When you need a pep talk, reach for one of these inspirational books for nurses. Some of them are written by nurses, but all of them are the best nonfiction books you will ever read.
If you love to read, then you will enjoy all of the books on this list. Some of them will have you saying, “yes! I’ve been there!” And some will give you things to think about. All of them have truths and wisdom that will improve your mental health and how you think.
11 Best Inspirational Books for Nurses
We’ve outlined some of the best inspirational books for nurses in this comparison table to make it easier to find the one that is right for you. You can click “Read More” on any of the items in the table to jump to the section in this article outlining more information about it. Or, you can click the “Buy from Amazon.com” button to pick it up immediately.
While it’s super fun to get lost in a make-believe story, sometimes real-life books are just the encouragement you need. All of the books in this list were written by nurses. They are funny, moving, and remind you that you are living a shared experience with nurses everywhere.
Pick up one of these books online. They are the perfect way to relax before drifting off to sleep.
1. Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Care for Your Patients and Yourself
by Kati Kleber, MSN RN CCRN-K
This book is so full of relatable stories. It’s a must-read for all nurses. Whether you are starting your new job or have years of experience behind you, Kati’s book will have you rolling!
Not only does it have its funny moments, but it has real-life information that will help you succeed in this field too. It shows you how to thrive as a nurse at your job and at home. Plus, there are super helpful passages that will help you deal with mistakes – because we all make them.
2. Oh Sh*t, I Almost Killed You!
by Sonja Schwartzbach RN, BSN, CCRN
This is another hilarious book with both practical advice and funny real-life stories. Sonja Schwartzbach has both a BS in nursing and a BA in English Literature. She weaves practical advice for nurses among amusing and entertaining stories from her time as a critical care nurse.
Whether you are a veteran nurse or brand new to the job, there is something for everyone in this book.
3. I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse
Edited by Lee Gutkind
This book is a collection of stories from nurses. In it you will read stories from nurses about all their firsts – first “stick”, first birth, and first deaths. There are so many honest memories shared from places of vulnerability. Every single nurse will discover something they relate to among these tales.
This makes a fabulous gift because the feelings communicated within these pages are so relatable. You’ll begin to see that if they overcame these things then you can too.
4. The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives
by Theresa Brown, RN
Nurse and & New York Times columnist takes you through a day in the life of a hospital cancer ward. Her poignant descriptions are peppered with encouraging pieces of wisdom. You’ll learn the reality of working with patients that are facing some of the most difficult days of their lives.
The one thing this book will show is how much a nurse can touch and affect people’s lives. You’ll get to know these 4 patients and see how Theresa Brown interacted with them and what a shift can look like.
5. The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story
by Christie Watson
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want a wider view of a hospital, read this book by Christie Watson. She takes you by the hand and shows you all the different wards and parts of the hospital. You’ll discover the heart-wrenching aspects of each one, and how a nurse plays a pivotal role.
With small acts of kindness – like the nurses that wash a little girl’s hair to remove the smell of smoke from a house fire – you will see how the job of a nurse is more than just meds and charts. Read this book with a box of tissues. It’s a tear-jerker.
6. Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic
by Sherry Lynn Jones EdD, RN, MS, EMTP
Prepare yourself for some blunt honesty. Sherry Lynn Jones has seen it all and experienced it all and she shares it with you in this powerful book.
She has been an Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Room Nurse, prison healthcare practitioner, and an on-scene critical incident debriefer. And in her book, she details to progression from innocence and naive optimism to burnout and back to finding her purpose.
If you want to read something that isn’t all positivity and pep talks, then this book is for you.
7. Four Seasons of Grieving: A Nurse’s Healing Journey With Nature
by A. Lynne Wagner
Nurses are constantly exposed to the trauma of losing patients. This beautifully illustrated book takes you through a nurses journey through it. This book is a must-read for any nurse that works around death and dying. Learning to grieve is an integral part of being a nurse.
This guidebook will encourage you with stories from A. Lynne Wagner along with inspirational passages that you can implement in your life.
8. Illuminating Florence
by Alex Attewell
We all know and love Florence Nightengale. But Alex Attwewell’s book makes her work even more relevant and relatable than ever before.
Modern-day nurses will unearth the many ways that they relate to the same goals and the same emotional experiences Florence went through.
9. Inspired Nurse
by Rich Bluni, RN
Inspired Nurse is a workbook that will help you recapture your passion for your job. Why did you become a nurse in the first place? This is even a fantastic workbook for newer nurses that might become discouraged early in their careers.
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A nurse himself, Richard Bluni shares insights from his own time on the job and validates your feelings and experiences.
10. Bedlam Among the Bedpans: Humor in Nursing
by Amy Y. Young
If you just want a belly laugh, then grab this book by Amy Y. Young. There are over a hundred stories about nursing. They were collected from all over – nursing journals, online, and books.
It also has funny cartoons and illustrations that will have you giggling and saying, “same! been there!”
11. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir
by Carol Karels
Cooked is an eye-opening look at one of the worst hospitals in the country. Carol Karels recalls her time working at Cook County Hospital in Chicago in the 1970s. She spent her time swatting flies in the OR, delousing patients and provided care desperate circumstances.
It’s an addicting page-turner. You’ll be amazed that this kind of hospital even existed. Her stories are shocking and gripping.
No Time To Read? Try An Audiobook
All of these books will make the perfect gift for a nurse in your life. If you want to read but just don’t have time, consider getting an audiobook of one of these inspirational books for nurses. Then you can listen to it before and after work. It’s a fantastic way to decompress and get your mind off of everything you experienced on your shift.
Nonfiction books are very important. They will help you understand that you aren’t alone. Everyone experiences burnout, fatigue, frustration, and exhaustion. Learn from their wisdom and keep rocking as a nurse.
More Gift Ideas for Nurses
Inspirational books make wonderful gifts for nurses. Here are some more ideas of things you can get a nurse that you know.
- Best Shoes for Nurses – 20+ Recommended Nursing Shoes for Women 2019
- Make Your Own New Nurse Survival Kit
- 7 Must Have Nurse Gadgets
The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the HospitalTrauma Room TwoFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged HospitalBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndOh, Nurse!: One Man’s Journey Through the Nursing Life, a Personal Account of the Highs and Lows
1 thought on “Inspirational Books for Nurses – The Best Nonfiction Books For Nurses”
I love that so many nurses are becoming authors and sharing their stories. If I could go back in time to the beginning of my career, I would have kept a journal of my experiences as a nurse. We all have such unique and amazing stories, and I think we need to share them with each other and with the world.