5 Books Nurses Should Read Before Graduation

Staff Writer
Apr 27, 2022

Even after you’ve graduated and moved on to a new, exciting job, there will be pieces of your education that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes it’s valuable lessons from a favorite instructor. Sometimes it’s friends and loved ones you gather along the way. Other times, it’s the books you read that change your viewpoints on the world around you and the path before you.

We’ve compiled a list of five books every future nurse should read before graduating. Not all of them are healthcare-focused, but each is a testament to the difficult-yet-fulfilling career that is nursing.

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age

Technology and the digitization of healthcare has been both helpful and harmful to those in medicine. On one hand, we have faster processes, we’re working towards streamlined records, and vast possibilities for discovery lie ahead. On the other, patients are finding it difficult to pry their physician’s eyes away from the computer screen. More and more people are complaining of disparate, inaccurate records and inattentive healthcare professionals, leading to growing distrust between patient and provider. Author Dr. Robert Wachter carefully parses through the current challenges in our system and offers tangible suggestions for providers looking to strengthen healthcare in the midst of its digital revolution.

Nursing Leadership from the Outside In

At this point you’ve likely received lessons from seasoned nurses on how to lead, but what about all those who interact with nurses on a daily basis? By collecting insights from leaders in other disciplines (ranging from philanthropy to academia to healthcare to government), editors Greer Glazer and Joyce J. Fitzpatrick have created an anthology of valuable outsider perspectives on nursing leadership. Nurse’s days are defined by interactions, and the amount of people you will interface with is vast, so why not get their perspectives on what makes a good nurse good?

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis

Dr. Lisa Sanders was first known as the author of The New York Times Magazine’s monthly column “Diagnosis,” or the inspiration for the hit Fox TV series “House, M.D.” In this book, she gives us a collection of gripping cases to demonstrate how physicians solve diagnostic dilemmas. Despite significant technological advances in medicine, Dr. Sanders reminds us that the right diagnosis doesn’t always involve a computer; sometimes, the most powerful tools are listening to the details and conducting a thorough physical examination. The essays are just as thrilling as “House,” but instead of Hollywood plotlines and special effects, their potency comes from their study of the science behind the cases and the examination of what went wrong.

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

These true stories come from a range of people, from nurses-in-training to those who’ve been in the field for decades. They cover life and death, but it’s the stories about everything in between that will move you. From convalescent care to the emergency room, this book is a testament to the power and resilience of nurses everywhere. This one might make you cry — don’t say we didn’t warn you!

The Last Lecture

Speaking of crying, keep the tissues handy. Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon when he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. In the tradition of the last lecture, Pausch delivered his on September 18, 2007 and called it, “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” It was filmed, uploaded to YouTube, and after becoming a viral sensation, he decided to transcribe it into what became his final book. He passed away in July 2008, but left behind a moving legacy. You will face challenges as a nurse, some that will feel bigger than you can handle, but as Pausch states, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

So head to the library or the bookstore (or Amazon if you don’t want to get off the couch) and check these out today. We guarantee these books will stay with you for a long time.

Do you have a favorite book that has helped you on your journey to becoming a nurse? Tell us! If you’re interested in learning more about Joyce’s Nursing or RN-BSN program, contact us for more information. We always love to hear from you!


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