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Reading Checkup: 9 Must-Read Books for Nurses

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Books for Nurses and Nursing StudentsWell-rounded nurses need well-grounded learning, and that means absorbing as much information and as many stories as you can on your profession, your workplace, and your patients. Looking beyond Jarvis, Mosby, and Davis, we teamed up with Keith Carlson, the man affectionately known as Nurse Keith, for his must-read books for nurses and nursing students.

Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Carlson is a man of many nursing hats – he’s the Director of Nursing for a small home health agency; he runs RN/FM Radio, the most popular podcast for nurses; and he heads a nursing career coaching business. It’s no small wonder he found time to help us with these 9 must-read nursing books.

Ultimate Career Guide for Nurses by Donna Cardillo The Ultimate Career Guide for Nurses by Donna Cardillo
“Donna’s excellent book is a Bible of crucial strategies for managing your nursing career, as well as ideas regarding alternative nursing careers. I also recommend her book, Your First Year as a Nurse, a very thorough grounding in the career skills you need as you’re just starting out as a professional nurse.”

The-Nerdy-Nurses-Guide-to-Technology-9781937554385-Brittney-Wilson The Nerdy Nurse’s Guide to Technology by Brittney Wilson
“This book informs nurses how to embrace technology, an important skill in the 21st century. Brittney discusses how to use social media to advance your career, the importance of embracing digital documentation, and how to assure that your technological skills are seen as powerful assets that make you an indispensable employee and colleague.”

Critical-Care-A-New-Nurse-Faces-Death-Life-and-Everything-in-Between-10-Edition-9780061791550-Theresa-Brown Critical Care by Theresa Brown
“A must-read by a New York Times nurse columnist, Critical Care examines the challenges of her first year as a nurse, and how new nurses can get their feet wet as they enter the healthcare ecosystem. Using stories from her own experience, Theresa skillfully addresses the navigation of relationships with doctors, nurses, and patients, and the challenges and triumphs of what can be a very emotionally and professionally satisfying career.”

the-Nurses-Story-97-Edition-9781889853031-Gino The Nurse’s Story by Carol Gino
“Carol is a gifted writer of countless books. She was the partner of Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather, and she finished several of his books after his death. This is a fictionalized version of her life as a young nurse. It’s a very powerful story that contains many universal truths and experiences.”

Wisdom-of-the-Body-Discovering-the-Human-Spirit-97-Edition_9780679444077-Sherwin-B-NulandThe Wisdom of the Body by Sherwin Nuland
“Nuland is a surgeon, and this is an eye-opening look at how the body actually works. The book has more of a medical focus, and it’s illustrated with true stories and patient histories. There are so many wonderful passages, many of which I used to read aloud to my students when I was a nursing professor. They were often on the edge of their seats.”

Dying-A-Natural-Passage-9780978750657-Denys-CopeDying: A Natural Passage by Denys Cope
“The clearest description of the dying process that I’ve ever read – a very important subject for nursing students and nurses to understand. We often work with dying patients and their loved ones, and if we can explain to them in the clearest possible language what is going to happen to the dying person, there will be less fear and misconception.”

From-Silence-to-Voice-2nd-Edition-9780801472589-Bernice-Buresh-Suzanne-Gordon-and-Patricia-BennerFrom Silence to Voice by Suzanne Gordon and Bernice Buresh
“There are so many stereotypes about nurses, mostly created by the media - that we’re angels of mercy, we don’t have personal lives, we’re just handmaidens to doctors, and that our work is not based in science. This book addresses how nurses can communicate to the public regarding who they are and what they do.”

Do-No-Harm-Applies-to-Nurses-Too-9780984798353-Renee-ThompsonDo No Harm Applies to Nurses Too by Renee Thompson
“It’s sad but true - bullying is rampant in health care and nursing. Nurses bully one another – it’s part of the zeitgeist. Nurses feel like, ‘Oh, well, I was bullied when I was a young nurse, so it’s OK to bully the next generation.’ Renee Thompson is a true expert, and this book explores how to bully-proof yourself at work so you’re not a target.”

Confident-Voices-09-Edition-9781440441707-BoyntonConfident Voices by Beth Boynton
“The subtitle says it all: The Nurse’s Guide to Improving Communication and Creating Positive Workplaces. Beth is all about communication – between genders, between doctors and nurses – all the different aspects of communication that can make or break health care and your career”

For nursing career advice and more, go to or follow him on Twitter @nursekeith.


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