The best books on wellbeing for nurses

Cheryl Dellasega Author Of Toxic Nursing: Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes, and Total Turmoil
By Cheryl Dellasega

Who am I?

Juggling roles as a professor, nurse practitioner, author, mother, and grandmother would seem to limit my reading time but instead, I always have a book in my car, on my phone, or in my hands. I read broadly and enjoy all genres, from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to medical comics, as well as the creative essay columns nursing journals are beginning to embrace. In particular, I gravitate toward resources that help nurses create a positive relational workplace where their best efforts can be even more effective. Whether it’s ending the RN-RA (relational aggression) Rut, using poetry to express feelings about caregiving, or writing creatively about the many aspects of nursing, I am ready to read! And of course, the best part of reading is having a discussion with colleagues or friends about what exactly that book was about…

I wrote...

Toxic Nursing: Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes, and Total Turmoil

By Cheryl Dellasega,

Book cover of Toxic Nursing: Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes, and Total Turmoil

What is my book about?

Nurse-to-nurse incivility and relational aggression can poison the work environment of virtually any organization. My work shares practical solutions from real-life professional conflicts nurses face and offers suggestions for coping with and preventing relational aggression. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Glimpse of My Heart: One Nurse's Story

Why did I love this book?

Television has offered movies and series with nurses as the primary protagonists, but few books narrate the gritty lived experience of RNs. A Glimpse of My Heart is one that does, sharing her story in a light but informative tone that makes the book very readable despite the grim realities of cancer nursing. 

By Delraya Anstine RN OCN,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Glimpse of My Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Having worked as A Registered Nurse certified in the area of oncology (taking care of cancer patients) for 23 years, Delraya has learned to face tears and stress, but along the way has discovered much joy. She is a native of North Idaho where she continues to live with her husband of 38 years. She has two grown children and five amazing grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors, the changing seasons and also loves to travel.

10 percent of the proceeds from this book are donated to Sarcoma Research.

Book cover of I Knew a Woman: Four Women Patients and Their Female Caregiver

Why did I love this book?

This story about four patients cared for by nurse practitioner and acclaimed poet Cortney Davis reminds me a bit of pandemic narratives in that she works in a public clinic with individuals whose financial, emotional, or social situation puts them at risk. Since her patients are all female, their needs are related to gynecology, but the bigger story is Cortney’s ability to connect with them on a humanistic level and share their hopes, concerns, and fears.

By Cortney Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Knew a Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I cannot ignore the reality of the body, its glorious beginnings and its subtle endings," writes Cortney Davis in this intimate and startlingly original account of her work at a women's clinic. A poet and nurse-practitioner with twenty five years' experience, Davis reveals the beauty of the body's workings by unfolding the lives of four patients who struggle with its natural cycles and unexpected surprises: pregnancy and childbirth, illness and recovery, sexual dysfunction and sexual joy. An abundance of solid medical information imbues every graceful line.

Davis's eternal question to herself is: How do you help someone to not merely…

Book cover of Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse

Why did I love this book?

Although younger readers may enjoy Echo’s newer non-fiction titled Emergency Nurses 24/7 captures the challenges and triumphs of nurses as they enter practice or specialty areas for the first time.  After ten years in the intensive care team, she has intriguing stories to share—which may be why her memoir spent 8 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list.

By Echo Heron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intensive Care as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a nurse's story unlike any other, because Echo Heron is a very special nurse. Dedicated to healing and helping in the harshest environments, she spent ten years in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Her story is unique, penetrating, and unforgettable. Her story is real.
"Compelling reading."

Book cover of Oh, Nurse!: One Man’s Journey Through the Nursing Life, a Personal Account of the Highs and Lows

Why did I love this book?

Although this book wasn’t as smooth or polished as some and used occasional rough language, I was curious to learn more about Mr. Daniels and his 30-year career as a nurse. Full of anecdotes and the kind of “fireside chat” nurses like to exchange, the narrative is very readable and offers insight into a male perspective on the nursing profession.

By David Daniels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oh, Nurse! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You think hospitals are full of calm competent professionals? You’re about to get a true behind-the-scenes look at exactly what it’s like to be a nurse. (And a male nurse, at that!)

Oh, Nurse! is David Daniels’s first-hand account of his experiences as a nurse, offering personal anecdotes to peel open the curtain to unveil the secrets of the nursing life. Following Daniels over the course of his 30-year career, this book helps the reader discover the hidden truths of medical professionals, both good and not so good, and it even describes specific instances where he either succeeds or fails…

Book cover of American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy

Why did I love this book?

I confess to a passion for WW2 fiction and non-fiction, so this book was a no-brainer for me. Frances Slanger, a Polish Jew who immigrated and grew up in Boston, was the first nurse to due during the D-day invasion at Normandy. She left a legacy in writing that helps the author piece together her story and offer insight into what military nurses faced.

By Bob Welch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The heart-wrenching and inspirational WWII story of the first American nurse to die at the Normandy landings, the true account of a woman whose courage and compassion led to what a national radio show host in 1945 called "one of the most moving stories to come out of the war—a story of an army nurse that surpassed anything Hollywood has ever dreamed of."

She was a Jewish girl growing up in World War I-torn Poland. At age seven, she and her family immigrated to America with dreams of a brighter future. But Frances Slanger could not lay her past to…

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