Summer is, without a doubt, one of the most relaxing seasons. What could be better than spending your spare time stretched out by the pool with a good book? And as important as it is to dedicate yourself completely to your nursing education in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, it’s also important to take some time for yourself to unwind. In between your classes and labs, enjoy these summer reads.
Call the Midwife is the memoirs of a midwife in London’s East End slums in the 1950s. Jennifer Worth shares with her readers the excitement she experienced of delivering the East End’s babies, including some of the more traumatic births. Mixed in with the stories of the births are the lighthearted anecdotes of life working in the Nonnatus House convent with her fellow nurses. The popular BBC series is based on the book, and it perfectly encapsulates all of the fear, love and joy that goes into nursing. This book allows you to catch a glimpse of how nursing has changed with the innovation of new technology and medicine and how the love required in nursing is constant, regardless of the era.
Set in the 1930s, Call Me Zelda is told from the perspective of a psychiatric nurse charged with caring for Zelda Fitzgerald, author and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although many imagine the famous couple at the height of their glamor and love in the 1920s, Zelda suffered many mental problems and was committed to two hospitals in the 1930s. The fictional nurse, Anna Howard, grows attached to Zelda as she cares for her, and eventually becomes her private nurse. While the focus of the novel is on the turbulent marriage of the Fitzgeralds and the mental health of Zelda, Anna’s perspective illustrates the love many nurses develop for their patients, as well as the need to be an advocate for a patient.
If you are interested in working in the ICU, A Nurse’s Story may be the perfect book for you. This book depicts life working in the intensive care unit with a crew of outgoing and dedicated nurses. Reviews have described the book as technical and a bit detailed in terms of patient care and problems, but any nurse or nursing student is already familiar with those aspects of the job. Any nursing student can find the book especially helpful in understanding what it’s really like to work as a nurse with fellow nurses and physicians.
Although The Memory Keeper’s Daughter doesn’t strictly focus on the protagonist’s life as a nurse, it does capture a nurse’s life outside of the job. When Dr. David Henry’s wife goes into labor during a blizzard in the winter of 1964, he is forced to deliver his twins with the help of nurse Caroline Gill. When he realizes his daughter has Down Syndrome, Dr. Henry asks Caroline to take her to an institution and tells his wife Norah their daughter passed away. Upon arriving at the closed institution, Caroline decides that it is up to her to raise the little girl. The novel follows the life of Caroline as she raises a developmentally disabled daughter, Dr. Henry as he struggles with knowing his son is perfectly healthy and his daughter is living elsewhere and Norah’s grief over the loss of their daughter.
Although you may be familiar with the movie featuring Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient was a book first. Set during WWII in Africa, The English Patient follows Hana, a nurse in the Canadian Army, as she cares for patients in a bombed-out monastery. A mysterious unnamed man who goes by the English patient recovers from what appears to have been a failed parachute landing, which caused extreme injury and left him with little memory. The English Patient illustrates how nursing has changed over the years, how nurses handle war and the different relationships nurses can form with their patients.
If any of these books have inspired you to look into a career as a nurse, check out Roseman University’s accelerated nursing programs, in which you can earn a BSN in as little as 16 months.