Reading

Itching to get your nose into a book?

Austria, Teenage girl lying and reading book on jetty

There are lots of great books out there that might be of interest for those entering the healthcare field. On this page, we’ll highlight books for you to take a look at. See if anything strikes your fancy! (and if you’re currently a nursing student, maybe add it to a wishlist since we all know you won’t be doing any free-time reading while you’re in the program).


Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

*”Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.

Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

The best news is that “emotional literacy” is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility.”


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
By: Atul Gawande

*”In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.”


Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine
By: Candice B. Pert

*”Why do we feel the way we feel? How do our thoughts and emotions affect our health? Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function together as parts of an interconnected system?
In her groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert provides startling and decisive answers to these and other challenging questions that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries.
Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies — body-minds — in ways we could never possibly have imagined before.
Molecules of Emotion is a landmark work, full of insight and wisdom and possessing that rare power to change the way we see the world and ourselves.”

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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Third Edition
By: Robert M. Sapolsky

*”Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky’s acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.
As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and the ones that plague us now-are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal’s does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.
Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. This new edition promises to be the most comprehensive and engaging one yet.”

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ECG Made Incredibly Easy
By: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

*”For any aspiring nursing student, understanding the principles of ECG interpretation, even at a basic level, can make a world of difference as you make your way through nursing school. Check out this book to start building your foundation now! It’s never too soon.”

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Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
By: Tracy Kidder

*”This compelling and inspiring book, now in a deluxe paperback edition, shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize—winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Kidder’s magnificent account takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.” At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.”

Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds with a force of gathering revelation,” says Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Harr notes, “[Paul Farmer] wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book will change the way you see it.”

Mountains Beyond Mountains


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

By: Anne Fadiman

*”The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest. The current edition, published for the book’s fifteenth anniversary, includes a new afterword by the author that provides updates on the major characters along with reflections on how they have changed Fadiman’s life and attitudes.”

The spirit catches you and you fall down


Bed Number Ten

By: Sue Baier and Mary Zimmeth Schomaker

*”Bed Number Ten, by Sue Baier and Mary Zimmeth Schomaker (CRC Press; 1989), is told through the eyes of a patient totally paralyzed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. This moving story takes you through the psychological and physical pain of an 11-month hospital stay. A Medscape reader says, “This book is highly recommended for nurse educators and nursing students. It is required reading on our unit. It reminds nurses that our patients are first and foremost human beings with feelings, needs, and spirit. Treating them with dignity and working to communicate with them is their right.”

bed number ten


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

By: Florence Nightengale

*”‘My heart always sinks within me when I hear the good housewife, of every class, say, ‘I assure you the bed has been well slept in: and I can only hope it is not true. What? Is the bed already saturated with somebody else’s damp before my patient comes to exhale in it his own damp? Has it not had a single chance to be aired? No, not one. It has been slept in every night.’
From the best known work of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the originator and founder of modern nursing, comes a collection of notes that played an important part in the much needed revolution in the field of nursing. For the first time it was brought to the attention of those caring for the sick that their responsibilities covered not only the administration of medicines and the application of poultices, but the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet. Miss Nightingale is outspoken on these subjects as well as on other factors that she considers essential to good nursing. But, whatever her topic, her main concern and attention is always on the patient and his needs.
One is impressed with the fact that the fundamental needs of the sick as observed by Miss Nightingale are amazingly similar today (even though they are generally taken for granted now) to what they were over 100 years ago when this book was written. For this reason, this little volume is as practical as it is interesting and entertaining. It will be an inspiration to the student nurse, refreshing and stimulating to the experienced nurse, and immensely helpful to anyone caring for the sick.”

notes on nursing


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death

By: Jean-Dominique Bauby

*”In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem.  After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book.”

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Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

By:Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley

*”In this moving and compassionate classic—now updated with new material from the authors—hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years’ experience tending the terminally ill.
Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share.
Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.”

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Nursing against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care

By: Suzanne Gordon

*”In the United States and throughout the industrialized world, just as the population of older and sicker patients is about to explode, we have a major shortage of nurses. Why are so many RNs dropping out of health care’s largest profession? How will the lack of skilled, experienced caregivers affect patients? These are some of the questions addressed by Suzanne Gordon’s definitive account of the world’s nursing crisis. In Nursing against the Odds, one of North America’s leading health care journalists draws on in-depth interviews, research studies, and extensive firsthand reporting to help readers better understand the myriad causes of and possible solutions to the current crisis.

Gordon examines how health care cost cutting and hospital restructuring undermine the working conditions necessary for quality care. She shows how the historically troubled workplace relationships between RNs and physicians become even more dysfunctional in modern hospitals. In Gordon’s view, the public image of nurses continues to suffer from negative media stereotyping in medical shows on television and from shoddy press coverage of the important role RNs play in the delivery of health care.

Gordon also identifies the class and status divisions within the profession that hinder a much-needed defense of bedside nursing. She explains why some policy panaceas―hiring more temporary workers, importing RNs from less-developed countries―fail to address the forces that drive nurses out of their workplaces. To promote better care, Gordon calls for a broad agenda that includes safer staffing, improved scheduling, and other policy changes that would give nurses a greater voice at work. She explores how doctors and nurses can collaborate more effectively and what medical and nursing education must do to foster such cooperation. Finally, Gordon outlines ways in which RNs can successfully take their case to the public while campaigning for health care system reform that actually funds necessary nursing care.”

nursing against the odds


Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

By: Theresa Brown

*”Critical Care is the powerful and absorbing memoir of Theresa Brown—a regular contributor to the New York Times blog “Well”—about her experiences during the first year on the job as an oncology nurse; in the process, Brown sheds brilliant light on issues of mortality and meaning in our lives.”

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When Nurses Hurt Nurses

By: Cherly Dellasega (Sigma Theta Tau International 2011)

*”When Nurses Hurt Nurses: Recognizing and Overcoming the Cycle of Nurse Bullying confronts this problem by examining the causes and providing ways to diffuse a confrontational situation. Written by Surviving Ophelia author Cheryl Dellasega, PhD, RN, CRNP, When Nurses Hurt Nurses is at the forefront of addressing the issue of bullying within the nursing profession.”

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Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk

By: Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers

*”Popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and House lead people to think that nurses simply push gurneys, drive romantic plots, and provide an attractive backdrop for the real action. However, 12 million nurses worldwide know the reality is far more fascinating, demanding, and important.

Written by the leaders of The Truth About Nursing, the organization at the forefront of challenging and changing representations of nurses, Saving Lives is destined to change the way people look at the essential role nurses play within the U.S. healthcare system. It explores the public’s perception of nurses and spells out the greatest myths about nursing, drawing on examples from television shows, ads, news, and other media.

Saving Lives exposes the media’s role in the nursing shortage and the often dismissive public perception of nursing. But it is also a call to action. Saving Lives offers concrete steps to help nurses, and those who support them, educate the public about nursing.

For millions of people worldwide, nurses are the difference between life and death, self-sufficiency and dependency, and hope and despair. Nonetheless a lack of appreciation for nursing has contributed to a global shortage that is one of our most urgent public health crises. There are not enough nurses available to monitor patients, provide hi-tech treatments, advocate for patients, and teach patients to live with their conditions. Poor understanding of what nurses do undermines claims for adequate staffing, and leads to a lack of resources for nursing practice, education, and research. All of that means worse patient outcomes, including death.

Saving Lives is destined to change public perceptions, thereby empowering nurses and attracting new nurses to the healthcare field.”

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 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

By: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, & Al Switzler

*“[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time.”
―from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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*All book summaries taken from Amazon.com