand their knowledge in this area.
  2. Community/Public Health Nursing: Promoting the Health of Populations by Mary A. Nies and Melanie McEwen: This text provides comprehensive coverage of community and public health nursing. It focuses on health promotion and disease prevention among populations, which is vital for nurses working in community health.
  3. Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community by Marcia Stanhope and Jeanette Lancaster: This book is a staple for nurses interested in public health. It provides a thorough exploration of community-based nursing practices and how they contribute to population health.
  4. Introduction to Global Health by Kathryn H. Jacobsen: This introductory text offers a clear overview of global health, including its challenges, achievements, and future directions. It’s suitable for nurses who wish to gain an understanding of health issues in a global context.
  5. Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span by Carole Lium Edelman and Elizabeth C. Kudzma: This book focuses on health promotion and disease prevention across all stages of life, emphasizing the role of nurses in promoting health within diverse community settings.

Smiling nurse in scrubs holding paperwork

Explore Nursing Programs That Align to Your Professional Goals!

Explore this curated collection of 35 essential reads and add these books to your personal or professional library. These books are carefully selected to enhance your skills, broaden your perspective, and inspire your nursing career at every stage. Nurses are encouraged to develop a reading plan that incorporates a mix of healthcare literature, nursing journals, and research publications. This plan will support their lifelong learning journey, keeping them informed and adept in their field.

The knowledge gained from reading, directly contributes to improving patient care, equipping nurses with the latest information and techniques, which leads to better patient outcomes and increased job satisfaction. Staying informed and skilled through reading is not just beneficial for career advancement but is essential for maintaining the high standards expected in the nursing profession.

Eagle Gate College’s nursing programs are designed to support and enhance the lifelong learning journey of nurses. These programs, ranging from a Practical Nursing program and Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to advanced degrees like the Master of Science in Nursing, focus on delivering comprehensive education and training to aspiring nurses. Additionally, the MEPN program is specifically tailored for anyone with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who desires a seamless pathway for switching careers to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). Whether you’re starting out or seeking to advance in nursing, Eagle Gate College offers a variety of programs that align with your professional goals.