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. 

The books I picked & why

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A Glimpse of My Heart: One Nurse's Story

By Delraya Anstine RN OCN,

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

Why 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. 


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

By Cortney Davis,

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

Why 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.


Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse

By Echo Heron,

Book cover of Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse

Why 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.


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

By David Daniels,

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

Why 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.


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

By Bob Welch,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in nursing, nurses, and health?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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