Choosing five great books for nurses isn’t an easy task. For the aspiring student, one burning question might be “How do I know what it’s like to be a nurse?” For the new graduate, it might be “What do I do first?” With that in mind, here are some suggestions for great books for nurses.

1. Your 1st Year as a Nurse, by Donna Cardillo, RN

Cardillo, known as The Inspiration Nurse, talks about all of the nitty-gritty real world issues a new graduate needs to know. From licensing questions to finding that first job, she provides plenty of information to help you make the transition from novice nurse to seasoned professional. Cardillo covers topics like finding a preceptor/mentor, teamwork, common challenges, professional practice, myths and stereotypes about nurses and nursing, and health care trends that may have an impact on nursing.

2. Condition Critical, by Echo Heron, RN

Echo Heron takes you behind the scenes of a large city hospital. She paints a realistic picture of how nurses deal with the daily chaos of an emergency room, the stress, bureaucracy, under-staffing and pressures that befall nurses in today’s health care environment. Heron uses composites to protect patient identities, but still manages to bring patients, doctors and nurses alive to give you an intimate view into the day-to-day life of an emergency room nurse at Redwoods Memorial Hospital.

3. Inspiring the Inspirational: Words of Hope from Nurses to Nurses, by Sue Heacock, RN, MBA

Heacock has collected stories from nurses around the world. Her focus is the human side of the person in scrubs – the compassion, dedication, reliability – and what they’ve seen in and learned from their patients. Whether you are a nurse or not, this book can help you understand the profession and the people in it. Although there is plenty of humor, what really comes through are the intangibles of the human spirit, both in the patients and the nurses.

4. The Nerdy Nurse’s Guide to Technology, by Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN

A self-described nerd who is also a nurse, Wilson wants to help nurses overcome any fear of technology and embrace it instead. She writes from a very practical standpoint, covering such basics as the differences between cell phone carriers and how that can affect your nursing practice. Wilson sees technology as an important aid in the delivery of patient care. She discusses the use of specific tools, such as tablets, and explains how they can improve nursing care. Given the prevalence of technology in nursing, this book is timely and useful.

5. Bedlam Among the Bedpans, Amy Y. Young

The only book on this list of five great books for nurses not written by a nurse, Young is a college librarian. A light-hearted view of the day-to-day life of nurses, it includes more than 100 stories collected from a wide range of sources. Unusual personalities, joy in nursing, odd peculiarities in health care and plenty of human insight, all of these are found in Young’s book. In a profession loaded with tension and stress, humor offers a way to relax and recharge. Young does her best to cover what she calls the “rich diversity of nursing life.”

Related Resource: 30 Best Online Master’s in Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) Degree Programs 2017

This list does not begin to cover all the great books for nurses or wonderful books about nursing. Whether written by those who actually live the life or from an outsider’s perspective, books about nursing can help you gain a clear picture of this profession. Start your reading with these five great books for nurse and branch out.