25 Books Every Nurse Ought to Read

THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY, SPECIFICALLY NURSING, is constantly evolving as new medical technology, discoveries and innovations occur. As a nurse, it is your responsibility to inform, inspire and educate both yourself, your coworkers and your patients outside of your employer’s requirements. Reading is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to do this. There are a countless number of nursing books on the Internet and in bookstores, which means you may feel overwhelmed. We’ve done a bit of research to make your reading venture a little easier and compiled our list of 25 must-read books for nurses just like you! Keep in mind, these books are in no particular order or preference, and were independently researched only to benefit our readers.

25 Books Every Nurse Ought to Read

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All Nurses

Inspired Nurse by Rich Bluni, RN
This book by registered nurse Rich Bluni, is a thought-provoking workbook that is meant to keep readers inspired by their chosen career of nursing. Bluni, an inspirational speaker as well, utilizes spiritual stretches to help readers discover the many gifts that nursing brings, such as joy, wonder, gratitude and grief.

Medusa’s Clot by Dr. Michael Helzner
The pulmonary embolism is America’s least known serial killer, and has taken Dr. Helzner’s life by storm, as he has received over 20 surgeries after having two pulmonary embolisms himself. His new book, packed with humor, science, and a faith, is a must read!

Check out or guest blog post written by Dr. Michael Helzner himself by clicking here!

Bedlam Among the Bedpans: Humor in Nursing by Amy Y. Young
Every nurse can resonate with a funny, true story that another nurse has experienced. Author Amy Young has collected the funniest, most creative stories from nursing books, journals and the Internet that are sure to brighten your day and make you chuckle!

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth M. Norman
When the Japanese took the Philippines during World War II, 77 American women, navy and army nurses were caught by the Japanese. This book features the diaries, journals and interviews of 20 of the 77 nurses that were imprisoned and faced starvation, disease and bombings. Their dedication to their patients and their country is sure to inspire you.


Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War by Stephen B. Oates
Every nurse has heard of Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, but do you know anything more about her journey and involvement in nursing during the Civil War? This book dives into Barton’s dedication to not only becoming a war nurse but doing so as a one-woman relief agency, surrogate mother, sister, wife and comforting soul to countless sick, wounded and dying men.


Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not by Florence Nightingale
Another book delving into history, this one is written by one of the most influential nurses in history. Florence Nightingale was the first nurse to document her findings, present evidence and make a change in the struggling world of nursing. This book will enlighten and edify all readers, whether a new or older nurse.


Stuck Up! 100 Objects Inserted and Ingested in Places They Shouldn’t Be by Rich E. Dreben, Murdoc Knight and Marty A. SindhianThis book may not be the most inspiring book, but it surely will add some comic relief in your stressful workday! Featuring 100 real-life X-ray images of things stuck in people. It’s all wrong.



Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: A Guide to Planning Care by Elizabeth Ackley and Gail Ladwig
When a book has 10 editions (and counting), it’s probably one you should have on hand! This book, which helps nurses create and diagnose individual care plans, is NANDA-I approved and utilizes a simple, three-step system.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary by Donald Venes
This isn’t your everyday pocket dictionary. This one is a must-have for all health care professionals, as it features the latest medical references and terminology alongside quality photographs and visuals to help readers better understand the information. It’s a staple!

The Nurse Manager’s Guide to Budgeting & Finance by Al Rundio
Nurse managers are responsible for more than just hiring and firing their responsibilities include financing and budgeting, a difficult task for us all outside of the work field. This book is perfect if you’re a nurse manager in need of reference and tips on the best budgeting practices within your nursing unit.


Nurse Practitioner’s Business Practice and Legal Guide by Carolyn Buppert
This reference book provides the legal scope and federal regulations foundation that NPs need for the best, most effective practices. It’s perfect for new and older NPs, and can even be used by nurses interested in a legal perspective.

Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses by April Hazard Vallerand, Cynthia Sanoski, and Judith Deglin
If you’re in the health care field, you’ve probably heard of this classic staple! It’s a comprehensive drug guide on the best practices for administration across the lifespan and includes monographs for both generic and trade-name drugs.



Specific Careers

Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
If you are interested in nurse midwifery, or simply looking to be inspired by feminine empowerment and dedication, this historical book is for you. While delivering babies all over London, the main character experiences all types of women.

Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing by Marilyn J. Hockenberry and David Wilson
Caring for the tiniest hearts is a huge responsibility, and this book is the most readable, accurate and up-to-date resource for those in the field of pediatric nursing. It includes colorful illustrations, charts and concepts that you can’t miss.


The Nurse Manager’s Guide to Hiring, Firing & Inspiring by Vicki Hess
Nurse managers have to be leaders, a challenging task to most. This all-inclusive guide includes tips on hiring the right person, making the best financial decisions, ways to improve employee morale and much more.


A Daybook for Critical Care Nurses by Eileen Gallen Bademan
Critical care nursing means being inevitable stressed due to the nature of the job, which can result in burnout. This book includes up-to-date and encouraging tips, quotes, ideas and meditations for the modern critical care nurse. It also features journal pages to help critical care nurses find space to meditate and reflect to stay inspired.

A Healing Touch: True Stories of Life, Death, and Hospice edited by Richard Russo
This hospice book offers hope, smiles, inspiration and some tears in the often sad world of hospice. This book offers six inspiring and hopeful stories that are sure to inspire hospice nurses and individuals who are involved in hospice care in any way.

Merenstein & Gardner’s Handbook of Neonatal Intensive Care by Sandra Lee Gardner, Brian Carter, Mary I Enzman-Hines, and Jacinto Hernandez
With easy to understand information, this multi-disciplinary approach to NICU nursing provides clinical-based practices that are essential in the NICU ward. Each section in the book was written in collaboration with both physicians and nurses for the entire team to benefit.

There you have it! 25 books that are perfect for nurses. While these titles spoke to us, there are many other books available online and in bookstores that we may not have come across!

Have you read any books that you feel could benefit other nurses? We want to know! Let’s start a discussion, so comment below any books that are staples in your nursing career!
Liked this list? You’ll love: Student Nursing 101:Top 15 Free Online Resources for Nursing Students

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About Mackenzie, Life Saver, NHCPS

Mackenzie is a seasoned life saver and a multifaceted professional in the medical field. With an impressive 8-year track record in medical education, Mackenzie boasts a comprehensive set of certifications, including ACLS, PALS, BLS, and CPR, which reflect her unwavering commitment and expertise. Her significant contributions to teaching and the development of medical content underscore her profound knowledge and dedication to advancing healthcare.

Beyond her medical prowess, Mackenzie seamlessly integrates her passion for education with her proficiency in media and marketing. Her academic journey at Indiana University culminated in a degree in Media and Marketing, further solidifying her expertise in these domains.

In addition to her impressive professional achievements, Mackenzie possesses a refined taste for global exploration, photography, design aesthetics, sartorial elegance, and the culinary arts, with a particular affinity for Chinese cuisine. Currently based in the vibrant city of Manhattan, she continues to be a driving force in the medical community. She is an invaluable asset to SaveaLife.com, where she champions excellence and innovation with unwavering dedication.

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3 responses

  1. Robert faunC Avatar
    Robert faunC

    Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin While the author s experience working in the field of nursing may have made him somewhat of a cynic, this book still offers a unique and interesting perspective into the life of a critical care nurse and is a beneficial read for nurses in all specializations.
    And Happy New Year!

  2. Test Mango Avatar
    Test Mango

    The list you have stated here definitely consist best of all & will help many as we do believe that when it comes to nurses then the checklist is just top-notch…

    1. Mackenzie Thompson Avatar
      Mackenzie Thompson

      Thank you for the feedback!

  3. Ann Watt Avatar
    Ann Watt

    “When Being a Nurse Was Fun: Tales From My Life as a Nurse” was written by Ann Watt, an RN with 30 years of critical care experience in various ICUs. Filled with warmth, humor, and compassion, this inspirational book is a tribute to nurses. Its focus is primarily on nursing before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stories it contains are vignettes into the life of a night shift RN.

    1.  Avatar

      Thank you so much for sharing, Ann.

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