Books for Nursing Students that are a Must-Read 

Books for Nursing Students that are a Must-Read 

Expand your knowledge and fill your bookshelf with these must-read books for nursing students. These helpful nursing books will cover you from your first year as a student to passing the NCLEX. Find the 15 reads you need to succeed in nursing school below!

Books for First Year Nursing students

1. Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning, Volume 1 and 2, 3rd Ed.

This nursing book prepares nursing students to practice. It’s comprehensive as Volume 1 covers 21 biophysical concepts and Volume 2 covers 30 concepts as well as a nurse’s role in accountability, advocacy, and safety.

2. Physical Examination & Health Assessment, 8th Ed., Jarvis*

Physical Examination & Health Assessment, 8th Ed., Jarvis

Covering health assessment and physical examination, patient teaching and health promotion, vital signs, cultural assessment, and tons more, this book has extensive learning resources for first-year nursing students.

3. RNotes®: Nurse’s Clinical Pocket Guide, Meyers

When you start clinicals in your second semester of nursing school, you’ll want this nursing book in your pocket. Described as “waterproof and reliable”, reviewers say this guide is “handy during clinicals”. It even has NCLEX tips for future use.

4. Ross & Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness Grant, Waugh, Wilson

Anatomy and physiology are integral in nursing. This book has tons of helpful illustrations, diagrams, and photographs to help you learn anatomy and physiology. It will teach you the prefixes, suffixes, and roots necessary to break down the terminology, and there is a self-assessment for every chapter.

NCLEX Prep Books

5. Saunders Comprehensive Review For the NCLEX-RN Examination*

Saunders Comprehensive Review For the NCLEX-RN Examination

Nursing students swear and live by this book. It has 5,200 NCLEX-style questions and will help refine your clinical judgment skills. It offers test-taking strategies and detailed rationales to help you pass the NCLEX-RN with flying colors.

6. Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, LaCharity, Kumagai, et al.

Practice makes perfect. With 18 chapters by subject and 21 case studies, this has all the nursing need-to-knows for formative assessment. Chapters are broken down by prioritization, delegation, and assignment so you can see which skills you need a little more study time for.

7. Strategies for Student Success on the Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN) Test Items L. Silvestri, A. Silvestri, Ignatavicius 

The NGN emphasizes clinical judgment, and nursing students who read this book can practice the NGN questions and test-taking strategies. It even offers clues for analyzing and answering questions correctly.

Fundamentals of Nursing Books

8. Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care, 10th Ed., Taylor, Lynn & Bartlett*

Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care

Clinical reasoning and decision-making are essential nursing practices. Use this book to practice clinical judgment, learn NCBSN concepts and terms, review case studies, answer NCLEX questions, and study clinical examples and illustrations.

9. Fundamentals of Nursing, 11 Ed., Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall*

Fundamentals of Nursing, 11 Ed., Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall*

Every chapter in this nursing fundamentals book has review questions. Figure out the best care plans, learn the nursing process, and discover how to apply concepts to your nursing practice via case studies. You’ll have opportunities for reflective learning and refine your nursing skills and procedures with this one.

10. Kozier & Erb’s Fundamentals of Nursing: Concepts, Process, and Practice

This 10-unit book helps up-and-coming nursing hone their nursing approach. Used as a  “foundation for nursing excellence”, it covers key nursing concepts and a lot of useful information for student nurses.

Pharmacology for Nurses Books

11. Karch’s Focus on Nursing Pharmacology, 9th Ed., Tucker*

Karch’s Focus on Nursing Pharmacology, 9th Ed., Tucker

Pharmacology is one of the most difficult topics in nursing school. This pharmacology read has drug lists and tables, safe medication administration, calculation and measurement skills, and drug classes.

12. Pharmacology: A Patient-Centered Nursing Process Approach 10th Ed., McCuistion*

Another one for the books! Taking a patient-centered approach to pharmacology, it’s useful to determine dosage calculations, learn drug therapies, and prototype drugs. It even has anatomy and physiology illustrations to demonstrate how drugs work in the body. Avoid medication errors, learn safety, and more in this book.

13. Pharmacology for Nurses – A Pathophysiologic Approach, 6th Ed., Adams, Holland & Urban*

Pharmacology for Nurses - A Pathophysiologic Approach, 6th Ed.,

Taking a pathophysiologic approach, this vibrant book speaks to visual learners. They engage with great colors and show nursing students how to approach drugs by body systems and diseases.

14. Pharmacology and the Nursing Process, 9th Ed., Lilley, Rainforth Collins & Snyder*

Learn pharmacology, prioritization, and the nursing process all at once. This book has drug facts, FDA approvals, withdrawals, and therapeutic uses nursing need to know throughout their careers. It also has illustrations, learning strategies, and learning aids throughout.

15. Lehne’s Pharmacology for Nursing Care, 11th Ed., Burchum & Rosenthal*

Lehne's Pharmacology for Nursing Care, 11th Ed.

Written by nursing educators, this book makes pharmacology approachable. Discover drug prototypes, psychology, pathophysiology, and drug therapy while understanding the information—not just memorizing drug facts.

(*Mnemonics available in Picmonic’s Nursing Plan)

Picmonic Complements Your Nursing Reads

Reading is beneficial, and there is a lot of useful, detrimental information in every one of these books for nurses. To complement your reads and maximize your study time, sign up for Picmonic today. Picmonic’s visual learning study tool for nursing students can be used in conjunction with a variety of your study go-tos.

Nursing students with Picmonic have access to a comprehensive library of picture mnemonics and quizzes to help them through nursing school. This includes mnemonics of your favorite nursing books to enhance your learning experience, pass exams, and retain information long-term. Research-proven to increase long-term memory retention, it’s a must-have for all nursing students.


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