Great Books on Nurses

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Written by Kathleen Walder Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Ayana Dunn, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Looking for some great books on nurses for your next shift break, or a quiet evening at home? We’ve put together the ultimate list that includes everything from novels and self-help to history and humor, along with a special collection of good reads for new nurses.

Check out the titles and descriptions of our picks for some of the best books for nurses, then curl up with a cup of tea and have a good read.

Memoirs and Books on Nurses Who Tell It Like It Is

ER Nurses: True Stories from America’s Greatest Unsung Heroes

By James Patterson and Matt Eversmann

Patterson takes a break from his biggest-selling thrillers to team up with the author of Black Hawk Down, Matt Eversmann, to examine the real world of ER nurses. The book paints a portrait of ER nurses working in hospitals around the U.S., from big cities to small towns.

I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse

By Tavia Gilbert

This is a collection of true stories written by nurses in various stages of their careers. They share their memories of patients and feelings they experienced while dealing with the realities of nursing. The common thread in all the stories is the struggle against burnout and bureaucracy while serving patients with skill, empathy, and strength.

The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives

By Theresa Brown, RN

Written by a practicing nurse and New York Times columnist, this book recounts a day in the life of a nurse in a teaching hospital’s cancer ward. The Wall Street Journal says this book “is one nurse’s story, but it contains elements of every nurse’s experience.”

Books For Nurses With a Sense of Humor

Said No Nurse Ever: A Coloring Book for Nurses Who’ve Seen It All

By Jim and Jess Erskine

Have a chuckle while calming your soul with some meditative coloring. The pages of this book are printed on one side of high-quality paper to frame or pin to a bulletin board. Here’s just a sample of what you’re in for: “I love my soft, manicured hands that have gone places I never thought possible,” said no nurse, ever.

Oh Sh*t I Almost Killed You, A Little Book of Big Things Nursing School Forgot to Teach You

By Sonja M. Schwartzbach, BSN, RN, CCRN

As bold and raw as the title suggests, this book is full of real-life stories recounted by an Advanced Practice Nurse with a background in English literature. Online reviews recommend it for new nurses as well as those who enjoy reminiscing about their early days in the field.

Nurses Need Love Too!!!

By Steve Lee

Undoubtedly one of the funniest books for nurses, Nurses Need Love Too!!! includes jokes, cartoons, trivia, stories, and more about the lighthearted side of nursing. The author promises it’s “more fun than changing an old man’s catheter!”

Novels About Nursing and Nurses

The Nurse: A Gripping Psychological Thriller With a Shocking Twist

By J.A. Corrigan

Is Rose Marlowe, RN, an innocent victim or a heartless killer? Theo Hazel is the journalist who seeks to uncover the truth while he visits her in prison. The Nurse is a #1 Amazon Bestseller in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada.

Juliet’s Nurse: A Novel

By Lois Leveen

Woven with threads from Shakepeare’s beloved play, this novel is set in Verona, Italy. The Cappelletti family hires a nurse during a time when the city fought plagues and politics. In her 14-year tenure, the nurse learns the family’s darkest secrets.

Kit Wilson, RN: First-Year Nurse

By Beth E. White

This is the first in a series of books on nurses by an author with a long nursing career and a talent for writing. This book follows the fictional Kit Wilson from nursing school into her first year as a nurse. A series of events has her questioning everything — even her decision to be a nurse.

Books for New Nurses

Your First Year as a Nurse

By Donna Cardillo, RN, PhD

Subtitled Making the Transition From Total Novice to Successful Professional, this book walks new nurses through everything from finding the right job to developing positive relationships with doctors, other nurses, and patients. It includes a section explaining licensure, a discussion about nursing ethics, and FAQs.

A Daybook for Beginning Nurses

By Donna Cardillo, RN, PhD

A companion piece to Your First Year as a Nurse, this inspirational book for beginning nurses has 365 motivating tips and quotes, plus advice and a space to journal reflections.

I See You: A Survival Guide for New Nurses and a Memoir of My First Year as a Graduate Nurse in the ICU

By Melissa Edwards

This is one of the must-have books for nurses who are beginning their careers, written by an RN based on her experience as a graduate nurse. Chapters include information on how to talk to doctors, codes, taking reports, time management, tools, and dealing with withdrawal and death.

Self-Help Books for Nurses

The Power and Pain of Nursing: Self-Care Practices to Protect and Replenish Compassion

By Beth Cavenaugh, Dominic O. Vachon, and MJ Murray Vachon

This is a toolkit to keep you grounded and minimize burnout. As the authors say: “Your clinicals taught you medicine, but you need extra skills to train your mind, body, and soul for healthcare work.” The book is written as a 30-day guide to help you work through the process of renewing your spirit.

The Resilient Nurse Book

By Karen Furr

Described by its author as “a nurse’s guide to building inner strength when helping others is hurting you,” this book walks the reader through six pillars of resilience. It faces the truth about stress in nursing, burnout, and compassion fatigue. It will teach you about the importance of community, how to help your brain process trauma, and how to actively build optimism.

Self-Care for Nurses: 100+ Ways to Rest, Reset, and Feel Your Best

By Xiomely Famighetti

Take your pick from the 100 activities this book describes to help you relax, restore, and feel energized. These include things you can do after work as well as quick midday pick-me-ups.

Books on Nurses in History

Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

By Florence Nightingale

This is at the top of the list of books on nurses that every nurse should have. It’s a collection of notes written by Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It reflects her outspoken nature and unwavering commitment to what is best for the patient. Many of her theories and discoveries during her lifetime from 1820 to 1910 are the basis for modern nursing.

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

By Mary Seacole

This autobiography was written in 1857 by Mary Seacole, a well-traveled Jamaican nurse who offered her services as a volunteer during the Crimean War. Her commitment to nursing was proven when she journeyed by herself to Crimea to treat wounded soldiers. This is a story of historical significance, with a glimpse into the realities of the battlefront and insights into the impact of racism and politics on the nursing profession.

Nursing, The Finest Art: An Illustrated History

By Patricia Donahue PhD, RN, FAAN

This is one of the most beautiful books for nurses who appreciate history and art. Some would call it a coffee table book, with more than 400 fine art images that tell the history of nursing. Timelines that show each era of nursing in visual context precede the descriptive chapter.

Write a New Chapter in Your Nursing Career

Not sure when you’ll have time to read any of these books on nurses? With IntelyCare, you can take control of your work schedule and make sure you have enough time to unwind and relax. Take a break andstart your application today.