The 10 Best Nursing Books

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in May of 2016. There are probably no more underappreciated nor hard working professionals than nurses. They spend more time with patients than doctors and do most of the heavy lifting. If you are, or know someone, currently practicing, or studying to enter, this vital field, check out our selection of useful nursing books that we've reviewed in order to give those at any level of experience a helping hand. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes

2. I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started

3. RNotes: Clinical Pocket Guide

Editor's Notes

March 13, 2019:

Whether you are currently in nursing school, just starting out in the field, or have been working 12-hour shifts for years, there is a book here for you. If you have reached that point in your coursework where you have to write care plans, or are actively writing them for patients, Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes will be very helpful. RNotes: Clinical Pocket Guide and 2019 Lippincott Drug Handbook are handy references every medical professional should have on hand at all times, unless you work in a lab, in which case 63 Must Know Lab Values is a better option for you. Medical Terminology, How To Succeed In Nursing School, and Nursing Mnemonics: 108 Memory Tricks are ideal for students who could use a little extra help to ensure they ace their classes. Those who have already completed their schooling and are still in their first or second year of practice will find I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started and Oh Sh*t, I Almost Killed You! both enjoyable and informative.

4. 2019 Lippincott Drug Handbook

5. Oh Sh*t, I Almost Killed You!

6. Nursing Research: Methods and Critical Appraisal

7. Medical Terminology

8. 63 Must Know Lab Values

9. How To Succeed In Nursing School

10. Nursing Mnemonics: 108 Memory Tricks

What Nursing Books Will Cover

Each of these differences plays a key role in the treatment of a patient.

The world of nursing is extensive. In a supportive role working alongside a physician, a nurse may encounter hundreds of patients each month. Each of these patients has their own history, their own specific genetic makeup, and their own symptoms. Each of these differences plays a key role in the treatment of a patient. It is the nurse's job to work alongside the physician to observe patients and discover how to properly treat each individual case presented to them. Educational nursing books have to cover a variety of topics to support this aim.

One of the essential roles that any book on nursing will cover is writing out care plans for their patients. This topic is so important that entire books have been dedicated to properly creating effective plans. The first step in any care strategy is to do a comprehensive assessment of the patient by identifying both objective and subjective patient information. From there, the team will draw out a problem list that includes the medical diagnosis and issues affecting treatment. The planning and interventions step of a basic care plan is essentially the treatment section. This will list details of the individualized goals and instructions for the patient's care. The final step of a care plan is evaluation, which includes any reports or measures taken to support treatment.

Nursing care plans become more complicated when we consider the fact that 83 percent of adults meet with at least one health care professional each year. Patients also see over eighteen different doctors on average, making comprehensive care plans a necessity to streamline the treatment of millions of patients spanning many different care providers.

To properly write care plans, nurses have to be equipped with knowledge of many of the disorders they will face. This is why nursing books will include information on nearly every disorder they may encounter in the field. Most general books meant for Western nurses will cover the cardiovascular system, as this is the field in which the greatest number of fatalities occur each year. Nursing books also have to educate nurses about common occurrences like diabetes, respiratory problems, infections, and obesity. A good general nursing book will explore oncology, pharmacology, and medical terminology, yet will place just as much importance on nutrition, hematology, and the study of the endocrine system. These books have to be able to equip nurses with practical know-how and preventative tips to help a wide variety of patients.

Choosing The Best Nursing Book

People have written countless nursing books throughout history. The earliest of these may be the Hippocratic Corpus dating back to the sixth century B.C.E. As the basic understanding of theories in any field advances, new books have to be written to keep up. An individual nurse's needs in a book will vary because of the numerous roles a nurse can play in the health field. For this reason, there are many different considerations when choosing a nursing book.

An individual nurse's needs in a book will vary because of the numerous roles a nurse can play in the health field.

One such consideration when choosing the best nursing book is the voice of the book. The writing style may not seem to be an important factor, but studies indicate that humans remember very little of what they have read. This is because the mind sees the reading as only abstract knowledge, and has no way to put it to use, meaning that the problem/solution equations are simply theoretical knowledge with no real world anchor. If a nurse writes a book, however, it will often read in an easy-to-understand style and include real examples of strategies in action, which can help the brain fill out the skeletal structure of a more abstract idea. By purchasing a book with a relatable voice that also includes real world examples, there is an increased chance that students will grasp more of the content.

There are many books for the new graduate that focus on what to expect in the first year of their practice, how to manage the work/life balance, and how to maintain their sanity in a stressful environment. Other books may cover more clinical difficulties, such as advanced cardiac ailments and symptoms to help with treatment. For medical nurses, there are books filled cover to cover in important medical terminology to be discovered or used as a reference when a definition or condition slips the mind. There are also nursing books designed for use before entering nursing school, during the process, and even for post-graduate study. It is all about understanding the nurse's individualized needs and personal goals.

Myths Surrounding The Nursing Field

There are some major misconceptions surrounding the nursing field as a whole. Students face these myths from the first time they pick up a textbook to the first nursing book they may write themselves. Understanding these myths and how they are perpetuated can help anyone getting into the nursing field to overcome them.

Understanding these myths and how they are perpetuated can help anyone getting into the nursing field to overcome them.

By far, the most common myth associated with nursing is that only females become nurses. While the role is still predominantly handled by females, men are entering the profession at an increasing rate. This is most likely due to the reduced stigma that younger generations have surrounding the profession, as well as the numerous job opportunities that the field provides each year.

It is also a misconception that all nurses want to be doctors. Not only is this myth false based on each field's educational needs, it also gives no consideration to the stark differences between the two roles. A medical doctor's role is to diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders with the aid of various drugs. They may offer preventative tips to avoid using these drugs if at all possible, but this is their main job.

A nurse's role is much more holistic in that part of what makes a good nurse is their ability to relate to patients and give them advice on issues surrounding the disorder, not simply the disorder itself. Nurses often choose the profession for the level of direct interaction between themselves and patients, which allows them to feel emotionally invested in their work. As long as nurses balance their workload and stress caused by the work environment, they often have long and prosperous careers in which they make a direct impact in their patients' lives.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.